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Posted on Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

Michigan volleyball team advances to Final Four for first time in program history

By Pete Cunningham


The Michigan women's volleyball team celebrates after winning its first ever regional championship on Sunday at the Haas Pavilion in California.

Associated Press

The Michigan women’s volleyball team's historic postseason run reached new heights on Sunday as the Wolverines defeated Stanford and advanced to their first ever NCAA Final Four.

The unranked Wolverines upset the No. 2 Cardinal 3-1 on Sunday at the University of California Berkeley’s Haas Pavilion. Michigan dropped the opening set 25-20, but won the next three straight by the exact same score to claim the Berkeley Regional title.


Michigan's Lexi Erwin, above, had 23 kills against Stanford and was named tournament MVP.

Associated Press

The win marks the first regional championship in program history for Michigan and is the third time Michigan has eliminated a top-six ranked Stanford team from the NCAA tournament in the past six years. Michigan will play No. 3 Texas Thursday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. (7 p.m., ESPN2).

Junior outside hitter Lexi Erwin led Michigan with 23 kills and 16 digs. Erwin also led Michigan in its regional semifinal win over Michigan State on Friday night with 17 kills and was named MVP of the tournament.

“It is so exciting. The energy in the locker room after the game was insane,” Erwin said after the game. “No matter what teams throw at us, 14 people are coming at them.”

The Big Ten had four teams advance to regional finals and will send two to the Final Four after top-ranked Penn State defeated Minnesota for a regional title on Saturday in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions play No. 6 Oregon on Thursday (9:30 p.m., ESPN2), who beat Nebraska on Saturday.

Michigan is the only unranked team in the Final Four.

“This is a group that’s really come together in the last month and a half and become one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of,” said Michigan head coach Mark Rosen.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for Contact him at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Detroit News continues to cover this historic event:


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

It is now two days since this weak report was first posted. There has been no further coverage, no feature on the UofM VB team, none on the UofM women's BB team, etc. needs to recognize that its Sports Editor and sports writers do not give even minimally adequate (let alone equal) coverage to women's sports--neither high school nor college, regardless of the various teams' successes and recognition at regional and national levels. This is not new, nor is it acceptable in the news community of a major university. It needs to be rectified. Perhaps an editor with a broader, fairer focus and less obvious gender bias is called for.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

I don't think you should be fired, Pete. But your response shows a lack of understanding of why sports coverage is important. The UM/EMU women's basketball game is not important. There are no bragging rights. EMU is often decent, so it's often a competitive game, but in the sports world Michigan cares mostly about the Big Ten and EMU cares mostly about the MAC. It's just another pre-season game and the attendance usually reflects that. What the volleyball team has done is unusual. I'm not saying you should have sent someone to California - that would be ridiculous. But someone should have contacted the coach before leaving to establish a contact point, and stayed up late watching the matches on television. I'm glad you're finally recognizing that it is worth a feature story.

Pete Cunningham

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Here is an article just posted about today's women's basketball game between EMU and UM: We will be covering that game as well as many high school girls basketball games tonight (as well as the boys action and Michigan men's basketball, too). There is also a story on the volleyball team in the works. If you think I should be fired, I guess that's your right.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 9:18 a.m.

This blog was created, essentially, by The Ann Arbor News. Which at one point was an award-winning newspaper, but had been run into the ground by poor leadership. We then became the largest metropolitan area in the country without a daily newspaper. Those with real newspaper skills have since left, and, as you can see from the fact that the roster changes almost daily, the blog is in bad shape. Times are tough for newspapers, no doubt about it. But we in the Ann Arbor area are particularly underserved, and I hope that someone finds a way to hit this market properly. In the meantime, it really isn't that much to expect the sports department to regularly take the pulse of the local athletic teams. You build community through sports coverage. It doesn't have to be hard-hitting. The obsession with Fitz Toussaint's driving problems and Dave Brandon's decision to cut ties with a local company takes up resources that could easily be used on stories like this one. This was a freebie, sitting up there to be knocked out of the park by a sports editor who was simply paying attention. It's a fantastic story because no one expected these women to develop so quickly, and the genuine joy everyone expressed Saturday night in California was something that could and should have been front-page stuff. Stop trying to create the news, and let the news come through understanding your community.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

When will commenters here face the fact that this is not a major metropolitan print and digital newspaper? This isn't the NY Times, or the W.S. Journal, or the Freep or Det. News, or any other such former giant that has a large, paid staff that digs for news? If you want to read them, please subscribe to them or hit the library. This is a local news outlet without those resources. I appreciate the writers for sharing items of local interest, and if I want to read more about an article, I simply click and go there and read it. I can't imagine that it helps improve the articles here for people to keep slamming and its writers for not being one of those other big news sources. They aren't. Get it? They are not, and they don't pretend to be. I really appreciate for filling the niche, to the extent that the situation allows, that was left by the demise of the Ann Arbor News. Please keep up the good work.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Disappointed to say the least!!!! We hear about football everyday of the week. These amazing role models get a little tiny corner written about them and they accomplished something so great they deserve more then a tiny corner. This should be making headlines. These girls are academic all Americans, role models to little girls, they volunteer there time to visit sick kids in Mott, my daughter being one of them. So GIRLS ILL SHOUT IT YOU ARE ALL AMAZING< AND I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!! COACHES GREAT JOB!!!


Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

Wow, even if you click on the "Sports" link, the story doesn't show up.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

Awesome! GO BLUE!!!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Volleyball Magazine story on husband/wife coaching teams features Michigan's Mark and Leisa Rosen, who have been building the Michigan program for 14 years:


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

I have been a UM volleyball booster for 12 years and have VERY much enjoyed watching the team. It's a wonderful performance of athleticism and teamwork. should have provided much more coverage of this historic event: unranked Michigan beat #2 ranked Stanford to advance to the NCAA Final Four. FANTASTIC!!! It's like going to the Rose Bowl. Congratulations to the coaches and players. To reach this level of accomplishment requires tremendous effort. Just competing in the Big Ten is tough: 7 Big Ten teams made it into the 64 NCAA division 1 championship bracket positions. If you had followed UM volleyball like I have you would have witnessed how the program has progressed. All those players over all those years working hard to advance the team and this year reaching a historic best. AWESOME!!!

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

Not only that, the Big Ten was 13-1 in the tournament until the teams started playing each other in the last two rounds.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

BTW, I endorse Veracity's comment in general. coverage of UofM women's sports is appalling--great new BBall coach and program--nothing! Volleyball? Nothing! Soccer, swimming, field hockey, nothing! Only softball seems to even be mentioned, and then only because they are perennially ranked. Get with it!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Congrats to team and Coach Rosen. Have watched the program grow under his leadership, but was not sure it would ever reach this level. Well done and GO BLUE, beat UT!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Detroit Free Press has much better coverage: ESPN's summary of the match: Match highlights from NCAA: It is also possible to watch a replay of the match on Go here, then scroll down the list to NCAA Women's Volleyball, Michigan vs #2 Stanford


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

University of Michigan women's volleyball is exciting and addictive to watch. I've been a loyal fan for 12 years. Congratulations to the team and coaches on this tremendous accomplishment. There are 329 Division 1 women's volleyball teams and Michigan's has climbed to the top of the NCAA tournament... as an underdog.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

What a David versus Goliath story for the females! By the way, the paucity of coverage at of UofM's women's sports is appalling. If you visit enough you would think that UofM has no female sports teams. A shame!!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Completely agree. I get so tired of the home page showing football and men's basketball ad nauseum. Even the most trivial men's event get headlines.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Wow!! This is huge news for the whole university and community. I had no idea they had gone that far. Will definitely be watching on Thursday. Go Blue!!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Mr. Cunningham... This is a very weak effort in relation to the accomplishment it reports... You, as Sports Director, should have been in attendance, or some representative should have been covering this historic event. There wasn't even any coverage of this team making the Sweet 16...very weak. Heck, you could have gained more by watching the match - YES! it was on TV! Go Blue! Conquer on and don't plan on any accurate coverage...that's for sure...


Wed, Dec 12, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

Detroit News continue to cover this historic event: Also, coach Mark Rosen has been a guest this week on two radio show, discussing his team's success: ESPN Detroit 1090 AM (great interview) and WTKA 1050 AM (sorry I missed it. And, of course, there is the Michigan Daily article:


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

Detroit Free Press has much better coverage: ESPN's summary of the match: Match highlights from NCAA: It is also possible to watch a replay of the match on (if your cable provider gives access). Go here, then scroll down the list to NCAA Women's Volleyball, Michigan vs #2 Stanford

Heidi Koester

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Awesome! They have got Stanford's number, somehow. Have to credit Coach Rosen and staff for a lot of that, plus of course the players for executing when it counts the most! Wish we could have seen it in person; it is amazing to watch this team play live. At least there's a nice highlights segment on Go get 'em and hook those horns on Tuesday!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

Stanford's women's volleyball team has the best NCAA tournament record in NCAA history. Michigan has managed to beat them in the tournament 3 out of the last 4 years. This year's defeat of Stanford was in the elite eight round... the highest- level victory Michigan has ever achieved in the tournament. And Michigan had the most difficult path in the tournament to reach the final four, defeating Tennessee, #10 Louisville, Michigan State (who had beaten #7 UCLA), and #2 Stanford. Here is the page with more info on the win, including the highlights video:


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 8:51 a.m.

Good for them! Go Blue!

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 5:32 a.m.

The youngsters have really come together late this season. Wasn't even a month ago they didn't look like they'd even get invited to the tournament. Great job from Rosen, who lost a lot of talent to graduation.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

I agree. Around the first of November I wasn't confident that they would even make the NCAA tournament. Now they are in the final four. WOW!

Steven Murphy

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 4:25 a.m.

Good for them and Go Blue!


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 4:02 a.m.

It took 21 hours to post this?? And there's not much to it at that. And for the record, it wasn't on Sunday - it was Saturday (out in California). So technically they won in the wee hours of Sunday morning but maybe saying Sunday makes look more timely. Even the Detroit papers had this story this morning. Nice job.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

"...the third time Michigan has eliminated a top-six ranked Stanford team from the NCAA tournament in the past six years." Besides mentioning Erwin's MVP, this is the only other mention of the word tournament in the entire article. Therefore, the assumption could easily be made that Erwin was named NCAA tournament MVP.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

Detroit Free Press has much better coverage: ESPN's summary of the match: Match highlights from NCAA: It is also possible to watch a replay of the match on (if your cable provider gives access). Go here, then scroll down the list to NCAA Women's Volleyball, Michigan vs #2 Stanford

Pete Cunningham

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Yes, Erwin was MVP of the regional tournament, which is part of the NCAA tournament.


Mon, Dec 10, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

My thoughts exactly (see my comment on the Purdue/EMU story). Also Erwin was not named MVP of the NCAA tournament, just the Berkley regional