The Michigan volleyball team returns from their weekend road trip 13-3 on the season, but perhaps with a bad taste in its mouth.

After a lopsided straight-set loss against No. 1 Nebraska last week, the Wolverines bounced back to beat Iowa, 3-1. This Friday, they continued their momentum with a straight-set victory over Rutgers, 12-4.

The Scarlet Knights were evidently outmatched by the power of senior captain, Abby Cole, who notched 17 kills at an impressive 0.552 kill percentage. Cole also added an equally impressive six blocks, leading the team in both categories.

Behind Cole, sophomore middle blocker Claire Kieffer-Wright also contributed three blocks and junior outside hitter Adeja Lambert racked up a season-high 15 kills.  

The Wolverines completely dominated the first set of the match, holding Rutgers to a sub-zero kill percentage. They continued to maintain strong defense throughout the match, never allowing the Scarlet Knights to have a kill percentage above 0.150.

Sophomore libero Jenna Lerg contributed to that defense, adding 12 digs. This was Lerg’s twelfth double-digit dig game this season.

After winning with ease on Friday evening, Michigan experienced a very different outcome on Saturday against No. 16 Penn State, eventually losing, 12-3.

Despite another solid performance from Lambert, who totaled 10 kills, and a strong start by the Wolverines with a 0.321 kill percentage in the first set, the team failed to rally in the ensuing sets, ultimately dropping the third, and final, set with a 25-15 defeat.

After a lights-out performance the night before,  Cole couldn’t find her rhythm against the Nittany Lions. Despite having a respectable seven kills, she was quite inefficient, rendering a 0.087 kill percentage and committing five errors.

Michigan looks to learn from their performance as they continue Big Ten play this coming Friday evening back at Cliff Keen Arena. 

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