Wolverines Defeat Spartans in Five Sets to Take State Pride Flag

Nov. 18, 2009

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Score: #14 Michigan 3, Michigan State 2 (25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-8)
Records: U-M (22-7, 10-6 Big Ten), Michigan State (17-11, 5-12 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Nov. 20 -- vs. Minnesota (Cliff Keen Arena), 7 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 14-ranked University of Michigan volleyball kept the State Pride flag in Ann Arbor, earning a five-set (25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-8) victory over Michigan State Wednesday night (Nov. 18) at Cliff Keen Arena.

The Wolverines' balanced attack saw four players record double-digit kills, led by senior Juliana Paz (Porto Allegre, Brazil/Iowa Western CC) with 19. Senior Megan Bower (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) recorded her first double-double of the season with 11 kills and 10 digs. Sophomore Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./Granger) went for 14 kills while senior Veronica Rood (Temperance, Mich./Temperance) chipped in 10. Junior setter Lexi Zimmerman (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) dished out 56 assists on the evening.

The Wolverines never trailed in the fifth and deciding set, outhitting the Spartans, .375 to .118. U-M also used a 75-percent side-out ratio in the frame as Bower and Hunt each posted two kills to pace the Wolverine offense. Leading 10-7, Michigan used the second service ace of the night from junior Maggie Busch (Toledo, Ohio/Toledo Christian) along with back-to-back blocks by Rood -- the second one was assisted by Paz -- to cap the set and the match, 15-8.

In the opening set, Michigan controlled much of the frame until the midway point when MSU crept back within one, 18-17. Down the stretch, Hunt contributed a service ace and Rood contributed three of the final five points as Michigan hit .370 in a 25-20 win.

Michigan State jumped on top in set two and expanded its lead to 20-15 en route to a 25-18 victory. The Wolverines offense was good -- hitting .429 -- but the Spartans were even better hitting at a .609 clip and committing only one attack error. Paz had the hot hand in defeat, contributing seven kills for Michigan.

While the opening two sets were very much one-sided affairs, the third was very close. Locked at 21, a string of four straight U-M points, including two kills by Hunt, capped a 25-21 Michigan win. Paz led the Maize and Blue again with seven kills while Zimmerman dished out 15 assists.

Tied at 13 in set four, the Spartans used a 4-0 run to gain momentum as they cruised to a 25-17 win, evening the match at two sets apiece. U-M hit at its lowest clip of the match, .231, with five attack errors in the set.

The Wolverines return to Cliff Keen Arena on Friday night (Nov. 20) for the regular season home finale and senior night when they face No. 12 Minnesota at 7 p.m. MGoBlue.com will provide live game audio and live stats.


• U-M won the "State Pride" series with Michigan State for the third consecutive season with the series sweep of the Spartans Wednesday night. Michigan now owns 12 of the 20 all-time "State Pride" series wins.

Megan Bower recorded her first double-double of the season (11 kills, 10 digs) and the 10th of her career.

• Bower also recorded her second highest attack-percentage of the season, hitting at a .625 clip (11-1-16).

• Bower's 11 kills mark a season high, eclipsing her previous best of 10 versus Ohio State (Oct. 17).

Sloane Donhoff's 11 digs mark her 26th match with double-digit digs this season and her 10th consecutive.

Lexi Zimmerman's 56 assists mark a new season high, eclipsing her previous high of 55 versus Illinois (Oct. 3).

• Zimmerman recorded her 13th match of 50 or more assists.

Contact: Matt Fancett (734) 763-4423

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