The Michigan volleyball team gave themselves a chance this past weekend to finish with the best record in head coach Mark Rosen’s nine seasons. Under Rosen, the Wolverines have never finished better than fifth place in the Big Ten and with more than 21 wins. The current squad recorded their 21st win Saturday and with two Big Ten matchups left they will finish in either third or fourth place.
The Wolverines squared off against Indiana (6-12 Big Ten, 15-15) for the last time this season. The senior captains continued their strong play-Katie Bruzdzinski had 18 kills, and Lyndsay Miller added eight kills and two blocks and the whole team committed to an offensive attack.
The Wolverines also showcased an aggressive defense. Senior Stesha Selsky led the way with a match-high 14 digs. The Wolverines swept all three games (30-21, 30-23, 30-24) and the series against Indiana.
“We came out really strong and were ready to attack them from the beginning,” Miller said. “All 14 people were ready to go.”
But the outcome was different Friday night versus Purdue (10-8 Big Ten, 17-12). The Boilermakers took the first game (25-30) but the Wolverines dominated the second game, 30-21. Michigan trailed for most of the decisive third game but battled back for a game point opportunity.
The Wolverines failed to capitalize and Purdue took game three and the momentum. The Boilermakers won the fourth game and handed Michigan its ninth Big Ten loss. Despite the loss, Bruzdzinski had another big night with 22 kills. Miller also played exceptionally well, tallying 18 kills and a match-high .361 hitting percentage.
“Purdue was playing better, and we have to give them credit,” Rosen said. “We struggled a lot with our other players but Katie and Lyndsay played outstanding.”
Rosen is modest when reflecting on the best season of his career at Michigan.
“We’re having a good year,” Rosen said. “We’ve had a few ups and downs, but we’ve had a good team that has been able to stay really focused.”
Miller thinks their previous mediocre season finishes have been a catalyst for this year’s squad. “We are tired of finishing fifth and sixth in the Big Ten, and one of our goals is to move into the top three,” Miller said.
To accomplish that goal Michigan (9-9 Big Ten, 21-9) needs strong showings against Ohio State and 1st ranked Penn State this weekend in Ann Arbor.