Wolverines Sweep Missouri for Challenge Championship

Sept. 12, 2009

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Keen Arena)
Event: Michigan Challenge
Score: #7 Michigan 3, Missouri 0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-22)
Records: U-M (10-0), Missouri (7-3)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Sept. 18 -- vs. Marquette - Michigan/adidas Invitational (Cliff Keen Arena), 1:30 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan volleyball completed a perfect weekend at the Michigan Challenge, defeating Missouri, 25-19, 25-18, 25-22, on Saturday (Sept. 12) at Cliff Keen Arena. The Wolverines had a trio of players named to the All-Tournament team, with senior Juliana Paz (Porto Alegre, Brazil/Iowa Western Community College) earning MVP honors.

Paz once again led the Wolverines, registering a double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs. Fellow All-Tournament members, sophomore Alex Hunt (South Bend, Ind./Granger) and junior Lexi Zimmerman (Barrington, Ill./Barrington), added 12 kills and 35 assists, respectively. Zimmerman also posted nine digs.

The third set proved the most difficult as Missouri erased an early Michigan lead and built its own two-point cushion midway through the set, 14-12. Paz and Hunt led a charge from there, posting back-to-back kills to tie the match at 15, only to see the Tigers come back to tie the set again at 20-all. Down the stretch, however, it was all Michigan as the Wolverines reeled off five of the final seven points, including consecutive kills from Paz and senior Veronica Rood (Temperance, Mich./Bedford) to cap the 25-22 win.

In set one, Michigan jumped on top early, building a 7-3 lead and forcing a Missouri timeout. The Wolverines offense did not slow, hitting .310 in the set with Hunt and Paz posting seven and six kills, respectively. The U-M defense held Mizzou to a .119 attack percentage in the 25-19 win.

Set two was similar to the opening frame as the Maize and Blue built a 10-6 early lead, which was never relinquished. Six different Wolverines tallied kills with sophomore Courtney Fletcher (Duluth, Ga./Northview) hitting an economical .500 with three kills in a 25-18 Michigan victory.

The Wolverines are back in action on Friday (Sept. 18) with a pair of matches to start the Michigan/adidas Invitational at Keen Arena. First up for the Maize and Blue is Marquette at 1:30 p.m., followed by a matchup with Dayton at 7:30 p.m.


• The Wolverines have now won 50 straight matches against non-conference opponents in the regular season.

• U-M has now won 17 straight tournaments/invitationals during the regular season.

• Michigan has now won 18 straight matches in the Michigan Challenge, formerly known as the Michigan/Pepsi Challenge.

Sloane Donhoff posted her second 20-dig performance of the season. She posted a career-high 23 at Xavier (Sept. 5).

Juliana Paz earned MVP honors for the second time this season; she was also selected the MVP of the Xavier Invitational (Sept. 4-6).


Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen
On the teams overall play this weekend ... "I think our players did a really nice job of focusing on what we do best and doing what we do in every match. We wanted to get some players some experience this weekend and I thought we did that and I credit our core of starters because they kept their intensity for each match and allowed some of our other players a chance to get in there. I am really proud of the way we came out and maintained our focus in each match, even when we had moments that things weren't going well, we got back to what we do best, which is pressure the opposition and force them to make plays ... I think that was a key for us all weekend."

U-M Senior Juliana Paz
On the honor of being named tournament MVP ... "It is a great individual honor but I wouldn't have been able to do it without my team around me. If they don't make the pass on defense and Lexi doesn't make great sets then I don't get kills and don't get honored individually."

On the team's performance during the weekend ... "We wanted to bring our best to the floor and I think we did that. These were good teams we faced this weekend and Missouri is definitely a very good team, so it was nice to come out here and play well."

U-M Junior Setter Lexi Zimmerman
On the team's performance this weekend ... "This weekend is definitely the smoothest we have played. I thought we were in tempo and in rhythm the whole time and we are getting better with that each time we take the floor."

On the plethora of offensive weapons to choose from as setter ... "It is nice for me to know that no matter where I put a ball it is going to go down. Our hitters put balls through double-blocks and triple-blocks this weekend and that is a huge confidence booster for me to know that I have so many different options and feel comfortable with all of them."

Contact: Matt Fancett (734) 763-4423

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