Over the last four days, things have not exactly gone according
to plan for the Michigan volleyball team.
The Wolverines had a golden opportunity to take over first place
in the Big Ten going into last Saturday’s match against Illinois.
After winning the first game, Michigan fell to the Fighting Illini
in the next three games. As a result, the Wolverines lost not only
their chance to take over the conference, but also valuable
freshman Danielle Pflum in the process. The outside hitter was
forced to leave the game early due to an unknown knee injury.
Adding salt to the Wolverines’ wounds, they now have to set out
on the road this weekend to face No. 25 Minnesota and Iowa. This
road trip will come after a less-than-ideal week of practice for
the team – practice had to end nearly an hour early Tuesday due to
a lack of healthy players on the court.
“You try to come up with the best lineup,” coach Mark Rosen
said. “It looks like Danielle might not be able to play this
weekend and might be out for longer. We’re trying to get some rest
and get some kids some experience.”
Michigan (5-3 Big Ten, 13-6 overall) is also trying not to dwell
on the missed opportunity from last weekend.
“From the big picture standpoint, we’re not thinking that it
could’ve been this or could’ve been that,” Rosen said. “This week
we are trying to make some adjustments with different injuries that
we are trying to deal with right now.”
One bright spot for the Wolverines was the return of senior
Chantel Reedus, who has not seen action since leaving the Ohio
State game with an injury on Sept. 26.
Reedus saw limited action against Illinois last weekend and is
easing back into the lineup.
“I felt good today,” Reedus said of her return Saturday after
nearly a month on the bench. “I was a little rusty because I’ve
been on the sidelines and I wasn’t warm, but I just mustered
everything I had and got myself into the match.”
Rosen hopes Reedus will be able to contribute more in the coming
matches, especially given the recent injury that has kept Pflum off
“(Chantel) didn’t get much opportunity to play (last weekend),
but we are gradually trying to get her back into the mix. You can’t
expect her to come in and be able to do everything that you can do
in the long haul. She started for three years and was starting at
the beginning of this year and doing a nice job. It will be nice to
get her back in the mix.”
The Wolverines will need all of the help they can get tomorrow
against the Golden Gophers. Michigan has lost eight of its last
nine matches against Minnesota, and is 8-34 in the all-time
Also, Michigan has not pulled off a victory on the road against
Minnesota in more than six years – a statistic that should make
every Detroit Lions fan proud.
“(Minnesota) is going to play big like Illinois, but they are
much more athletic and faster,” Rosen said. “The two outside
hitters absolutely jump out of the gym and just rocket the ball.
They are really dynamic.”
Whether or not the Wolverines can control Minnesota’s outside
hitters, passing will definitely be a key to the team’s success on
the road this weekend.
“I think once the passing breaks down, everything breaks down,”
Reedus said. “If you don’t get a good pass, then the setting
location is off, and you can’t attack efficiently.”