- PSU @ UM
- Friday October 16
- Cliff Keen Arena
- Tape Delayed on ESPN2, Sunday Oct 18, 1pmET
- Live Radio - WBCN Ann Arbor 88.3
Tonight is a huge game for Michigan on the volleyball court as #11 Michigan takes on #1 Penn State at Cliff Keene Arena. PSU comes in undefeated in their last 82 games, and they also hold a 35-3 record against Michigan. That said, this is a different Michigan team than years past. Michigan comes in with a 16-3 record and with a stronger winning attitude than in years past.
Despite all the positives that could come from this game, Michigan is focusing on the game, not the potential results. When talking with the Daily, coach Mark Rosen describes the focus:
If you think about the end product, it doesn’t get you anywhere. ... We really try to focus on the process and get back to concentrating on the small picture rather than the big picture.
These sentiments were also shared by Lexi Zimmerman today on her CiL live chat on mgoblue.com. Lexi stressed the need to play crisp, to make the right passes, and to make the right reads.
I am going to work on seeing the block and making good decisions. It all goes back to being crisp, we have to be crisp tonight from start to finish.
It'll be important tonight as those middles are some of the best in the nation. Arielle Wilson is a 6'-3" junior who is averaging 1.46 blocks per set. If that wasn't solid enough, their second middle is Fatima Balza, another 6'-3" junior averaging 1.35 blocks/set. That's good for 3rd and 4th in the BigTen respectively. To put it in perspective, Michigan's leading blocker, Courtney Fletcher averages just .8 blocks/set.
|Avg Opp. RPI||69.2||Avg Opp. RPI||100.1||-|
I'll give that these matchups aren't the most solid ways to compare a pair of teams, but I think it at least offer a little bit of an idea of play.
Michigan has played a much tougher schedule so far this season, and that has a little to do with PSU gaining an advantage on their kill numbers. That said, some of their numbers are so much higher, and that's because of the talent on the Nittany Lions.
I'm somewhat worried about that kill percentage of PSU versus our block and digs. Michigan doesn't block all that well. Penn State will try to capitalize on that often. The good news here is that we were able to hold up against Indiana on the road who had the next best set of middles in the BigTen. The Nittany Lions are a good step up on the Hoosiers, but hopefully we can have a solid game from Rood (pictured to the right via MGoBlue) and Fletch. They'll be one of the keys to the game.
Michigan tends more to rely on a solid service game on both sides of the net. We want to receive well and we want to hold the lead in aces. Penn State has done well this season on receiving and have a solid ace count themselves. Whoever wins this facet of the game will probably come out on top.
The game starts at 7pm, so if you are one of the lucky few with tickets, get out there early. The girls feed off the energy and want to hear you get loud.