L, 0-3 (22-25, 17-25, 16,25)
The volleyball team was swept in the opening round of the NCAA tournament last night at the hands of #11 Washington. The #23 Wolverines were missing Alex Hunt due to an injury, and adding more youth to an already young lineup didn't help Michigan's cause.
Michigan beat itself almost as much as Washington. The team had 13 service errors on the night, which for those of you not into volleyball, that's a lot. Basically 1/6th of all of Washington's points were scored because Michigan couldn't serve the ball into the court. It's not unusual for Michigan to have quite a few service errors, around 6-8, due to our aggressive mentality, but 13 is definitely on the high side.
Coach Mark Rosen via the Daily:
"It's funny because I thought the stuff we did the worse was what they have no control over, which was serving," Rosen said. "It's the one part of the game that they do not have an effect on. The ironic part is that it's such a big part of our game and who we are. We haven't had a match like that all year; it was completely out of the blue."
Michigan also hit just 0.137 as a team. Again, for those of you not familiar with volleyball speak, this describes how many of the attacks land. You get negative points for attacking out of bounds or being blocked, positive points for getting a kill. A good game has a team hit above .300. A meh game has you hit at least .225.
Without Hunt in the lineup, Washington was able to spread their block around much better. The Huskies posted 10 total blocks (3 solo, 14 assists), shutting down much of Michigan's offense. Karlee Bruck was held to a -0.091 hitting percentage.
So with this loss, not only does Michigan's season come to an end, so too comes an end to the Lexi Zimmerman era. Lexi became Michigan's all time appearance leader with last night's game, making her 140th straight start, edging out Megan Bower's 139th appearance made in last year's NCAA tournament.
U-M Senior Lexi Zimmerman
On playing her final match at Michigan ... "I am very proud to have been a Michigan Wolverine for four years. I would have never chosen any other program."
Lexi has been the heart and soul of the Michigan team over the last two years, and she leaves as arguably the greatest player ever to wear the Maize and Blue. She came when the program was just in it's re-building stage. Michigan hadn't been that dominant. She leaves the program after making 4 straight appearances in the NCAA tournament, including one trip to the Elite 8.
Lexi will be missed.
But behind Lexi and fellow senior Maggie Busch, there is much to look forward to next year. All-Big Ten outside hitter Alex Hunt will return from the ankle she rolled over in the final game of the regular season. Michigan will also return sophomore right side Claire McElheny, freshmen middle Jennifer Cross, and freshman hitter Lexi Erwin, who lead the team with 13 kills last night.
There's a lot of young talent on this team as Michigan has become a program that reloads instead of rebuilds under the coaches Rosen. So while it's going into the long off season for volleyball and Lexi leaves us, there's still much to look forward next season.