The IU volleyball team stormed into Ann Arbor with a 5-1 lead in the first set against No. 17 Michigan with the same energy they finished with against the then-No. 13 Wolverines last Saturday when the Hoosiers came away with the four-set upset victory.
However, Michigan was able to avenge its loss and sweep IU in three sets, 25-17, 25-22, 25-22, Wednesday night.
“I thought we battled Michigan tough,” IU Coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan said. “But there were stretches where we gave them strings of points and they were able to build momentum.”
IU, 16-12 overall, 5-10 in the Big Ten, and Michigan, 21-6 overall, 10-5 in the Big Ten, battled back and forth to a 14-14 tie before the Wolverines closed the set on a 11-3 run the take the opening set.
After falling behind 6-9 to begin set two, IU scored four consecutive points to move out in front, 10-9. Michigan followed it up with a run of its own as it scored six consecutive points to regain the lead and add some insurance points to make the score 15-10.
The Hoosiers never let up in their pursuit, though, and knotted the second set up at 22-22 and forced a Wolverine timeout.
Whatever Michigan Coach Mark Rosen told his team in the timeout must have worked, because his Wolverines scored the final three points to close out the set 25-22 and headed into the intermission up two sets to none.
IU once again showed promise at the beginning of a set and led off the third with an electric four-point run to lead 4-2 after dropping the first two points. The teams continued to trade scoring runs throughout the set, and IU senior outside hitter Allison Hammond quieted the Michigan crowd with two consecutive service aces during a 5-0 Hoosier run that gave IU a 19-17 lead.
However, the Wolverines roared back and ended the match on senior outside hitter Kelly Murphy’s 10th kill of the night.
2015 All-American senior middle blocker Abby Cole was able to get the best of the Hoosiers this time around and contributed nine kills on a .571 hitting percentage and five blocks for Michigan.
Fellow Michigan middle blocker junior Claire Kieffer-Wright led the way for her squad with 12 kills and six blocks with a .421 hitting percentage.
For the fourth consecutive match, senior Jazzmine McDonald led the Hoosiers. The middle blocker hit .368 with 11 kills and three blocks.
IU limited Michigan libero sophomore Jenna Lerg, who entered the match first in the Big Ten in digs with a 4.33 digs per set average, to eight digs. IU’s libero, senior Taylor Lebo, tallied nine digs in the losing effort.
Next up for the Hoosiers is a Saturday night match against No. 1 Nebraska in Bloomington’s University Gym. It will be IU’s sixth consecutive match against a ranked opponent.
“We have five matches to play, and we have to focus on one match at a time, and we will go back and prepare for a very good Nebraska team on Saturday,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “We home we can have a great crowd with it being senior night.”
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