Oct. 9, 2010
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Result: #18 Michigan 3, #6 Illinois 1 (28-26, 25-19, 19-25, 26-24)
Records: U-M (16-2, 5-1 Big Ten), Illinois (13-3, 5-1 Big Ten)
Next U-M Match: Wednesday, Oct. 13 -- vs. Michigan State (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m. (TV: Big Ten Network)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Led by senior setter Lexi Zimmerman's (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) triple-double (43 assists, 13 digs and 13 kills) and 19 kills from junior outside hitter Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph), the No. 18-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team upset No. 6 Illinois on Saturday night (Oct. 9) at Cliff Keen Arena.
Redshirt sophomore right side Claire McElheny (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf) joined Hunt and Zimmerman in double digits with 10 kills, while junior libero Sloane Donhoff (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) led five Wolverines in double-figure digs (22) to go with three service aces.
Michigan never trailed in a fourth-and-deciding set that featured four ties. Down 18-11, the Illini scored seven of the next nine points to climb back within two points, 20-18, before a McElheny kill put U-M back up by three. The Wolverines missed on their first match point when Hunt's serve sailed long, but the ensuing Illini service error and a termination by freshman outside hitter Molly Toon (Middleton, Wis./Middleton) gave U-M its 26-24 win.
The Illini led wire to wire in the third set, taking a 4-0 lead en route to a 25-19 win. Illinois was keyed by 3.0 total blocks and a .282 attack percentage compared to Michigan's .143 clip.
Tied at 8-8 in the second, an Illini attack error gave the Wolverines a lead they kept the rest of the set. Illinois climbed back in the set at 17-15, but Michigan scored eight of the next 12 points for a 25-19 triumph. Four kills from Hunt and three from Zimmerman paced the Wolverine attack as Michigan hit .273 compared to .065 for Illinois.
Michigan had three set points in the first set, taking a 24-21 lead, before the Illini ripped off three straight to tie the set. Illinois grabbed its own set point on a service ace for a 26-25 lead, but kills from Hunt and Zimmerman coupled with an Illini attack error resulted in a 28-26 Michigan win.
The Wolverines will remain at home for a midweek contest, hosting in-state rival Michigan State on Wednesday (Oct. 13). The 7 p.m. contest will air live on the Big Ten Network.
Lexi Zimmerman (43 assists, 13 digs, 13 kills) had the second triple-double of her career, with the other one coming against Tennessee (Sept. 4, 2009) when she had 42 assists, 17 digs and 11 kills.
Illinois is the second and highest-ranked team Michigan has defeated this season. U-M is 2-1 against ranked teams in 2010.
Alex Hunt had her fifth double-double (19 kills, 14 digs) of 2010.
It is the second time this season that Michigan has had five players reach double digits in digs, with Sloane Donhoff (22), Alex Hunt (14), Ally Sabol (14) Lexi Zimmerman (13) and Maggie Busch (12) all recording at least 10. The other time was against Toledo on Aug. 28.
It was Sloane Donhoff's ninth career match with at least 20 digs.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen
What does beating the sixth-ranked team does for the team's confidence ... "I don't think it is the ranking or the number that we are wrapped up in. It is another win. We are trying to progress through the season. In the Big Ten, you have 20 matches, and you want to get as many wins as you can. You don't get any more points for beating a high-ranked team or a low-ranked team. I think they are a good team. That is what our team really feeds off of, playing a great opponent who is going to give you a really good challenge. I thought we really stepped up to that challenge today. That, to me and to our team, is more important than the number in front of their name. We have a number in front of our name, so everyone is gunning for us too. It is just a number."
On tonight's match ... "We were very aggressive from the beginning. I thought we jumped on them early and that really fed the tempo of the match. I think it made a big difference. I think we had to be able to stay in system and Lexi (Zimmerman) does a great job of distributing the job and staying really balanced. I thought our defense was outstanding, and it started with our block. I thought that was one of the best blocking matches we have had this season. Blocking is very much tied into the back-court defense. If we are touching balls and making them hit to certain spots, our defense is going to be a lot better."
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423