#12 Michigan Rallies From Behind to Defeat #19 Oregon in Round 1

  0 Kaitlynn Bianconi | December 03rd, 2016 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12


No. 12 Michigan Wolverines came from behind to defeat No. 19 Oregon Ducks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolverines will advance to the second round of the tournament to face off against Creighton in the Sweet 16.

Oregon jumped to an early lead in the first set, but Michigan tied it up. After falling in the first set 22-25, Michigan rallied to win the next three straight sets.

Claire Kieffer-Wright led the team with a career-high 20 kills, and five Wolverines tallied 5 or more kills. Jenna Lerg led the team for the sixth match in a row with 12 digs.

Michigan’s next match will take place next weekend on Dec. 9 or 10.


Courtesy of Michigan Athletics

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Trailing 1-0 after the first set with the season on the line, the No. 12-seeded University of Michigan volleyball team came from behind to pull off a gritty 3-1 win over Oregon (22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17) on Friday evening (Dec. 2) inside Crisler Center. The Wolverines will now advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament and face off against Creighton.

Oregon jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in set one, before U-M used a monster double-block from freshman MacKenzi Welsh and junior Claire Kieffer-Wright to tie the score at 3-all. From there, the teams played nearly point for point until Michigan used a 4-0 run to gain a two-point lead at 9-7. Oregon tied the set at 14-all on a three-point rally, and despite trailing by just one point at 23-22, Michigan dropped the first set by a 25-22 score.

Down by one set in the match, Michigan used an aggressive 9-1 run to jump out to a 12-4 lead in the second set. The closest Oregon got was within four, at 21-17, but five kills on five swings from Kieffer-Wright and a .481 team attack percentage allowed the Wolverines to tie the match at 1-1 with a 25-17 second-set victory.

Michigan took the first point in set three, but the Ducks quickly responded and after a short back-and-forth spurt, Oregon took its largest lead of the set at 12-8. Thanks to a serving run from sophomore Jenna Lerg, however, the Wolverines rebounded with a 3-0 run to close the gap. From there, Oregon hoped to slip away again, but Michigan refused to bow down, tying the game again at 16-all. A powerful swing from senior Abby Cole then evened the score at 19, and the score was knotted three more times, before Michigan strung together back-to-back points to take the set, 25-23.

With the 2-1 set advantage, Michigan fell under an aggressive offensive attack from the Ducks early on as Oregon rallied for four straight points, before the Wolverines got on the scoreboard. After falling behind, 6-2, U-M used kills from redshirt senior Kelly Murphy, Welsh and Kieffer-Wright to battle back to tie the score 6-all. The Maize and Blue then garnered a three-point lead. The Ducks threatened later, coming within two at 18-16, before a block from sophomore Carly Skjodt shut them down, as 13 kills on just two errors propelled Michigan to a 25-17 fourth-set win.

Michigan has come from behind three other times this season after dropping the first set, including a four-set win over Illinois (Nov. 4).

Five Michigan players registered five-plus kills on the night for an impressive .344 team kill percentage. Leading the charge with double-figure kills was Kieffer-Wright, who tallied a career-high 20, while Cole added 11. Skjodt (9), Murphy (8) and freshman Cori Crocker (7) added their kills to the mix. Guiding the Wolverine offense to success was freshman setter Welsh, who totaled 43 assists in the victory.

For the sixth-straight match, Lerg led the Wolverines defensively, recording 12 digs. Murphy also added 11 for her fifth career double-double. From the net, Kieffer-Wright led Michigan in blocks, totaling seven, while Crocker added six, and Cole and Skjodt recorded four apiece.

With the victory, Michigan will advance to the Sweet Sixteen round for the first time since 2012 and the fifth time in program history. The Wolverines continue their NCAA Tournament run on Dec. 9 or 10, when they will face Creighton. The location of the match is still to be determined, as the highest seed remaining in the Texas region will host.


Courtesy of Oregon Athletics

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Oregon volleyball team saw its season and NCAA tournament run come to an end in the second round with a tough four-set loss to No. 12 Michigan, 22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17, on Friday night at Crisler Arena.

“I’m incredibly proud of these kids,” head coach Jim Moore said of his team, specifically seniors Amanda Benson and Kacey Nady. “These guys hung in there, they hung in with me and they hung in with this program. They brought us back on track. When this team is in the finals again, these guys are going to be the reason.”

The Ducks close their season at 21-10 after finishing fourth in the Pac-12 (13-7) and earning an at-large bid in the tournament.

How It Happened: In a tightly played opening set, the Ducks were able to build some separation after an 18-18 tie with a kill from Ronika Stone and a Lindsey Vander Weide ace forcing a Michigan (24-10) timeout. The Wolverines got back within one, 22-21, but the Ducks responded with three points in four rallies to take the first set, 25-22.

Michigan controlled the second set from the first serve, building a 12-5 lead and forcing the Ducks to burn both timeouts early. Oregon clawed back and got as close as four points at 21-17 before the Wolverines finished off the set, 25-17, to even the match at the break.

The third set was another back-and-forth affair, with the two teams playing to a 19-19 tie. The Ducks started to build some momentum with two straight points to go up 22-20 and later led 23-22, but the Wolverines ripped off three straight to squeak out a 25-23 win and go up 2-1 in Ann Arbor.

The Ducks got out to a hot start in the fourth, taking a 6-2 lead before Michigan responded with six in a row to take a two-point lead. The Wolverines extended their lead to 17-13 and the Ducks hung in over the next few rallies to stay within four, 21-17, but two Michigan kills and two aces ended the match and the year for Oregon.

Who Stood Out:  Stone was capped a tremendous final run to the season with another stellar performance, leading the Ducks with a career-high 17 kills while hitting .536. Junior Taylor Agost added 10 kills while Vander Weide put down eight, and setters Maggie Scott and August Raskie combined for 43 assists. Seniors Benson and Nady saw their Oregon careers come to an end, with Benson tallying 11 digs and Nady putting down six kills (.364) while leading the Ducks with five blocks.

Benson Closes Storied Career: The life-blood of the Oregon defense for the last four years, Benson finished her impressive career second in Oregon history in digs per set at 4.63 and total digs with 2,146, just 53 shy of the all-time record. The senior from Litchfield Park, Ariz. racked up a career-high 575 digs, good for third in program history, in her final season while earning her first all-Pac-12 selection, and her 4.91 digs per set are fourth in UO single-season history.

Notable: Nady finished her Oregon career fifth all-time with a .315 career hitting percentage … Stone ended the year tied for the second-highest single-season hitting percentage in program history at .374 … Stone’s 17 kills marked her sixth-straight match with double-digit kills, giving her an impressive 3.65 kills per set while hitting .447 over that stretch … The Ducks lost for only the third time in 20 matches this season after winning the first set.

Jim Moore, Head Coach
“Unfortunately I knew in the middle of the third set that whoever won that third set was going to win the match; it just felt like one of those matches and it happens every once in awhile. It’s really hard to recover emotionally from a set like that and bounce back emotionally if you’re down.”

“That was just a knockdown, drag-out fight and unfortunately it turned their way.”

Lindsey Vander Weide, Sophomore Outside Hitter
“We were really excited for this match and I thought we came out with a ton of energy. Obviously winning the first set was great. Obviously this is a really tough loss, but I think we came out great which is something I’m really proud of us for.”

Amanda Benson, Senior Libero
“We came out and I thought we were ready. Obviously when you’re playing against a good team there’s going to be changes of momentum, side to side, and that’s what we saw tonight. We handled some things well but didn’t handle other things well, but it was fun and I thought we were ready.”

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