Sept. 3, 2011
Site: Orem, Utah (Shurian Family Activity Center)
Event: La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational
Score: #24 Michigan 3, Cal Poly 0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-21)
Records: U-M (6-0), Cal Poly (3-4)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Sept. 9 -- vs. Florida State - Dayton Marriott Flyer Classic (Dayton, Ohio), 2 p.m.
OREM, Utah -- Senior Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph), senior Courtney Fletcher (Johns Creek, Ga./Northview) and senior/junior Claire McElheny (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf) each put down 11 kills as the No. 24-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team swept Cal Poly (25-17, 25-18, 25-21) in the finale of the La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 3) at the Shurian Family Activity Center. With the win, Michigan captured the invitational title; McElheny was named the tournament MVP.
Hunt and Fletcher joined McElheny on the all-tournament team, with senior libero Sloane Donhoff (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) being named the Defensive Player of the Tournament after totaling 46 digs in three matches, with 12 coming against Cal Poly. Freshman Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) handed out 44 assists with one service ace and four digs to direct the U-M offense, which hit .379 against the Mustangs.
U-M scored the first two points of the opening set, including one on a Dannemiller ace, and never looked back for a 25-17 first-set triumph. U-M hit .462 in the set, using four kills from McElheny and three each from sophomore Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ont./Birchmount Park Collegiate) and Hunt for the wire-to-wire win.
Cal Poly scored the first two points of the second frame, taking its first lead of the match. Michigan chipped away at the early deficit, before a Cross kill gave the Wolverines a 7-6 lead, which they held the rest of the way. The Maize and Blue relied on the outside attack of Hunt and sophomore Lexi Erwin (Spring, Texas/Woodlands College Park), who each had five terminations in the set to send Michigan to the intermission with a 2-0 advantage.
With the third set knotted at 16-all, a Cal Poly attack error followed by a Fletcher slide kill put Michigan on top, 18-16, and forced a Mustang timeout. Donhoff's ensuing serve hit the tape and fell over, extending the Michigan lead to 19-16. U-M's lead stayed at least two points the rest of the set for a 25-21 win.
Michigan will continue its nine-match opening road swing next weekend (Fri-Sat., Sept. 9-10) at the Dayton Marriott Flyer Classic in Dayton, Ohio. Michigan opens the tournament against Florida State on Friday at 2 p.m.
It was Michigan's first win versus Cal Poly. The Mustangs defeated Michigan in the team's only other match-up, coming in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.
It was the first time Claire McElheny was named a tournament MVP during her career.
Setter Lexi Dannemiller recorded at least 40 assists in all three matches this weekend.
Sloane Donhoff had four service aces, the third time she has recorded at least four in her career.
It was Michigan's first tournament title of 2011.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen
On the weekend as a whole ... "I was very pleased with our play this weekend. I thought this tournament was a big competitive step for us. We needed to raise our level of play from last weekend to this weekend, and I thought we did a really good job of doing that. I think our offense really took the biggest step of anything. The first weekend, it was a little rough. We were not at the tempo we need to be at and we were not really flowing very well. It took a big step in practice throughout the week and to see it in action this weekend was good. We got a lot more kills this weekend and we were getting them on first balls. It showed what steps we have made."
On the play of Sloane Donhoff ... "I think Sloane has just elevated her entire level of play. She has taken a huge step between her junior and senior season. We saw it in the spring and she has come out so far this season playing great. She is running our defense in the back row and just taken her game to a new level."
On freshman setter Lexi Dannemiller ... "You can see her progressing with every match. She is getting more comfortable with the tempo, all of her options and most importantly, the hitters. We joked last weekend that our offense was a little vanilla. I think now we are getting some swirls in there. We didn't want to overload her too quickly, but we need to keep moving forward with our offense as the season continues."
On where the team goes from here ... "I thought we struggled last weekend getting kills, but that was not an issue this weekend. Both middles became much more involved this weekend and we got Claire involved early and often. I really liked what I saw from this team this weekend, but we still have a long way to go. We built on the foundation of last weekend and hopefully, we can continue to do that every week we play."
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423