Michigan Rallies Past Ohio for Third Straight Sweet 16 Trip

Dec. 5, 2009

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Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Event: NCAA Second Round
Score: #16 Michigan 3, Ohio 2 (30-32, 24-26, 25-13, 25-20, 15-13)
Records: U-M (26-9), Ohio (27-7)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Dec. 11 -- vs. Stanford - NCAA Regional Semifinals (Palo Alto, Calif.), TBA

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan women's volleyball team secured its third straight NCAA Sweet 16 trip with a 3-2 (30-32, 24-26, 25-13, 25-20, 15-13) comeback victory over Ohio on Saturday (Dec. 5) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament inside Cliff Keen Arena. U-M dug out of a 2-0 hole to win the final three sets.

Three Wolverines posted double-figure kills, led by senior Juliana Paz (Porto Alegre, Brazil/Iowa Western CC) with 18, while sophomore Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph) added 16 and senior Veronica Rood (Temperance, Mich./Bedford) posted the first double-double in kills and blocks for the team this season, registering 13 terminations and a career-high 10 blocks. The Wolverines posted a season-high 17 blocks as a team as both teams combined for 24 total stuffs.

In the deciding fifth set, Michigan carried momentum from its victories in sets three and four to grab an early 6-2 lead on kills by Hunt and Rood. The lead was three, 8-5, as the teams switched sides and Ohio went on a 6-2 run to cut the Michigan lead to one, 11-10. The Bobcats then forced the first tie of the set at 11-11 as the teams traded points down the stretch. Tied at 13-all, Michigan used an Ohio attack error and a kill by Paz to complete the comeback win, 15-13.

The first set was one for the ages as the teams exchanged the lead nine times with 16 ties in a marathon 32-30 win for Ohio. Michigan struggled with its passing game early as Ohio ripped off four service aces in the frame. The U-M defense found its way midway through the set, forcing an OU attack error to forge a 24-all tie. From that point on, the two teams traded points until the Bobcats used back-to-back attack errors from the Wolverines to cap the set-one victory.

Ohio carried the momentum from its opening-set victory into the second frame, racing out to a 12-5 lead and forcing Michigan into a timeout. The Wolverines started to claw back, narrowing the margin to four, 13-9, and then 16-14 on a kill by Rood. Consecutive terminations from junior/sophomore Karlee Bruck (Elyria, Ohio/Elyria) and Zimmerman forced the first tie, 18-18, and a kill from Rood knotted the match again at 24-all. Ohio then scored the final two points of the set for a 26-24 win and a 2-0 set lead heading to intermission.

In set three, Michigan came out swinging, hitting .321 while holding Ohio to a .000 clip in the most lopsided frame of the night, 25-13. The U-M offense was balanced as Bruck paced the club with five kills, while Paz added four, giving Michigan life, down two sets to one.

The U-M offense stayed hot in set four, hitting .353 as Hunt tallied five kills in a 25-20 Wolverine victory. Zimmerman dished out 12 assists and Michigan used two blocks from Rood down the stretch to hold off a late rally by the Bobcats, evening the match at 2-2.

With the victory, Michigan advances to the Stanford Regional next weekend, Dec. 11-12. The Wolverines square off with fourth-seeded Stanford on Friday night (Dec. 11) at 7 p.m. PST at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif. The Cardinal advanced to the Sweet 16 with a five-set win over St. Mary's (Calif.) on Saturday night (Dec. 5). The first match of the night will feature No. 5 seed Illinois versus 12th-seeded Hawaii at 5 p.m. PST. The winners of Friday's contests will meet in the Regional Final on Saturday (Dec. 12) at 8:30 p.m. PST. Multimedia availability information for each match will be released when it becomes available. 

Contact: Matt Fancett (734) 763-4423

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