Michigan Bows Out of NCAA Tourney, Falls in Sweet 16 at Florida
Alex Hunt

Dec. 9, 2011

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• Postgame Video: Press Conference | Highlights

Site: Gainesville, Fla. (Stephen O'Connell Center)
Event: NCAA Tournament (Regional Semifinals)
Result: #17 Florida 3, #22 Michigan 0 (25-21, 25-13, 27-25)
Records: U-M (22-13), Florida (27-5)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 22-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team saw its season come to an end at the hands of hot-hitting Florida, falling, 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 27-25), to the Gators in the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night (Dec. 9) at the Stephen O'Connell Center.

The Gators hit .439 for the match, putting down 53 kills with just 10 errors, compared to Michigan's .248 (42 kills, 14 errors). Senior Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph) led the Michigan offense with 13 kills, while senior Courtney Fletcher (Johns Creek, Ga./Northview) chipped in nine and sophomore Molly Toon (Middleton, Wis./Middleton) put down seven. Freshman setter Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) handed out 32 assists and recorded nine digs and three kills. Senior libero Sloane Donhoff (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) anchored the Michigan defense with 11 digs, the only Wolverine in double figures.

With the teams tied at 14-14 in the first set, Florida strung together a four-point run to take an 18-14 advantage. Hunt squeezed one through the block to stop the run, but the Gators went on for the 25-21 win. The Maize and Blue hit .286 in the set with just three attack errors but fell victim to three service errors and two ball-handling errors in the frame.

Michigan jumped out in front 3-0 to start the second set, but Florida responded with a 9-2 spurt to force a Wolverine timeout at 9-5. Michigan closed the gap to two points at 13-11, before the Gators ripped off eight consecutive points for a 21-13 lead. Senior/junior Claire McElheny's (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf) termination stopped the spurt, but Florida closed out the set, 25-13, for a 2-0 match lead. The Gators held Michigan to a .000 attack percentage in the set, recording 6.0 blocks.

U-M raced out to a 7-3 lead in the third, forcing an early Florida timeout. Michigan kept the lead until Florida knotted the set at 12-12 off a right-side kill. Neither team held more than a two-point lead the rest of the way as Florida took match point at 24-23. Michigan staved off two match points on two back-row kills from Hunt, but the Gators strung together two points on a quick kill out of the middle and one on the outside for a 27-25 win.

With the loss, Michigan ends its season with a 22-13 overall record and its fourth NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in five years.

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