UPCOMING SCHEDULE - ARKANSAS INVITATIONAL
vs. Stephen F. Austin
vs. Tennessee State
|Friday, Aug. 29||Saturday, Aug. 30||Saturday, Aug. 30|
|4 p.m. CDT||1 p.m. CDT||7 p.m. CDT|
|Live Stats | Live Blog||Live Stats | Live Blog||Live Stats | WatchESPN
• At the Net Blog with Tiffany Morales
The University of Michigan volleyball team (0-0) opens its 42nd season of play this Friday and Saturday (Aug. 29-30) at the Arkansas Invitational inside Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Wolverines open the 2014 campaign Friday (Aug. 29) against Stephen F. Austin (0-0) at 4 p.m. CDT. The Maize and Blue then will play two matches on Saturday (Aug. 30) against Tennessee State (0-0) at 1 p.m. CDT and host Arkansas (0-0) at 7 p.m. CDT.
Michigan returns three starters plus the libero and 10 letterwinners from last year's team that advanced to the program's eighth straight NCAA Tournament.
Scouting the Opposition
Stephen F. Austin
The Lumberjacks return all six starters plus the libero from last year's team that went 16-16 overall and 8-10 in the Southland. Jill Ivy led the Lumberjacks with 3.02 kills per set while setter Paige Holland had 8.06 assists a set. OJ Olson was the team leader in digs (5.12/s) while Jacque Allen added 112 total blocks.
The Tigers return five starters plus the libero and seven letterwinners from last year's squad that was 10-18 overall and 6-10 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Naomi Wells led Tennessee State with 3.57 kills per set. Wells also averaged 2.67 digs a set. Sherryce Butler led the Tigers with 77 total blocks and Ileanushka Maldanado.
The Razorbacks were picked to finish seventh in the Southeastern Conference preseason poll after going 16-14 overall, 9-9 in conference play and earning an at-large berth to the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Arkansas returns 11 letterwinners, including Meredith Hayes, who was an AVCA All-Region selection. Hayes averaged 3.94 kills and 2.30 digs per set. Ana Sofi a Jusino led the Razorbacks with 89 total blocks, while Summer Morgan added 78 blocks, including 11 solos.
Michigan begins its 42nd season of play this weekend at the Arkansas Invitational. The Wolverines have an all-time record of 669-604-5 (not including two years in Canada) heading into the 2014 campaign. Michigan has 14 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, five berths to the "Sweet 16", an Elite Eight run in 2009 and a Final Four berth in 2012.
The Wolverines are 28-13 in season openers and have not dropped the first match of a season since a 3-0 loss to Notre Dame to begin the 2005 year. Last season, Michigan defeated Clemson in straight sets to kick off the Xavier Invitational in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Arkansas Invitational Series Records
Michigan will play both Stephen F. Austin and Tennessee State for the fi rst time in program history this weekend ... Michigan has won all fi ve matches against Arkansas. The fi rst win was during the 1985 National Invitational Championship in Kansas City, Mo. The two teams last met in Ann Arbor on Sept. 1, 2012, with the Wolverines coming away with a thrilling five-set victory. Kelly Murphy and Jennifer Cross had 17 kills apiece while Tiff any Morales had 27 digs and Lexi Dannemiller added 59 assists as U-M improved to 7-0 on the year.
Rosen Readies for 16th Season
Head coach Mark Rosen enters his 16th season as head coach of the Michigan volleyball program. Since taking over in Ann Arbor, Rosen has led U-M to 13 NCAA berths, fi ve Sweet 16's, two Elite Eight appearances, a Final Four berth and a 306-191 record. His wife, Leisa Rosen, joins him on the sidelines for the 16th consecutive season while assistant coach Erin Virtue starts her fourth season. Volunteer assistant coach Skylar Lopas joins the staff along while director of volleyball operations Ben Belanger begins his second season.
