Michigan Ousts No. 4 Stanford, Earns Spot in Elite Eight

Dec. 12, 2009

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Site: Palo Alto, Calif. (Maples Pavilion)
Event: NCAA Regional Semifinal
Score: #16 Michigan 3, #4 Stanford 1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-11)
Records: U-M (26-9), Stanford (23-7)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Dec. 12 -- vs. Hawai'i - NCAA Regional Final (Palo, Alto, Calif.), 8:30 p.m. PST

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team made history Friday night (Dec. 11), using four double-figure kill performances and a .358 attack percentage en route to a 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-11) upset of No. 4 Stanford to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history in a NCAA Regional Semifinal win in Maples Pavilion.

Sophomore Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph) led the way with 18 kills and 14 digs, while senior Juliana Paz (Porto Alegre, Brazil/Iowa Western CC) added 15. Junior setter Lexi Zimmerman (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) came up two digs shy of a triple-double with 10 kills, eight digs and 51 assists.

In the deciding fourth set, the Wolverines continued a trend of fast leads, going on top 6-1 on a vicious kill from Zimmerman to force the Cardinal to burn an early timeout. The lead swelled to seven, 9-2, on a kill from Paz, which forced Stanford to expend its second and final timeout of the frame. The lead continued to grow as U-M put together a 6-0 run, which included a pair of aces from sophomore libero Sloane Donhoff (Louisville, Ky./Assumption) to go on top 16-3 as the Wolverines eventually cruised to a 25-11 win, taking the match three sets to one.

In set three, U-M again raced out to an early lead thanks to back-to-back Hunt terminations plus a kill from Zimmerman and ace from Donhoff to grab an 8-3 advantage. The Wolverines continued to play well, holding an 18-12 lead that forced the Cardinal into its second timeout of the frame. Up 20-14, the Wolverine defense began to falter as Stanford put together a 6-0 run with three service aces in the mix to get within one, 20-19. U-M responded, however, using kills by Hunt, senior Veronica Rood (Temperance, Mich./Bedford) and sophomore/junior Karlee Bruck (Elyria, Ohio/Elyria) to go back on top 24-22, and a solo block by Rood sealed the win, 25-22, as U-M went on top two sets to one.

In set two, Michigan again jumped out to an early lead, 5-2, on three straight kills by Rood, Paz and Zimmerman. The Cardinal made a charge from there, tying the score at eight-all before grabbing their biggest lead of the night, 10-8. The Stanford lead swelled to three points, 15-12, forcing a Michigan timeout. The Cardinal pushed their lead to five, 20-15, before the Wolverines made a push, registering the next two points and forcing a Stanford stoppage. The Wolverines got within one at 23-22 on a service ace by Paz and tied the match at 23-all on a Cardinal attack error, but Stanford reeled off the next two to take the set 25-23 and even the match at one set apiece.

In set one, the Wolverines raced out to an early 6-2 lead on the strength of four straight points -- two blocks and two kills by Hunt and a cross-court winner from Rood. After Stanford whittled the lead to three, Michigan responded with two kills from senior Megan Bower (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) and an ace from junior Maggie Busch (Toledo, Ohio/Toledo Christian) to grab a 13-8 lead and force a Cardinal timeout. Stanford got to within three points on two occasions, but each time the Wolverines responded, including a 3-1 run over the final four points to grab a 25-18 win. Michigan hit an impressive .545 in the set as Paz paced the club with six kills, while Hunt added five.

With the win, Michigan advances to Saturday night's (Dec. 12) NCAA Regional Final against No. 3 Hawai'i, which defeated Illinois, 3-1, to advance. First serve for a trip to the Final Four is set for 8:30 p.m. PST with live coverage nationally on ESPNU.

Contact: Matt Fancett (734) 763-4423

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