In its second match of the La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational at Utah Valley State, No. 24 Michigan defeated Santa Clara 3-1. Santa Clara is now 4-2 this season and Michigan moves to 5-0. Set scores were 21-25, 25-20, 15-25 and 13-25. Santa Clara will finish the tournament with a 6 pm match with Utah State Valley later today.
"Michigan does a great job of applying constant and consistent pressure on its opponent," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "Michigan served really tough and that kept us off balance and they are big and tall on top of that well. I was surprised they sustained their run as long as they did in games three and four. In game two we took advantage of our opportunities and played well. Kaleigh Durket played well in games two and three. We weren't able to set our middles as much because of our passing and their middles were really big. Our open player was Taylor Milton and she continued to play well."
"The team mentally will be ok. This is the time for our leaders to be leaders and help us. I think they understand the importance of leaving the tournament 2-1 instead of 1-2," said Wallace.
Santa Clara hit .220 with 44 kills (17 e, 123 att.). The Broncos added 46 digs, 42 assists, two service aces and six team blocks. Michigan hit .346 with 62 kills (16 e, 133 att.). The Wolverines added 54 digs, 57 assists, seven aces and five team blocks.
Individually, Santa Clara was led by Katherine Douglas' 12 kills, hitting .229 with 10 digs. Taylor picked up 11 kills, hitting .381 with three digs. Kaleigh Durket had seven kills, hitting .267. Alyssa Anderson picked up 21 assists and seven digs. Alexandra Palmer had 13 assists and seven digs. Libero Bridget O'Hara had 12 digs and five sets.
Michigan was led by four hitters with double figure kills, including Alex Hunt with 14, Claire McElheny with 15 and Sloane Donhoff and Lexi Erwin with 11 each.
Michigan won the first set 25-21. The Broncos took a 3-1 lead early on a kill by Douglas and a kill and a block solo by Tanya Schmidt. The teams tied it up three times, including 11-11, before Michigan ran out to a 16-11 lead with three Wolverine kills, an ace and a Bronco hitting error. Lommori stopped the rally with a kill and the Broncos pulled within one with a team block by Knudsen and Durket. Michigan scored three of the next four points to take a 20-17 lead before Douglas put down two kills. The Wolverines closed out the set by scoring three of the next six points. Santa Clara hit .179 with 13 kills. The Wolverines hit .289 with 16 kills.
Santa Clara won set two 25-20. The two tied it up four times before Santa Clara jumped out to a 9-5 lead on a team block by Schmidt and Douglas, two kills by Douglas and another by Durket. After Michigan rallied for a couple points, SCU moved out to an 11-8 lead on a kill by Durket. The Wolverines got within one, 14-13 Broncos, but Douglas knocked the ball down in the back row to stop the rally. Schmidt, Durket and Lommori each added kills between a kill by Michigan to put the Broncos up 20-16. After Michigan scored on a kill by Courtney Fletcher, Durket crushed the ball to the floor and a ball handling error by the Michigan setter gave the Broncos a 22-17 lead. Two straight Michigan kills by Claire McElheny and Alex Hunt made it 22-19. Timeout Santa Clara. A service error by Fletcher gave the Broncos the ball, but a kill by McElheny kept the Wolverines in the game with the Broncos up 23-20. The Broncos closed out the set with a kill by Douglas followed by a Michigan error. Santa Clara hit .394 with 15 kills. Michigan hit .243 with 15 kills.
Michigan won the third set 25-15. Michigan came out with emotion and took a quick 4-1 lead. But two straight Michigan errors and a kill by Milton knotted it up 4-4. Michigan then strung together five straight points to put the Wolverines up 9-4. Timeout Santa Clara. Two kills by Milton sandwiched between a Michigan kill and an error by the Wolverines made it 10-7 Michigan. Michigan went up 12-7 on a kill by Jennifer Cross. The teams traded points twice to make it 13-10 Michigan. Milton's two straight kills made it 13-11, but two straight Wolverine kills made it 15-11. Milton and Lommori both scored, 16-13 Michigan. The Wolverines scored nine of the next 11 points to take the set 25-15. Santa Clara hit .174 with nine kills and Michigan hit .536 with 16 kills.
Michigan won the fourth set. Tied six times in the early going and then Michigan scored four straight to take a 10-6 lead on three kills and a Bronco error. After the Broncos whistled for timeout Knudsen crushed the ball. Two Bronco errors were sandwiched between a Wolverine kill to put Michigan up 13-7. Trading points three times, Michigan went ahead 17-10 after a Santa Clara timeout. Two Bronco errors sandwiched between a Wolverine error made it 19-11 Michigan. Michigan scored four of the next six points, 23-13 Wolverines. After a Douglas kill, Lauren Teknipp crushed the matches deciding point to give the Wolverines a 25-14 set four win. Santa Clara hit .107 with seven kills and Michigan hit .367 with 15 kills.