Wolverines Rally to Knock Off No. 14 Minnesota

Sept. 25, 2010

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Result: #22 Michigan 3, #14 Minnesota 2 (12-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-14)
Records: U-M (13-1, 2-0 Big Ten), Minnesota (11-3, 1-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Oct. 1 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 7 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Junior outside hitter Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph) put down a career-best 28 kills to help the No. 22-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team overcome a 2-0 deficit to defeat No. 14 Minnesota, 12-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 16-14, on Saturday night (Sept. 25) at Cliff Keen Arena.

Hunt keyed the Wolverine offense with two service aces and 11 digs to go along with her 28 kills, while senior setter Lexi Zimmerman (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) dished out a season-high 60 assists and notched 21 digs. Redshirt sophomore right side Claire McElheny (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf) hit double digits in kills with 15 as every front row player for U-M recorded at least two terminations. Junior libero Sloane Donhoff (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) chipped in 16 digs and a service ace.

The Wolverines jumped out to a 6-3 advantage in the fifth and deciding set, but Minnesota put together a run of six straight points to stake a 9-6 lead. Michigan regrouped, using a kill by McElheny and two straight Minnesota attacking errors to knot the set at 13-all. Michigan missed on its first match point, but Hunt's kill off the Golden Gopher block gave the Wolverines the 16-14, come-from-behind triumph.

Michigan hit a blistering .425 in the fourth set, as McElheny led the way with six terminations and Hunt and freshman middle blocker Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ont./Birchmount Park Collegiate) went for five each. Neither team took a lead larger than three in the set. Michigan had two chances at set point, before a Hunt kill sent the match to a fifth.

Facing a 2-0 deficit at the break, U-M pulled out a 25-22 third-set win on the strength of seven kills from Hunt and four from McElheny. Tied at 21-all, a kill out of the middle from redshirt junior middle blocker Karlee Bruck (Elyria, Ohio/Elyria) gave the Wolverines a lead they never relinquished en route to a 25-22 win.

Down 24-18 in the second, the Maize and Blue strung together five consecutive points to climb within a point, 24-23, on a kill from freshman Lexi Erwin (Spring, Texas/Woodlands College Park). A kill from Minnesota's Tori Dixon off the Michigan block thwarted the Wolverine comeback and sent Minnesota to the break with a 2-0 advantage after the 25-23 victory.

The teams traded points to start the match, before Minnesota pulled away after a 4-4 tie. U-M fell victim to 10 attack errors in the first set, hitting -.061 as the Golden Gophers tallied 8.0 blocks to take a 25-13 win.

The Wolverines will hit the road for their next contest, heading to Ohio State on Friday (Oct. 1) for a 7 p.m. contest.


• Minnesota is the first ranked team Michigan has faced in 2010.

• The Wolverines have started 2-0 in Big Ten action for the second consecutive season.

• The Wolverines have not dropped a home contest to Minnesota since the 2005 season.

• Tonight's win was head coach Mark Rosen's 28th win over a top-25 opponent.

Alex Hunt had a career-high 28 kills, bettering her previous mark of 24 set against Toledo earlier this season on Aug. 28. She has six matches with at least 20 kills in 2010.

Lexi Zimmerman had a season-high 60 assists and 21 digs. It is the second 20-dig performance of the season. The other came against Toledo.

• Michigan is now 1-1 in five-set matches in 2010.

• Minnesota (.289) is only the second team to outhit the Wolverines (.198). U-M is 2-0 when the opposition has a higher attack percentage, knocking off Arizona State last Friday (Sept. 17).

Lexi Zimmerman, who became the program leader in assists on Friday night against Iowa, now has 5,144 helpers in her career.


Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen
On what was learned from tonight's match ... "I think we learned a lot about our team. A lot of it is just the ability to compete. When you have your back against the wall and not give up. To have the courage and the self image to be able to get better as the match goes on. I am proud of them. We had our back against the wall pretty big, and we have had that situation a few times this season and we keep finding a way to pull it out. I think we are starting to believe a little bit."

On using the break to regroup ... "One of the things we talked about before the match is that they are a physical team. They make their money with being a big, physical blocking team. I kind of liken them to bullies. Not because they have a bad personality, but because they are going to be someone who comes in here and tries to push you around. I told the team that if we flinch, we are going to be in trouble because the bully has got you. We needed to go toe to toe with them and we did not at first. I was concerned after game two; we were letting the bully run us off the playground.

"As the match went on though, you saw us start to turn. I think that starts with Al (Alex Hunt), who started just banging balls. She was swinging for broke. During a timeout, I asked her what she was thinking about when she went up. She said that she was looking to get a kill. I told the team that was exactly the mentality we needed, to go for it. We did not need to focus on making a mistake or thinking about whether it was the right decision, just go after it. It is amazing what good things can happen when you do that. First, Al is doing it. The next thing you know, Claire is doing it and right down the line. You could just see it building and there was no question that it started with Alex and her aggressiveness. "

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423

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