Volleyball: UM’s Rosen sees progress as Wolverines sweep own invitational

Michigan volleyball head coach Mark Rosen summed up this weekend in simple terms.

“So far (coach knocks on the wood table), so good,” he said as the Wolverines dominated play during their two-day tournament in Ann Arbor this weekend winning all three matches and dropping just one set in the process.

The 19th ranked Wolverines opened the Michigan Invitational on Friday night with a 25-13, 25-22, 25-19 sweep of Butler as senior middle blocker Claire Kieffer-Wright led the way with 14 kills and finished the match hitting at a .632 mark while junior libero Jenna Lerg led defensively with a season-high 23 digs.

Michigan then rolled over New Hampshire in the first of two Saturday games with another sweep (25-19, 25-13, 25-18) as junior outside hitter Carly Skjodt was the only player to record double-figure kills with 10.

Michigan finished off the tournament Saturday night with a four-set (25-20, 23-25, 25-13, 25-16) victory over Green Bay.

Rosen was pleased with not only his team’s effort during the weekend but also its progress and improvement.

“These matches are different in the sense you don’t know a lot about the teams you’re playing,” he said. “It takes a little while to find the rhythm of the match. It took us about halfway through that first set (against New Hampshire) and then we started rolling. Sometimes what happens is you get rolling and then you stop again but I felt like once we got rolling we didn’t stop through the rest of the match.”

Carly Skjodt, a standout junior outside hitter, said competing out west helped prepare the Wolverines for their own tournament and hopefully beyond.

“It was exciting to see some quality competition,” said Skjodt, who started in 25 matches last year as a sophomore. “We came back with a loss which we obviously didn’t want but USC had a really quick offense that we weren’t ready for at that point. We took away things that we needed to work on and improve on and I think we have.”

Despite playing a number of different players and creating some different looks, the Wolverines were able to maintain their momentum in the game with New Hampshire.

“We made a lot of changes to the lineup and got some people in the match and that didn’t seem to slow us down at all which was good to see,” Rosen said. “In fact, we got better and better.”

Winning all three games in the Michigan Invitational was a good step for the Wolverines who now pack their bags for the Colorado State Invitational next weekend against Idaho State, Ball State and the host Rams.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be the toughest tournament we play in all year but coming off the West Coast trip, I think it served its purpose really well,” Rosen said of the Michigan Invitational. “As long as our team focuses on our team, we should be fine. We aren’t going to hand out grades on our opponent. We are going to hand out grades on what we’re doing.”

So far, the grades look good for the Wolverines. Knock on wood.

 

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