NCAA Run Ends in Regional Semis as U-M Falls to Creighton

Dec. 9, 2016

What You Need to Know
» U-M won sets one and three but was unable to close out Creighton, ending its season in the NCAA third round.
» Five players finished the match with digs in double figures, while four players earned double-digit kills in the outing.
» Three players finished the match with double-doubles, including Carly Skjodt, who tallied a career-high 21 digs.
» Michigan ends its season with a 24-11 overall record, the highest NCAA seed in program history and its sixth regional semifinal appearance.
» The night marked final career appearances for senior captains Abby Cole, Ally Davis, and Kelly Murphy.

Box Score | Photo Gallery 

Site: Austin, Texas (Gregory Gym)
Event: NCAA Tournament (Regional Semifinals)
Score: #21 Creighton 3, #17 Michigan 2 (24-26, 25-21, 17-25, 25-20, 15-7)
Records: U-M (24-11), Creighton (29-6)
Next U-M Event: Season Complete

AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 12-seeded University of Michigan volleyball team dropped its regional semifinal match in a heartbreaking fashion -- after leading 2-1 -- on Friday night (Dec. 9), falling by a 3-2 score to Creighton (24-26, 25-21, 17-25, 25-20, 15-7) inside Gregory Gym at the University of Texas.

The loss signals the end of Michigan's 2016 season as well as the final career performances for senior captains Abby Cole, Ally Davis and Kelly Murphy.

The two teams fought hard right out of the gate, but it was Michigan that took a lead at 4-3 on a double-block from Cori Crocker and MacKenzi Welsh, and a lead at 8-4 forced Creighton to burn its first timeout. The Bluejays then rallied for four straight, however, tying the score at 8-8 and coercing a Michigan timeout. From there, the teams played point for point until 24-24, when a dump kill from Welsh and a blast from Carly Skjodt gave Michigan the first set, 26-24.

Creighton jumped out to an early lead in set two, but the Wolverines rallied to tie the score at 7-7 on a kill from Skjodt and multiple Bluejay errors, resulting in a Creighton timeout. Following the stoppage in play, Creighton surged onward, and a Bluejays service ace forced a Michigan timeout as the Wolverines trailed 16-12. Despite a late surge with a kill from Kelly Murphy, Creighton held the Wolverines to just a .184 kill percentage in the second set, taking it by a 25-21 score to force a tie game heading into the break.

With the match tied at 1-1, the two teams played point for point once again in the third set, with 12 ties and three lead changes. At 16-16, however, a Creighton service error gave Michigan the momentum it needed to launch a 3-0 run for a 20-16 lead. From there, the Wolverines rode a .444 attack average and five kills from both Murphy and Claire Kieffer-Wright to take set four, 25-17.

The Bluejays again took an early lead in set four, going up 3-0, before a kill from Cole put Michigan on the board. Despite strong momentum toward the end of the third set, Creighton dominated the first half of set four, forcing a Michigan timeout at 12-8 and again at 17-11. After burning its last timeout of the set, Michigan rallied to come within four, but the Bluejays were first to 25 points despite five kills from Cole and three Wolverine blocks.

With the score tied at two sets apiece, Michigan was forced to play its first fifth set of the postseason. Riding the momentum from the end of the fourth set, the Bluejays got on the board quickly in set five, coercing a Michigan timeout with the Wolverines trailing 5-2. However, despite a late rally by Michigan, Creighton took the fifth and final set by a 15-7 score to advance to the regional finals.

Four players finished the match with kills in double figures, including a team-leading 17-kill performance from Murphy and 15 from Cole. Kieffer-Wright also totaled 13 kills on the night, while Skjodt picked up 10.

Despite the loss, the Wolverines shined defensively, with five players recording double-figure digs for the first time since Michigan faced Minnesota (Nov. 20). Jenna Lerg led the back row with a match-high 30 digs, while Skjodt recorded a career-high 21 digs for her seventh career double-double. Tiffany Clark and Murphy also added 13 digs apiece, and Welsh totaled 10. In addition to Skjodt, both Murphy and Welsh recorded double-doubles on the night.

From the front row, Crocker led Michigan with five block assists, while Welsh totaled four. The performance marks just the sixth time this season that a freshman has led the Maize and Blue in blocks.

Post-Match Audio

The Wolverines' NCAA Regional Semifinal appearance is the team's first since 2012 and the sixth time in Michigan's 44-year history. Michigan's season ends with an impressive 24-11 overall record and the Wolverines' 16th trip to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Michigan's No. 12 seed for the tournament is the highest seed selection in program history.

Communications Contact: Katie Gwinn Hewitt

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