The Michigan volleyball team, losing only one Senior from last season's final four team, is ranked #7 in the nation--their highest pre-season ranking ever. Two Big Ten teams (#2 Penn State and #6 Minnesota) are ranked ahead of them, and 4 other B1G teams appear in the top 25: #10 Nebraska, #14 Michigan State, #16 Purdue and #23 Ohio State.
Michigan's home games against ranked opponents:
Sat 9/7, 2pm: #8 Oregon
Fri 10/11, 7pm: #10 Nebraska
Sat 10/26, 7pm: #16 Purdue
Fri 11/1, 7pm: #2 Penn State
Sat 11/2, 7pm: #23 Ohio State
Fri 11/22, 7pm: #6 Minnesota
Wed 11/27, 7pm: #14 Michigan State
The top 10 is dominated by the B1G and the Pac 12, with 4 teams each.
2. Penn State
4. Southern Cal
The Wolverines fell to Texas 11-24, 25-21, 25-23, 12-25, 11-15.
A fantastic run for a fantastic squad! Despite coming in unranked and finishing 6th in the Big Ten, Michigan was able to scrap against the best of the best, but came up just short of the Championship game.
Michigan loses only fifth-year senior Claire McElhenny, so they are already poised to do huge things next year! Go Blue!!!
If you are planning to catch the Wolverines at the volleyball Final Four in Seattle (12/19 AND 12/21), the presale starts at 10AM today. Please use the password KEYARENA to access the presale - and go cheer for the BLUE!!! (edit: SORRY my mistake! It is for next year, read the post below for this year's info)
The Michigan volleyball team is facing MSU in the NCAA Sweet 16 tonight at 8:00 in Berkeley, CA. The match can be seen on ESPN3.
The two squads split during the regular season, with each gaining a sweep on the other's home court. The winner of the match tonight will almost certainly face Stanford tomorrow in the Elite 8 (see the bracket).
Update: Congrats to the team on the sweep!
Excerpt from mgoblue.com recap:
The University of Michigan volleyball team blew past Michigan State in three sets (25-16, 26-24, 26-24) on Friday night (Dec. 7), clinching its second-ever appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight. U-M will face either second-ranked Stanford or Iowa State in the regional final Saturday (Dec. 8) at 8:30 p.m. PST at Haas Pavilion.
Michigan, making its second regional final appearance in four years, was led on offense by junior Lexi Erwin's (Spring, Texas/Woodlands College Park) 17 kills. Classmate Jennifer Cross (Scarborough, Ontario/Birchmount Park Collegiate) added 12 kills and five blocks. Sophomore Lexi Dannemiller (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) dealt 30 assists, while freshman Tiffany Morales(Redondo Beach, Calif./Redondo Union) had 19 digs. Freshman Krystalyn Goode (River Falls, Wis./Nicolet) registered five blocks, while Erwin tossed in four block assists.
McCabe has a nice Free Press feature on future Wolverine Abby Cole: Grand Haven volleyball 'ace' Abby Cole is a rising star. Prepvolleyball.com has ranked her #3 in the country in the 2013 class.
"She can control the game at the net unlike any player I've ever seen from her attacking and blocking," said Grand Haven coach Aaron Smaka. "She's starting to impact the game in a huge way in the back row from her serving, which she's getting better at -- she's serving a jump serve that is just wicked -- and she's starting to attack the ball out of the back row.
"The biggest change in her game from last year to this year is now she's affecting the game all the way around the court."
Cole is also one of the top basketball players in the state and helped Grand Haven win the Class A state championship last year, but she's chosen volleyball as her college sport:
Division I college basketball coaches at the highest level were interested in Cole, but the more she played volleyball the more it became clear it was her best sport.
Cole is tall and has a wiry frame. She isn't as thick as are many Division I basketball players.
"I think I can go a lot farther in volleyball," she said. "People always tell me I'm built like a volleyball player, not a basketball player. It's not a bad thing, but in college basketball, players are a lot more aggressive, and I feel with the physical contact I would get shoved around a lot in basketball."
Also, I think I spotted a recruiting advantage of the "highlighter" shade of maize:
"There was one coach who went to every single match at nationals, and it was Mark Rosen, the Michigan coach," she said. "He was always in his bright maize shirt so he stood out a lot. He told me after I committed that he did it on purpose so I would notice him."
This happens often enough, but there was yet another mini-spat on the board about non-revenue sports and their worth. I may be biased. I love all sports. I've never met an athletic game I didn't fall in love with at one point or another. As a student at UM some friends took me to a volleyball game and I fell in love with volleyball and found myself hitting Elbel as often as possible to pay. Playing innertube waterpolo made me realize what a fun sport that was and subsequently I found myself watching Michigan v. Indiana, not on the Big Ten Network, but in Canham Natatorium.
There's something about those teams, those sports, that reminds me of some the best times of my life - playing high school baseball with my friends, winning a regional, then a state quarterfinal, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion one game later. The pure elation of victory and the pure agony of defeat. There's something pure about non-revenue sports at Michigan. It takes a dedication that I like to think I would have had, but don't know if I would have.
Alex Hunt and Stu Douglass were two of my favorite Michigan Men and Women while I was a student there. They embody this spirit. For those of you who don't feel this way about the Michigan Men and Women who wear the maize and blue in soccer, softball, baseball, wrestling, gymnastics, field hockey, etc., I challenge you to give them a shot. I truly think you're missing out. You're entitled to your opinion, but I highly suggest you read Alex and Stu's journey and maybe you'll see the quality person that UM and UM athletics can produce.
“He wanted to prove to himself and to the world that he could play with the best athletes in the country. He didn’t want anybody to ever say, ‘He was OK at Harvard.’ He would have rather failed at the Big Ten than just be OK at Harvard.”– Stuart’s father, Matt Douglass