Michigan returns three starters plus the libero and 10 letterwinners from last year's team that advanced to the program's eighth straight NCAA Tournament. Senior Lexi Dannemiller returns after earning All-North Region honors by the AVCA last season. Dannemiller averaged 10.84 assists per set, which was fourth in the Big Ten in 2013. Juniors Tiff any Morales and Lindsey Lerg return as defensive specialists/liberos. Morales, who was a Big Ten All-Freshman team honoree in 2012, averaged 3.79 digs per set last year while Lerg made 13 starts in the back in 2012. Middle blockers Krystalyn Goode and Abby Cole both are back. Goode led Michigan with 128 total blocks last season while Cole was a Big Ten All-Freshman honoree in 2013. Juniors Ally Davis and Kelly Murphy both return as outside hitters. Davis averaged 1.88 kills per set last year and Murphy has appeared in 43 matches in her U-M career.
Dannemiller Named to Preseason All-B1G Team
Senior Lexi Dannemiller has been named to the 15-player Preseason All-Big Ten team, earning her second straight preseason conference honor. Dannemiller averaged 10.84 assists and 2.09 digs per set last season on her way to AVCA All-America honorable mention honors. Michigan also was picked to finish eighth in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Wolverine Recruiting Class Earns High Ranking
Michigan's four-member incoming recruiting class of Claire Kieff er-Wright, Caroline Knop, Adeja Lambert and Katherine Mahlke has been ranked as the seventh-best class in the country by both Volleyball Magazine and PrepVolleyball.com. This is the third time that PrepVolleyball. com has ranked Michigan's class in the top-10 and it's the second-highest ranking behind the 2004 class that was ranked sixth in the country.
Lights, Camera, Action
Michigan will make a pair of appearances on the Big Ten Network this season. The Wolverines will host Michigan State on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. on BTN while its road contest at Penn State on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. also will be televised. The Big Ten Network has four wildcard dates (Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 8 and Nov. 12) that the Wolverines could have their matched picked up for television. The nine matches on BTN Plus (formerly Big Ten Digital Network) include three home dates: Sept. 19 against Kansas State, Nov. 8 against Minnesota and Nov. 19 against Penn State.
U-M Aiming for Ninth Straight NCAA Appearance
With its at-large appearance in the 2013 NCAA Tournament last December, Michigan has participated in the last eight postseason tournament and is one of just 15 teams in Division I to accomplish that feat. The Wolverines have advanced to one national semifinal (2012), two regional finals (2009, '12) and five regional semifinals (2007, '08, '09, '11 and '12).
Michigan Quartet Spends Summer with USA Volleyball
Four members of the Michigan volleyball program spent time this summer with various teams associated with USA Volleyball. Head Coach Mark Rosen and senior Lexi Dannemiller both were on the USA Volleyball Collegiate National Team-China Tour, as that squad went 5-2 in stops in Sanming and Beijing, China. Sophomore Abby Cole played in the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., while assistant coach Erin Virtue was an assistant coach for the gold-medal winning U.S. Women's Junior National team at the NORCECA Women's U-20 Continental Championships in Guatemala.
Wolverines to face Tough Slate This Season
Michigan's 30-game 2014 schedule features 14 matches against teams ranked in the AVCA Preseason Top-25. Duke and North Carolina, U-M's opponents in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, are ranked 21st and 20th, respectively. The Wolverines then play No. 1 Penn State, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 11 Illinois and No. 16 Michigan State twice and No. 8 Purdue and No. 12 Minnesota once in the Big Ten Conference schedule. U-M also faces Oregon on Sept. 13. The Ducks are receiving 115 votes and are just outside the top 25.
Wolverine Alumnae Playing Professionally in Europe
Michigan alumnae Lexi Erwin and Jennifer Cross have both signed contracts to play professionally in Europe. Erwin is playing for HPK Naiset in Finland, while Cross is playing for Engelhomls Volleybollsällskap in Sweden. Erwin was named to the 2012 Division I Volleyball Championships team and was an All-Big Ten selection her junior year. Cross was an AVCA All-America third team selection in 2012 and a two-time All-Big Ten honoree.
Michigan opens its home schedule with two matches in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Maize and Blue will face Duke Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. and North Carolina Saturday, Sept. 6 at 5 p.m. Both matches will be inside Cliff Keen Arena.