Dec. 6, 2009

Courtesy of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 16-ranked University of Michigan women's volleyball team secured its third straight NCAA Sweet 16 trip with a 3-2 (30-32, 24-26, 25-13, 25-20, 15-13) comeback victory over Ohio on Saturday (Dec. 5) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament inside Cliff Keen Arena. U-M dug out of a 2-0 hole to win the final three sets.

Three Wolverines posted double-figure kills, led by senior Juliana Paz (Porto Alegre, Brazil/Iowa Western CC) with 18, while sophomore Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind./South Bend St. Joseph) added 16 and senior Veronica Rood (Temperance, Mich./Bedford) posted the first double-double in kills and blocks for the team this season, registering 13 terminations and a career-high 10 blocks. The Wolverines posted a season-high 17 blocks as a team as both teams combined for 24 total stuffs.

In the deciding fifth set, Michigan carried momentum from its victories in sets three and four to grab an early 6-2 lead on kills by Hunt and Rood. The lead was three, 8-5, as the teams switched sides and Ohio went on a 6-2 run to cut the Michigan lead to one, 11-10. The Bobcats then forced the first tie of the set at 11-11 as the teams traded points down the stretch. Tied at 13-all, Michigan used an Ohio attack error and a kill by Paz to complete the comeback win, 15-13.

The first set was one for the ages as the teams exchanged the lead nine times with 16 ties in a marathon 32-30 win for Ohio. Michigan struggled with its passing game early as Ohio ripped off four service aces in the frame. The U-M defense found its way midway through the set, forcing an OU attack error to forge a 24-all tie. From that point on, the two teams traded points until the Bobcats used back-to-back attack errors from the Wolverines to cap the set-one victory.

Ohio carried the momentum from its opening-set victory into the second frame, racing out to a 12-5 lead and forcing Michigan into a timeout. The Wolverines started to claw back, narrowing the margin to four, 13-9, and then 16-14 on a kill by Rood. Consecutive terminations from junior/sophomore Karlee Bruck (Elyria, Ohio/Elyria) and Zimmerman forced the first tie, 18-18, and a kill from Rood knotted the match again at 24-all. Ohio then scored the final two points of the set for a 26-24 win and a 2-0 set lead heading to intermission.

In set three, Michigan came out swinging, hitting .321 while holding Ohio to a .000 clip in the most lopsided frame of the night, 25-13. The U-M offense was balanced as Bruck paced the club with five kills, while Paz added four, giving Michigan life, down two sets to one.

The U-M offense stayed hot in set four, hitting .353 as Hunt tallied five kills in a 25-20 Wolverine victory. Zimmerman dished out 12 assists and Michigan used two blocks from Rood down the stretch to hold off a late rally by the Bobcats, evening the match at 2-2.

With the victory, Michigan advances to the NCAA Regional Semifinals on Friday (Dec. 11) on the campus of Stanford University against either Stanford of St. Mary's (Calif.) in Palo Alto, Calif. Opponent and game time information will be announced when it becomes available.