The Michigan volleyball team (7-7 Big Ten, 11-10 overall) wilted under the pressure this weekend as it lost both of its road matches. After falling to No. 24 Wisconsin on Friday night, the Wolverines collapsed against a lackluster Iowa team, handing the Hawkeyes just their second Big Ten win in 14 conference outings.
Michigan committed numerous errors throughout the match. It won just one game, the first of the match, against Iowa. In this game, Michigan committed its fewest attack errors of the match five and beat the Hawkeyes 30-23. But after that, things began to fall apart for the Wolverines.
In the second game, Michigan tallied 15 errors and just 12 kills. The offense sputtered as the errors piled up.
“It spiraled, where one error became two errors and so on,” coach Mark Rosen said.
With these miscues, the Wolverines crippled any chance they had at winning the second game. Iowa did not play well in the second game, recording eight errors of its own and just 10 kills. But the Hawkeyes played well enough to defeat Michigan 30-23.
After the intermission, Iowa played much better and scored 20 kills to win the third game against the Wolverines. The Wolverines tried to come back into the game but could not, despite recording 14 kills of their own. Ultimately, the mistakes by Michigan allowed Iowa to win game three 30-22.
The Wolverines” woes continued throughout the match as they committed attack errors time and again versus the Hawkeyes.
“Against Iowa we didn”t play very well at all,” Rosen said.
The final game was dreadful for Michigan as it tallied double-digit errors for the second time of the night. The 13 misfires destroyed the Wolverines” hopes for a comeback ending the match 30-25. This loss sent Michigan back to Ann Arbor without a win to show for the weekend.
The pressure the Wolverines faced on the road this weekend was their downfall. Michigan was unable to handle the hostile environment and fell behind on the road. This is one area that the team hopes to improve upon in practice this week.
“We have to handle pressure better,” Rosen said. “Get them more comfortable with having the heat turned up. “
Michigan will have to learn to play under pressure, despite its youth, if the team wants another NCAA Tournament berth at the end of the month.