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Michigan Athletics | November 2, 2019

Michigan jumps ahead early to upset No. 19 Illinois

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Michigan (14-7, 7-4 B1G) volleyball team captured the first two sets and rode the early advantage to a convincing 3-1 victory (25-22, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18) over No. 19 Illinois (10-10, 5-6 B1G) on Friday night (Nov. 1) at Huff Hall. Four Wolverines finished with double-digit kills to lead the charge.

What you need to know

  • Michigan won the first two sets to lead the Wolverines past No. 19 Illinois, 3-1, in Champaign.
  • The win was U-M's first over a ranked opponent this season.
  • Michigan got a match-high 21 digs from Natalie Smith.
  • Paige Jones registered a double-double of 15 kills and 12 digs; Sydney Wetterstrom and May Pertofsky each had 13 kills.

The win pushed Michigan's record to 14-7 overall and 7-4 in the Big Ten. The victory over Illinois marked the Wolverines' first over a top-25 opponent this season and was their first win at Huff Hall since Nov. 10, 2007.

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Individually, sophomore Paige Jones had 15 kills and 12 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. Senior Sydney Wetterstrom and freshman May Pertofsky each added 13 kills, while fellow freshman Jess Robinson notched 11 to pace the Wolverine attack. The last time four U-M players had double-digit kills was 2017.

Junior Natalie Smith had a match-high 21 digs to help out defensively, while senior MacKenzi Welsh had 46 assists, six kills and six digs.

Michigan controlled the game thanks to a strong offense, hitting .333 as a team and topping out with a .382 attack percentage in the decisive fourth set. The Wolverines outhit the Illini, .333 to 236, and also held the edge in total blocks (5-3) and digs (53-51).

The Wolverines took early control of the match in the first set, as they grabbed the lead at 6-5 and held it the rest of the way to win, 25-22. Michigan then took the second set, 25-23, when it used a 5-0 run with the score tied at 16 to help put U-M ahead, 2-0, in the match.

Illinois staved off a sweep with a 25-21 set-three win that featured nine lead changes and nine ties.

U-M responded by taking the final set, 25-18. The Wolverines never trailed and used another 5-0 run, this time with the score tied at 12, to pull off the upset victory.

The Wolverines will wrap up their tour of the Land of Lincoln with a match at Northwestern on Saturday (Nov. 2) at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. CDT and will be streamed live on BTN Plus.

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