Nov. 27, 2013
The No. 23-ranked University of Michigan volleyball team closes out regular-season play with a pair of matches this week. The Maize and Blue hosts No. 19 Michigan State for its final match in Cliff Keen Arena on Wednesday night (Nov. 27) at 7 p.m. After the match, U-M will honor seniors Jennifer Cross, Lexi Erwin, Brittany Lee, Ally Sabol and Molly Toon on Senior and Parent's Night. The Wolverines then wrap up the regular season on Friday night (Nov. 29) at Indiana. First serve is set for 7 p.m. This week, senior Cross talks about what it's like to play in Cliff Keen Arena, her blocks record and the family atmosphere of the program.
Q: How does it feel to play in Cliff Keen Arena?
A: I love playing here. It's a really cool atmosphere. It's kind of different from the other venues in the Big Ten, which I really like. It gets really, really loud in here for a smaller venue. I don't know, I've just enjoyed playing here for the last four years and it's home. It's scary that this will be my last time playing here.
Q: It's your fourth year with this class. Describe the closeness that the senior class has built from freshman year to now?
A: I definitely think we've grown as friends and as people. We've really kind of learned how each person functions and we've grown as people over the last four years so it's so cool to see after four years our relationship has just changed and become so much better.
Q: You have the blocks record at U-M. Was that a goal from the beginning or something you wanted to achieve and how special of an honor is it for you?
A: It was definitely not something I thought I would achieve. I didn't know until this year I was anywhere close. It's definitely really cool. As I said before when I broke the record, there are so many people that go into that like Claire McElheny and Courtney Fletcher. They all taught me so much. It may be my name in the record book but there are so many other people that helped. It means a lot to me that those people reached out to me and said congrats. It was a great moment.
Q: If you had to describe this year's team in one word, what would it be and why?
A: I'd have to say family. We've gone through so much together; the highs and lows, and we've all stuck together and genuinely care about each other. When you have 16 girls together, not everyone is going to get along all the time but like sisters you love each other and care about each other and move on and grow as people. Especially with Mark and Leisa having a family dynamic really has made my college experience amazing and I couldn't imagine playing in a different program with other people. This is really my family.
Q:How special has your four years been at Michigan?
A: It's been crazy. When I think back to my freshman year, I didn't really have any idea what I was getting myself into. I look back and say "Wow". I really lucked out being in such a great program. Personally, I've just changed so much as a person over four years and that's what I'm most proud of that I've grown up while I've been here and I got to play volleyball at the highest level and gone to a Final Four, had some big upsets and kind of made a name for myself. The thing I'm most proud of is all of the people I've met here and the relationships I've made here. It couldn't have gone better and I'll be sad when it's over but I'll always remember being at Michigan.
Previous Q&A: Molly Toon