Despite the efforts of junior outside hitter Carly Skojdt — who posted a season-high 22 kills — the No. 22 Michigan volleyball team fell to Iowa on Wednesday night in a four-set battle.
Skojdt put the team on her back, as the next highest scorer for the Wolverines totaled just nine kills. Skojdt pulled together the 22 kills on a total of 59 attempts, solidifying her role as Michigan’s offensive workhorse.
“We need more of it,” said coach Mark Rosen. “We’re obviously really excited about how she’s playing — she’s playing really hard. But we have other players who can step up and be in the mix with her.”
Coming off a strong weekend, in which it beat Ohio State and Maryland at home, Michigan went into the match looking to continue its hot streak.
The Wolverines started strong, decisively winning the first set of the match, 25-21. Everything was clicking early as Michigan maintained a .326 hitting percentage, its highest of any set during the match. The Wolverines also racked up 19 kills during the set, setting the tone early.
“I think we started out really well,” Rosen said. “The first half we played really steady. Defensively, we did a good job, we executed the gameplan, and the first set we started well. But then we let our execution go down.”
The explosive Michigan offense of the first set seemingly vanished. After that, its hitting percentage dwindled to .256 in the second set before dipping to a shocking .079 in the third set.
The Wolverines still managed to put together a respectable second set, only dropping it, 25-22. Michigan even started the set strong, establishing a 16-11 lead, but a composed and balanced Hawkeye team mounted a steady comeback to claim the set.
The Wolverines then seemingly hit the panic button as Iowa waltzed through the third set to a decisive 25-15 win. Michigan never led as the Hawkeye offense found its groove.
With the end of the match inching closer, Michigan made a last-minute rally in the fourth set to try and salvage the night but eventually fell short, dropping the last set, 25-21.
“(The team) played really, really well, but I think we didn’t do a good enough job defensively,” Rosen said.
The Wolverines will look to bolster their defensive unit before facing a talented Minnesota team on Saturday. Rosen will look to leaders such as Skojdt, senior middle blocker Claire Kieffer-Wright, senior outside hitter Adeja Lambert to lead the team to a bounce-back performance.
“Those guys usually do a great job,” Rosen said. “Those are the players we look to, and we’ll look to them next weekend.”