Michigan Cannot Close Out No. 11 Purdue, Loses in Five Sets
Jennifer Cross

Oct. 28, 2011

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Result: #11 Purdue 3, #22 Michigan 2 (20-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-22, 18-16)
Records: U-M (15-8, 3-8 Big Ten), Purdue (19-3, 8-3 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Oct. 29 -- vs. Indiana (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Despite holding four match points in the fifth set and four players with double-figure kills, the No. 22-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team fell, 3-2 (20-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-22, 18-16), to No. 11-ranked Purdue on Friday night (Oct. 28) at Cliff Keen Arena.

Sophomore Lexi Erwin (Spring, Texas/Woodlands College Park) led a quartet of Wolverines in double-digit kills with 17 to go along with 13 digs. Senior Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph) turned in a double-double as well with 15 kills and 11 digs, while senior/junior Claire McElheny (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf) and sophomore Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ont./Birchmount Park Collegiate) each put down 12. Freshman setter Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) handed out 55 assists and senior libero Sloane Donhoff (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) anchored the defense with a match-high 18 digs.

Tied at 5-5 in the first frame, a kill from senior Courtney Fletcher (Johns Creek, Ga./Northview) ignited a four-point spurt for the Wolverines to give U-M a 9-5 lead. The Maize and Blue kept at least a three-point cushion throughout the rest of the set in a 25-20 win. U-M hit .343 in the frame, led by five kills each from Cross and Hunt.

With Purdue holding a 10-9 lead in the second, the Boilers scored three consecutive points to stake a 13-9 lead. Michigan countered with a kill from Hunt to stem the run, but Purdue scored six of the next seven points for a 19-11 lead en route to a 25-14 win. Purdue hit .412 in the frame to Michigan's .051.

Knotted at 18-18 in the third, a service error from Purdue followed by a McElheny kill put Michigan on top 20-18 and forced a Boilermaker timeout. A kill from Erwin and back-to-back aces from Fletcher off the tape increased the Wolverine lead to five at 23-18. Michigan and Purdue traded the next four points, with an Erwin kill on a Purdue blocking error giving the Maize and Blue a 25-20 triumph.

Tied once again at 18-18, a Fletcher service error was followed by two Purdue kills as the Boilers took a 21-18 lead. Michigan staved off one set point at 24-21 on a Purdue attack error, but the Boilermakers made good on the second with a kill on the outside in a 25-22 win.

The teams went back and forth in the early going of the fifth set, before Michigan turned a 9-9 deadlock into a 13-10 advantage, capped by a Purdue attack error. With the visiting team scoring the next two points and Michigan clinging to a 13-12 lead, a kill from Hunt gave Michigan match point at 14-12. Hunt missed her ensuing serve into the net and Erwin was blocked on the outside as Purdue tied up the frame at 14-14. McElheny gave Michigan its fifth match point of set with a kill at 15-14, but another Erwin error tied the set. Michigan's final match point came when Purdue mishit an overpass kill attempt at 16-15. However, three straight Purdue blocks on the final three points gave the Boilermakers the 18-16 win for the match.

The Wolverines return to action at Cliff Keen Arena tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 29) against Indiana at 7 p.m.

Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423

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