Wolverines Oust Spartans for Best Start in Program History

Oct. 13, 2010

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Result: #15 Michigan 3, Michigan State 1 (25-23, 25-20, 25-27, 26-24)
Records: U-M (17-2, 6-1 Big Ten), MSU (10-8, 2-5 Big Ten)
Next U-M Match: Friday, Oct. 15 -- vs. Northwestern (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Powered by senior setter Lexi Zimmerman's (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) second consecutive triple-double (38 assists, 11 kills and 10 digs) and 21 kills from junior outside hitter Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph), the No. 15- ranked University of Michigan volleyball team downed in-state rival Michigan State, 25-23, 25-20, 25-27, 26-24, on Wednesday night (Oct. 13) at Cliff Keen Arena. With the win, the Wolverines improve to 17-2 for the best record through 19 games in program history.

Freshman middle blocker Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ont./Birchmount Park Collegiate) joined Hunt and Zimmerman in double digits with 11 kills to go along with six total blocks. Junior libero Sloane Donhoff (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) notched 12 digs in the back row and freshman defensive specialist Ally Sabol (Los Angeles, Calif./Marymount) chipped in 11.

Down 20-16 in the fourth-and-deciding set, the Maize and Blue used kills from Hunt and Zimmerman, along with three MSU miscues, to tie the set at 21-all. The Wolverines then took their first match point off an MSU error, but the Spartans found the floor on the next point to knot the set at 24-all. A kill by freshman outside hitter Molly Toon (Middleton, Wis./Middleton) set up match point again, before Zimmerman's serve tipped the net and dropped in for the service ace, icing the set, 26-24, and the match for the Wolverines.

Michigan State forced a fourth set with a 27-25 win in the third, hitting .257 to Michigan's .118 percentage. The Wolverines battled back from a 23-21 deficit to tie the set at 23 apiece, with the teams trading points, before MSU won on its match point with an overpass that dropped inside the back line.

The Wolverines fell down, 5-2, early in the second set before scoring 10 of the next 11 points to take a 12-6 lead. MSU slowly climbed back into the set at 18-16, but U-M once again responded with a run, taking advantage of four Spartan errors down the stretch in a 25-20 victory. Hunt's six kills and Zimmerman's four terminations led the way as Michigan hit at a .233 clip in the second set.

The first set featured 10 ties and six lead changes, with neither team taking more than a three-point lead. Tied at 19-19, Michigan ripped off five of the next seven points to take set point at 24-21. A MSU kill and a U-M attack error forced a Michigan timeout, but the Wolverines used a Cross termination on the slide set for the 25-23, first-set win.

U-M will close out its four-match home stand on Friday (Oct. 15) at 7 p.m. against No. 20 Northwestern inside Cliff Keen Arena.


• The Wolverines are off to the best start in program history, both overall and in Big Ten play. The previous overall best start came last year when U-M started 16-2 before dropping two matches in a row. Michigan's best Big Ten start prior to this season was at 5-1 start in 1997 before falling to No. 1 Penn State.

Lexi Zimmerman recorded her second consecutive triple-double with 38 assists, 11 kills and 10 digs. She has back-to-back matches with double-digit kills, her only two matches in double figures this season.

Alex Hunt became 12th Wolverine in history to reach 1,000 kills in a career and the first since Beth Karpiak (2005-08).

Jennifer Cross tied her career high with 11 kills.

Alex Hunt recorded at least 20 kills for the seventh time this season. Her eight assists are a career high, beating the previous best of three.

• Michigan is 7-0 in four-set matches this season.

• Michigan is 1-1 on the Big Ten Network this season, dropping its other televised contest at Penn State (Oct. 2).

• Former Wolverine Megan Bower (2006-09) provided commentary for tonight's match on the Big Ten Network.


Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen
The play of Alex Hunt ... "Al has been good a terminator for us for a long time. This year, it is more on her because we do not have the depth around her with a lot of young players. One of her goals this year was to be a really consistent, steady performer for us. She knew we needed that and we knew she was ready for it. I think she is really doing that for us. She is a talented kid, but she has also has great intangibles. She likes it when the pressure is on and when something bad happens, she just lets it go and moves on to the next play. As a coach, those are the kids you really like. She is a great competitor in a silent assassin way. We would not be winning without her, just like we would not be winning without Lexi (Zimmerman) and a lot of other players."

On the poise of Alex Hunt ... "I think she (Alex Hunt) gives everyone confidence, there is no question. I think both her and Lexi as veterans, along with Sloane (Donhoff); they are playing their level of game. It is allowing us to score points and give the younger players confidence. Everyone knows that if we need a point, those guys are going to find a way to come through. To be as young as we are and to be able to win so many close games and tight battles, I think that has a lot to do with these three producing confidence out of the younger kids."

On the best start in program history with such a young team ... "I am never surprised because I have a lot of confidence in our team and always do, but I think you can sum that up in two words and that is Lexi Zimmerman. She is like a quarterback of a football team, a point guard of a basketball team, a pitcher for a softball team. She can change the game, and she is doing it. All of the sudden, a young team that maybe people were overlooking a little bit is performing a lot better because you have a kid like her stirring the pot."

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423

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