Coming off of a loss to Indiana the night before, the Michigan volleyball team needed to rebound in a big way to stay in the Big Ten Championship hunt.
The effort was there, but in the end, the Wolverines could not prevent Purdue from pulling off the upset. The Boilermakers proved to be too strong for No. 15 Michigan, taking the match 3-1.
“I am disappointed in our team,” Michigan coach Mark Rosen said through the Athletic Department. “We had a lot of opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of them. . We had a lot of opportunities but we didn’t capitalize on them. We need to get better at that.”
The tone was set early in game one when both teams battled closely, going back and forth and trading points. Senior Katie Bruzdzinski came through for the Wolverines with kill after kill, putting the team in front on several occasions. But her efforts were undone by serving errors by senior Lyndsay Miller and freshman Lexi Zimmerman.
Despite the errors, Michigan kept it close before falling 31-29.
After Purdue took a more decisive win in game two (30-27), behind brilliant all-around play by sophomore Carrie Gurnell and more serving miscues by Michigan, the Wolverines came out of the intermission poised to put up a fight.
Once again, Bruzdzinski put the team on her shoulders. She tallied two aces in game three along with six kills. After getting out to an early lead, Michigan allowed the Boilermakers to creep back into the game, eventually giving up its lead.
But Michigan rallied and held on to win the game 31-29, allowing the team and the crowd to get back into the match.
Purdue came back for game four with newfound vigor, quickly jumping out in front of the Wolverines 7-1. Michigan made it interesting, climbing back to cut the deficit to just one, 12-11, but the Boilermakers pulled away, taking the game, 30-20, and the match.
Bruzdzinski, who turned in a team-high 25 kills and 2 aces, and Miller, who tallied 17 kills, two blocks and four digs, turned in solid performances.
The Wolverines have a prime opportunity to rebound this coming weekend when they play at Northwestern and at Michigan State. Michigan defeated both teams in a weekend split at the beginning of October.