Nov. 27, 2010
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Result: Northwestern 3, #19 Michigan 1 (15-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21)
Records: U-M (23-9, 12-8 Big Ten), Northwestern (19-12, 9-11)
Next U-M Match: Sunday, Nov. 28 -- NCAA Selection Show (ESPN News), 3 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- The No. 19-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team won the first set before dropping the next three in a 3-1 loss (15-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21) at Northwestern on Saturday night (Nov. 27) at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Wolverines had three in double-figure kills, led by freshman middle blocker Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ont./Birchmount Park Collegiate).
Joining Cross in double figures were the outside hitting tandem of freshman Lexi Erwin (Spring, Texas/Woodlands College Park), with a career-best 12, and junior Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph), with 10. Senior setter Lexi Zimmerman (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) handed out 43 assists to go with 10 digs and seven kills, while junior libero Sloane Donhoff (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) recorded a team-high 16 digs.
NU took advantage of a .343 attack percentage in a 25-21 fourth-set win to take the match. U-M fell behind, 7-3, in the early going before getting within a point off an Erwin kill at 12-11. Northwestern then took control, keeping at least a two-point lead the rest of the way. The Wolverines saved one match point on a block by Cross and freshman outside hitter Molly Toon (Middleton, Wis./Middleton), but Northwestern made good on the next point to win the set and match.
The Wildcats took the third set, 25-23, as the late Michigan rally fell short when Northwestern's quick attack out of the middle found the floor. The Wolverines faced a 24-20 deficit before scoring three consecutive points on kills from Erwin and Cross, along with a Northwestern error, bringing U-M within a point at 24-23. The Wildcats ended the frame on the ensuing rally to take a 2-1 match lead.
Northwestern evened the match at a set apiece with a 25-22 second-set victory, scoring five consecutive points at the end of the set. U-M took a 22-20 lead off a Cross kill to force a Northwestern timeout but did not score the rest of the set. The Wildcats regrouped out of the stoppage and ripped off five points in a row to knot the match heading into the break. Hunt led the way with four kills, with redshirt sophomore right side Claire McElheny (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf) chipping in three.
Michigan took the first set, 25-15, limiting the Wildcats to just six kills in the frame and a .038 attack percentage. U-M took advantage of three early service aces from Donhoff and senior defensive specialist Maggie Busch (Toledo, Ohio/Toledo Christian), jumping out to a 9-3 lead. The Michigan offense took over from there, hitting .375 in the frame, led by six kills from Hunt and four from Cross.
The Wolverines now await selection to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will air tomorrow (Sunday, Nov. 28) on ESPN News at 3 p.m. The first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament are scheduled for Dec. 3-4 at campus sites.
Michigan finished with 12 Big Ten wins for the third consecutive season.
Brittany Lee recorded her first career kill with a back-row kill in the third set.
Alex Hunt left the match midway through the third set with an injury and did not return.
Lexi Erwin had a career-best 12 kills. Her previous best was 11, coming at Iowa on Nov. 13.
Sloane Donhoff recorded at least 10 digs for the 17th consecutive match. She has only three matches this season with less than 10 digs.
Michelle McMahon saw action for the first time since a 3-0 win over Youngstown State on Sept. 10. She recorded one assist and one dig.
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423