Ann Arbor, Michigan- Teams always want to beat their arch rivals. It means even more when their arch rivals are ranked higher than them. That’s what the Michigan Wolverines (18-11, 8-9 Big Ten) did when they beat the eighth-ranked Michigan State Spartans (19-7, 12-5 Big Ten) Wednesday night in three sets (25-20, 29-27, 25-23). Each match may had been an absolute battle, but the Wolverines ability to get the sweep against the Spartans secured more than bragging rights for them.
“It’s awesome,” Wolverine junior outside hitter Carly Skjodt said. “A sweep is even better. We have state flag that coach loves. Who ever wins the state game every year by less games, so we swept them, they beat us in four, so we get to keep the flag for another year.”
Skjodt led the Wolverines with 17 kills and 12 digs. Junior libero Jenna Lerg also had 12 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Sydney Wetterstrom had 15 kills. The home court advantage played a huge factor for the Wolverines who are now 12-3 in combined matches at the Cliff Keen Arena and Chrisler Center.
“We were definitely excited when we heard it was a sold out crowd,” Skjodt said. “The energy in the gym was good for us.”
The Wolverines are still very much alive in terms of their chances for reaching the NCAA Tournament, as they now prepare for a home and home series against Purdue and then a road match against Indiana to finish the regular season.
“We’ve always talked about within our program is that the goal is to play our best volleyball of the season,” Wolverines head coach Mark Rosen said. “That’s when stuff really happens. It’s taken us some time this year. There’s no question, but I like that fact that our players are working at it, put away at it and still grinding to get to that point to where we’re playing our best volleyball.”
The Wolverines will face Purdue at the Cliff Keen Arena Saturday at 7pm for Senior Day.