Michigan clinches first trip to NCAA semifinal after 3-1 win against Stanford
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Michigan clinched the program's first NCAA semifinal appearance with a 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 upset win versus No. 2 Stanford on Saturday night at Haas Pavilion. The triumph marks U-M's third NCAA tournament victory against a top-six ranked Cardinal squad in the past four seasons.
Junior and Berkeley Regional MVP Lexi Erwin led Michigan with 23 kills and made it a double-double with 16 digs. She was one of four Wolverines in double figures in terminations. Junior Jennifer Cross had 15 kills and nine digs, and junior Molly Toon and fifth-year Claire McElheny had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Freshman Tiffany Morales had a match-high 22 digs, while sophomore Lexi Dannemiller had 59 assists. Freshman Krystalyn Goode had five blocks to pace the Maize and Blue.
Stanford raced out to a 4-2 lead in set one, but Michigan came roaring back, tying the set at six on a block from Goode and McElheny. Michigan then took a 7-6 lead on a Dannemiller ace, but three consecutive blocks by the Cardinal and a service ace put Stanford ahead 12-8, forcing the Wolverines to call timeout. A solo block then put the Cardinal up 15-10. A Wolverine attack error made it 17-11 Stanford, but Michigan scored three points in a row, highlighted by a block and kill from Toon. Stanford came out of its timeout to score three consecutive points of its own to lead 20-14. Toon and Goode combined on a block to cut the Stanford lead to 20-17, but the Maize and Blue got no closer as a U-M attack error gave the Cardinal a 25-20 win.
Michigan scored the first three points of the second set, on kills from McElheny and Goode and a service ace by freshman Lindsey Lerg. The Wolverines built a 5-2 lead on a Cross termination and went up 7-3 on Erwin's kill. A McElheny kill made it 9-5 Wolverines and her termination put Michigan on top 11-7. Michigan stayed hot, taking a 12-8 lead on blocks from Goode and Cross and going up 14-9 on Erwin's kill. Stanford took its second timeout of the set at 16-10 after a McElheny kill off an overpass. Stanford scored the next four points off that timeout. Next, Dannemiller recorded her second ace of the match, giving U-M an 18-14 lead. Erwin gave Michigan a 21-17 lead with a termination, and a Cross kill put the Wolverines ahead 23-18. A block cut the Michigan lead to 23-20, but the Wolverines tied the match at one set apiece, scoring the final two points on a Toon kill and Cardinal attack error.
Erwin put U-M up 3-1 in the third set with a kill, but Stanford scored three in a row for a 4-3 advantage. The Wolverines battled back, taking a 6-5 lead on two consecutive Cross kills. A Dannemiller service ace put U-M up 9-8. Michigan then went on a mini run, taking a 13-9 lead after a Goode kill, a Stanford block error and blocks by Erwin and Goode. A Cross kill gave Michigan a 15-10 lead, but Stanford started its comeback, cutting the U-M lead to 16-15 as the Maize and Blue called timeout. However, Erwin's kill put Michigan up 19-16 and a Toon termination made it 20-17. Goode's kill off an overpass gave U-M a 22-18 lead as the Cardinal called timeout. Cross then gave the Wolverines the set as kills at 24-19 and 25-20 put the Maize and Blue up 2-1.
The Wolverines scored the first two points of the fourth set on kills from Erwin and Goode. Stanford then took a 7-5 lead on a Cardinal block, but Michigan came back to tie the set at seven on a Dannemiller kill. Michigan took a two-point lead (12-10) off a Cross kill and went up three off a Cardinal attack error. An Erwin kill gave the Maize and Blue a 15-12 lead, and Toon's termination put Michigan up 16-13. Stanford called its second timeout after Cross' kill put the Cardinal up 17-13. Erwin had another kill to her team up 19-13 and a Dannemiller kill plus a Cardinal attack error made it 21-14. Dannemiller's ace had Michigan two points away from a national semifinal berth, which the Wolverines clinched with kills from Toon and Erwin.
Cross and Dannemiller joined Erwin on the all-regional team. Michigan hit .266 for the game, including .347 and .364 in the second and third set, respectively. The Wolverines had five service aces and eight team blocks.