With a three-game losing streak looming over their heads, the Michigan volleyball team took on Minnesota Friday at Cliff Keen Arena in hopes of getting their season back on track. The Wolverines and Gophers found themselves in a tough match that had 39 tie scores through five games. But the Wolverines eventually won 3-2, led by senior co-captain Katie Bruzdzinski, who had 23 kills
The match started out with a back and forth first game that featured 20 ties and six lead changes before Michigan (6-7 Big Ten, 18-7 overall) managed to eke out a slim 30-28 win. The second game, however, belonged to Minnesota (5-8, 12-11). who jumped out to a 19-10 lead and never relinquished it, winning the game 30-23.
The third game was another close affair, after the Wolverines were able to come up with an early lead, thanks in part to two consecutive aces by Lexi Zimmerman as they built up a seemingly comfortable 8-2 lead early. Minnesota forced six straight tie scores before taking a 23-21 advantage, wearing down Michigan gradually to the point where they had to take a timeout. Minnesota took a 29-28 lead, but Michigan grabbed the lead shortly afterward on a clutch kill from senior Stesha Selsky to give Michigan a 31-30 lead and game point, Minnesota coach Mike Hebert protested that her hand was over the net, but to no avail, as Michigan took the third game 32-30.
Game four started out close with Minnesota holding a slim edge due to tough play up front. The Gophers built a 17-12 margin and didn’t let up, aided by five kills from Lauren Gibbemeyer as they coasted to a 30-22 win to force a fifth game.
“In games two and four we let up a little bit and we didn’t win as many rallies as we should’ve,” senior Lyndsay Miller said, “In games one and three we stuck it out and played harder defense and we were able to win more of the longer rallies.”
With the score tied 2-2 the Wolverines worked their way to an 8-3 lead by winning long rallies. They never let the Gophers get any closer than four points, winning the final game 15-11.
“We did a good job of playing consistent, everybody did have their ups and downs but we stayed focused,” Bruzdzinski said, “We didn’t make a lot of errors and we kept adjusted well to the way that Minnesota played. We also adjusted well to the longer rallies and were able to come up with points on them.”