U-M's Magical Run to Final Four Ends with Five-Set Loss to Texas
Claire McElheny

Dec. 13, 2012

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• Postgame: Press Conference | Highlights | Player Reaction | Dave Brandon

Site: Louisville, Ky. (KFC Yum! Center)
Event: NCAA Tournament (Semifinals)
Score: #3 Texas 3, Michigan 2 (25-11, 21-25, 23-25, 25-12, 15-11)
Records: U-M (27-12), TEX (28-4)
Attendance: 13,385
Next U-M Event: Season Complete

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Junior Lexi Erwin (Spring, Texas/Woodlands College Park) had 26 kills on 87 swings, and the University of Michigan volleyball team won sets two and three against No. 3 Texas, but the Longhorns had a strong start and finish in the fifth and deciding set to win, 3-2, on Thursday (Dec. 13) in the NCAA Tournament national semifinal in front of 13,385 fans at the KFC Yum! Center. Set scores were 25-11, 21-25, 23-25, 25-12 and 15-11.

Erwin had eight digs and a pair of service aces to go with her 26 kills. Fifth-year senior Claire McElheny (Westfield, Ind./Brebeuf Prep) had 15 kills on a .419 hitting percentage. She also had three blocks in her final game as a Wolverine. Sophomore Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) had a double-double with 52 assists and 11 digs to go along with three blocks. Freshman Lindsey Lerg (Farmington Hills, Mich./Mercy) led Michigan with 16 digs, while classmate Tiffany Morales (Redondo Beach, Calif./Redondo Union) added 12. Junior Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ontario/Birchmount Park Collegiate) had five blocks, two of which were solos.

Back-to-back kills from McElheny gave U-M the early 2-1 lead in the first set. The Wolverines took a 4-2 lead on a Longhorn error, but Texas scored the next five points, capped by a kill from Haley Eckerman. UT then made it 10-5 on a block from Khat Bell and Sha'Dare McNeal. A Bell kill ended a 7-0 run for the Longhorns, giving them a 14-5 lead. A Dannemiller ace cut the lead to 20-9, but Texas closed out the set on a Bailey Webster kill for the 25-11 first-set victory.

The Wolverines came back from that first-set defeat to hold Texas to a .189 hitting percentage and take the set 25-21. Michigan jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the match's second set, with kills from junior Molly Toon (Middleton, Wis./Middleton) and McElheny and a Dannemiller ace. A block by Goode and McElheny put the Maize and Blue on top 5-2. Erwin's kill put U-M on top 8-7 in the set. Both teams traded points until Michigan went on a 3-0 run with an Erwin kill giving the Wolverines a 15-12 lead. Blocks by Dannemiller and Cross made it 16-13 Michigan and a Toon termination put the Maize and Blue up three (18-15). A kill from McElheny gave the Wolverines a 20-17 lead, and she teamed with Goode for a block, giving Michigan a 21-19 advantage. An Erwin kill and Texas ball-handling error gave U-M set point, where Erwin's kill tied the match at one set apiece.

Back-to-back kills from Goode tied the third set at two apiece. A Cross block followed by an Erwin kill put Michigan up 6-4. Cross' kill made it 8-6, but Texas battled back to tie the set at nine on a Webster kill. Erwin's termination gave Michigan a 12-10 advantage. Cross and Dannemiller combined on a block for a 14-12 lead and Erwin had another kill, making it 15-13 going into the media timeout. Erwin came out of the timeout to deliver a service ace. Texas tied the match at 16 on an Eckerman block, but Michigan went back on top 19-17 on a Toon termination. A McElheny kill put U-M up 20-18 and a Wolverine triple block made it 21-18. A Cross kill gave Michigan a 23-19 lead. Texas rallied to cut the lead to 24-23 on a Michigan error, but Erwin's second straight kill gave the Wolverines the third set.

A Hannah Allison kill gave Texas an early 5-3 lead in the fourth set. The Longhorns led 8-4 after a Michigan net violation, but the Wolverines came back with three straight points, two of which came from Toon kills, to cut the Texas lead to 11-9. After a Longhorn timeout, UT came out and scored four of the next five points, capped by a Bell kill. The Longhorns went up 18-11 on a Wolverine attack error. That was part of a 7-0 run by the Longhorns, taking a 23-11 lead on a Bell block. Texas closed out the set on a Michigan attack error, sending the match to a fifth set.

Texas scored the first four points of the fifth set as Michigan called timeout after a block from McNeal and Molly McCage. A Cross kill shaved the Longhorn lead to 5-3 and her solo block brought the Maize and Blue to within one at 5-4. Texas extended its lead to 7-4 in the fifth, but the Wolverines scored the next two points on an Erwin kill and service ace. Michigan tied the set at eight on McElheny's kill, but Texas rattled off three straight points. U-M got as close as 12-10 off a Toon kill as Texas won the match on a McNeal kill.

Michigan had four services aces in the match, two from Dannemiller and Erwin. The Wolverines hit .158 in the match, compared to .316 for the Longhorns.

U-M ends its season with a 27-12 record and its first trip to the national semifinals. The Wolverines had two All-Americans and two All-Big Ten players (Cross and Erwin) and return five starters plus the libero to the 2013 squad.

Contact: Kent Reichert (734) 763-4423

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