LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Michigan earned a spot in the second round of the NCAA tournament for the second season in a row after knocking off Louisville in four sets (25-15, 22-25, 25-22, 27-25) on Friday. Juniors Lexi Erwin, Molly Toon and senior Claire McElheny notched double-digit kills.
Erwin had 24 kills and made it a double-double with 12 digs and a service ace in the fourth set. Toon hit .306 to go along with her 19 kills and McElheny had five blocks on the night in addition her 12 kills. Sophomore Lexi Dannemiller had a double-double with 62 assists and 16 digs.
Freshman Tiffany Morales led Michigan with 17 digs and classmate Krystalyn Goode had six assisted blocks. Freshman Lindsey Lerg had a career-high 15 digs, while junior Ally Sabol added 12 digs.
The Wolverines hit .389 and received six kills from Toon to take set one 25-15. Michigan led 5-3 in the first set after an Erwin kill. That was the start of three consecutive points for the Maize and Blue as Goode and McElheny combined for a block and Louisville had an attack error. The Cardinals climbed back in the set, tying it at nine on a block from Gwen Rucker and Emily Juhl.
Michigan answered that run, scoring the next five points, highlighted by back-to-back Toon kills for a 14-9 advantage. A Goode kill extended the Wolverine lead to 17-12. Dannemiller delivered a service ace out of the timeout, which was followed by a McElheny kill, giving the Wolverines a seven-point lead. Toon then delivered back-to-back kills for a 21-12 advantage. Erwin’s kill gave Michigan a 24-14 lead and the Maize and Blue closed out the set on a Cross kill.
There were nine ties in the second set, but Louisville rallied late to tie the match at one. A service ace from freshman Lindsey Lerg gave Michigan a 3-2 lead to open the second set. Toon’s termination put U-M on top 7-5 and a Cross roof made it 8-6 Maize and Blue. Michigan extended the lead to 11-7 on kills from Toon and Erwin.
The Wolverines took a 15-11 lead on a Cardinal error and Erwin kill, forcing UofL to burn a timeout. Louisville then started a comeback, cutting the U-M lead to 16-15 after a Gwen Rucker kill and taking a 17-16 advantage on back-to-back Michigan errors. The Cardinals took a 19-17 lead on a tip kill from Lola Arslanbekova. Michigan came back to tie it at 20 on a block by Goode and McElheny, but Louisville went up 23-21 on a Wolverine error and took the set 25-22 on an Arslanbekova kill.
Michigan took a 4-3 lead in the third set on another block from Goode and McElheny. That was the start of a 4-0 run as McElheny added two kills and Goode had a kill. An Erwin kill put Michigan up 9-5 and four consecutive points from the Wolverines made it 14-7. That run was capped by a McElheny kill. A Toon kill gave Michigan a 16-11 lead and McElhney’s kill made it 18-12. Michigan built a 20-14 lead on a Cardinal attack error, but UofL started its comeback. Arslanbekova’s kill put the Cardinals down 20-16. A kill from Tanya Lukyanenko and a Gwen Rucker kill shaved the advantage to just 21-19. A block from McElheny and Goode made it 24-21 and Toon’s kill gave Michigan the 25-22 win the set.
The two teams traded side outs through the first 14 points of the fourth set before an Arslanbekova kill gave Louisville an 8-7 lead. Brooke Mattingly’s kill gave the Cardinals an 11-9 lead, which was followed by a Hannah Kvitle service ace. An Erwin kill cut the Louisville lead to 12-11, but the Cardinals scored the next two points to build a three-point advantage.
Back-to-back Louisville block put the Cardinals ahead 17-13 as the Wolverines called timeout. Another Cardinal block, the 15th of the night, made it 19-14. Back-to-back Erwin kills cut the Cardinal lead to 21-18 and a UofL attack error trimmed the Wolverine deficit to 22-20. An Erwin kill and service ace made it 23-22 and a termination from Toon tied the set at 24-all. The teams traded points before a Goode block gave the Maize and Blue match point. Toon completed the comeback with a kill, sending the Wolverines to the regional semifinals.