Dec. 13, 2009
Site: Palo Alto, Calif. (Maples Pavilion)
Event: NCAA Regional Final
Score: #3 Hawai'i 3, #16 Michigan 0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-18)
Records: U-M (27-10), Hawai'i (32-2)
Next U-M Event: Season Completed
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team saw its season come to a close on Saturday night (Dec. 12), falling to No. 3 Hawai'i, 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-18), in the NCAA Stanford Regional Final at Maples Pavilion.
Sophomore Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph) was a bright spot on a difficult offensive night for the Maize and Blue, registering a team-high 13 kills. Junior setter Lexi Zimmerman (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) posted 32 assists in the loss. The Wolverines were held to just a .181 attack percentage in the match and did not produce a single service ace but posted their third straight match with double-digit blocks, outstuffing Hawai'i, 11-7.
In the deciding third set, Michigan's woes continued as Hawai'i raced out to an 8-4 lead early before Hunt and senior Juliana Paz (Porto Alegre, Brazil/Americano [Iowa Western Community College]) teamed up for three terminations to bring Michigan back within one, 14-13. Hawai'i then reeled off four straight points to go on top 18-13 en route to a 25-18 win, taking the match 3-0.
In the opening set, the Wolverines fell in an early hole only to dig themselves out with a balanced offensive attack that saw senior Veronica Rood (Temperance, Mich./Bedford), Hunt and senior Megan Bower (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) all register terminations to build a 12-8 lead and force a Hawai'i timeout. The Rainbow Wahine responded after the stoppage, reeling off five straight points to take a 13-12 lead and force U-M into a timeout of its own. Hawai'i eventually built a four-point lead, 21-17, before the Wolverines made a charge with a 3-0 run, cutting the lead to one. Tied at 23-all, U-M watched as Hawai'i scored the final two points to take the set 25-23 and a 1-0 match lead.
Hawai'i carried its momentum into set two, jumping out to an early lead, which it never relinquished in a 25-19 win. The Wolverine offense never got on track, hitting just .156 in the frame compared to .267 for Hawai'i. Hunt was the lone bring spot, hitting .600 with six terminations.
Michigan finishes the season with a 27-10 record, marking the sixth year and fourth straight under head coach Mark Rosen with 20-plus victories.
The Wolverines reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season, and the Regional Finals for the first time in program history.
Senior Juliana Paz eclipsed the 500-kill mark for the season in the loss to Hawai'i.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen
Opening statement ... "First I want to tip my hat to Hawai'i. They're an outstanding team and I wish them the best of luck next weekend. I am very proud of our team. It is obviously disappointing to have the season come to an end, but I still couldn't be prouder of the way we competed tonight and the whole season."
On the serve and pass game being the difference ... "I would definitely agree with that. They (Hawai'i) were better at that tonight than we were. They are a great serving team, probably the toughest we have faced all season. They do a great job of serving balls that look the same until the end and that forced us into bad situations. Normally we are a good serve-receive team, but tonight Hawai'i took us out of that in a hurry. We certainly didn't help the cause, but a lot of that was what Hawai'i was doing."
On the 2009 team, especially the senior class ... "Like I said before, I couldn't be prouder of this group. We sat in a restaurant in Brazil way back last May and this team talked about wanting to be in the Final Four. That is a lofty goal, but we came one win away from achieving that. This team, this senior class, will be forever able to look back and say that they were the group that took this program to the next level. It has been building up and up for a few years now, but this is the group that has raised the bar now for everyone who wears the block 'M' after them in this program."
Contact: Matt Fancett (734) 763-4423