Bound for Final Four: U-M Upends No. 2 Stanford in Regional Final

Dec. 9, 2012

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Site: Berkeley, Calif. (Haas Pavilion)
Event: NCAA Tournament (Regional Final)
Score: Michigan 3, #2 Stanford 1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-20)
Records: U-M (27-11), STAN (30-4)
Next U-M Event: Thursday, Dec. 13 -- vs. Texas - NCAA Semifinals (Louisville, Ky.), 7 p.m. (TV: ESPN2)

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The University of Michigan volleyball team clinched the program's first NCAA Final Four appearance with a 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 upset win over No. 2 Stanford on Saturday night (Dec. 8) at Haas Pavilion. The triumph marks U-M's third NCAA Tournament victory over a top-six ranked Cardinal squad in the past four seasons.

Junior and Berkeley Regional MVP Lexi Erwin (Spring, Texas/Woodlands College Park) led Michigan with 23 kills and made it a double-double with 16 digs. She was one of four Wolverines in double figures in terminations. Junior Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ontario/Birchmount Park Collegiate) had 15 kills and nine digs, and junior Molly Toon (Middleton, Wis./Middleton) and fifth-year Claire McElheny (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf Prep) had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Freshman Tiffany Morales (Redondo Beach, Calif./Redondo Union) had a match-high 22 digs, while sophomore Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) had 59 assists. Freshman Krystalyn Goode (River Falls, Wis./Nicolet) had five blocks to pace the Maize and Blue.

Stanford raced out to a 4-2 lead in set one, but Michigan came roaring back, tying the set at six on a block from Goode and McElheny. Michigan then took a 7-6 lead on a Dannemiller ace, but three straight blocks by the Cardinal and a service ace put Stanford ahead 12-8, forcing the Wolverines to call timeout. A solo block then put the Cardinal up 15-10. A Wolverine attack error made it 17-11 Stanford, but Michigan scored three straight points, highlighted by a block and kill from Toon. Stanford came out of its timeout to score three straight points of its own to lead 20-14. Toon and Goode combined on a block to cut the Stanford lead to 20-17, but the Maize and Blue got no closer as a U-M attack error gave the Cardinal a 25-20 win.

Michigan scored the first three points of the second set, on kills from McElheny and Goode and a service ace by freshman Lindsey Lerg (Farmington Hills, Mich./Mercy). The Wolverines built a 5-2 lead on a Cross termination and went up 7-3 on Erwin's kill. A McElheny kill made it 9-5 Wolverines and her termination put Michigan on top 11-7. Michigan stayed hot, taking a 12-8 lead on blocks from Goode and Cross and going up 14-9 on Erwin's kill. Stanford took its second timeout of the set at 16-10 after a McElheny kill off an overpass. Stanford scored the next four points off that timeout. Next, Dannemiller recorded her second ace of the match, giving U-M an 18-14 lead. Erwin gave Michigan a 21-17 lead with a termination, and a Cross kill put the Wolverines ahead 23-18. A block cut the Michigan lead to 23-20, but the Wolverines tied the match at one set apiece, scoring the final two points on a Toon kill and Cardinal attack error.

Erwin put U-M up 3-1 in the third set with a kill, but Stanford scored three straight points for a 4-3 advantage. The Wolverines battled back, taking a 6-5 lead on two straight Cross kills. A Dannemiller service ace put U-M up 9-8. Michigan then went on a mini run, taking a 13-9 lead after a Goode kill, a Stanford block error and blocks by Erwin and Goode. A Cross kill gave Michigan a 15-10 lead, but Stanford started its comeback, cutting the U-M lead to 16-15 as the Maize and Blue called timeout. However, Erwin's kill put Michigan up 19-16 and a Toon termination made it 20-17. Goode's kill off an overpass gave U-M a 22-18 lead as the Cardinal called timeout. Cross then gave the Wolverines the set as kills at 24-19 and 25-20 put the Maize and Blue up 2-1.

The Wolverines scored the first two points of the fourth set on kills from Erwin and Goode. Stanford then took a 7-5 lead on a Cardinal block, but Michigan came back to tie the set at seven on a Dannemiller kill. Michigan took a two-point lead (12-10) off a Cross kill and went up three off a Cardinal attack error. An Erwin kill gave the Maize and Blue a 15-12 lead, and Toon's termination put Michigan up 16-13. Stanford called its second timeout after Cross' kill put the Cardinal up 17-13. Erwin had another kill to her team up 19-13 and a Dannemiller kill plus a Cardinal attack error made it 21-14. Dannemiller's ace had Michigan two points away from a national semifinal berth, which the Wolverines clinched with kills from Toon and Erwin.

Cross and Dannemiller joined Erwin on the all-regional team. Michigan hit .266 for the game, including .347 and .364 in the second and third set, respectively. The Wolverines had five service aces and eight team blocks.

Michigan will play No. 3 Texas in the first NCAA Tournament national semifinal this Thursday (Dec. 13) at 7 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. ESPN2 will televise the semifinals and final.

Contact: Kent Reichert (734) 763-4423

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