Michigan volleyball team prepares for Sweet 16 match against Florida
After knocking off No. 6-ranked Stanford on its home court, Michigan volleyball players know they can compete against anybody. They also know the games are only going to get tougher as they try to reach the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.
“From here on out, you can rest assured that every team is solid,” said senior libero Sloane Donhoff. “We’ve seen that sort of competition all season. We were prepared to play (Stanford).”
The Wolverines are set to play No. 17-ranked Florida on the road on at 7 p.m. Friday. Senior outside hitter Alex Hunt knows they must stay on their game if they want to advance.
“You can’t overlook one opponent,” Hunt said. “Our coaching staff keeps us focused on that.”
If Michigan does get by Florida, either Illinois or Ohio State will be waiting in the elite eight.
“It would be a big challenge,” said Michigan coach Mark Rosen about facing a Big Ten rival. “We’re very familiar with those teams.”
Of the four teams left in the bracket, Rosen feels that any one is good enough to advance to the Final Four in San Antonio. With that in mind, Rosen has continued to work on limiting unforced errors.
“It’s something we identified a month and a half ago,” said Rosen. “We’re never going to eliminate them, but we want to be within a threshold.”
“We’ve been managing our errors, because every point matters,” Donhoff said.
The players feel that they’re playing their best volleyball of the season thanks in large part to getting everyone healthy and on the court at the same time.
“We’ve been struggling getting everyone going at the same time,” said Hunt, who has battled injuries all season.
Michigan wrestlers finishes second at Cliff Keen Invitational
Led by sophomore Eric Grajales, the U-M wrestling team finished second in the Cliff Keen Invitational held in Las Vegas last weekend. Head coach Joe McFarland thought the tournament was a good measuring stick for his program before starting the Big Ten season this weekend.
“I think there’s no question we have a solid team. We’re pushing our guys to wrestle complete matches,” McFarland said. “We’re excited about the quality of guys in our program.”
Michigan scored 116 points at the two-day tournament, 13 points behind Ohio State.
Garjales won the 149-pound bracket, his first tournament title as a Wolverine and is 9-2 this season.
“Eric did a great job out there. That was obviously his best performance of the year, and the final match was his best match of the year,” McFarland said. “There’s no question, he’s going to be an outstanding wrestler for us.”
The Wolverines struggled Friday and put themselves in a hole heading into the second day.
“We faltered a little bit, but we rebounded well on Saturday,” said McFarland.
McFarland said thinks that by struggling early, it will help refocus the team. Especially for reigning national champion Kellen Russell. The defending 141-pound champ lost a quarterfinal match on Friday, but won four straight matches to finish third.
“I was very proud with how he responded. No one ever wants to lose especially someone with Kellen’s credentials. But sometimes there’s a silver lining,” McFarland said.
The Wolverines face Wisconsin on Sunday when they open Big Ten competition at Cliff Keen Arena.
Eastern Michigan men’s swim and dive wins
For the 15th consecutive season, the EMU men’s swim and dive team won the EMU Invitational.
The Eagles scored 923.5 points to top the field. Oakland University was second with a score of 917.5. EMU is off until Jan. 13 when it resumes competition at Xavier.
Jaeger captures swimmer of the week again
For the second time in the young season, Michigan swimmer Connor Jaeger has been named the Big Ten Swimmer of the Week. Jaeger was the winner of two individual titles and was part of a winning relay team.
Jaeger won the 500-yard freestyle and 1650-yard freestyle and set two pool records in Iowa. His time of 4:15.94 in the 500-yard freestyle is the top time in the Big Ten this year and is second in the nation.
This was the second time this season and second time in his career that Jaeger has won the award.
Upcoming home schedule:
Eastern Michigan women’s basketball - 7 p.m. vs. Missouri-Kansas City at Convocation Center
Michigan hockey - 7:35 pm vs. Michigan State at Yost Ice Arena
Eastern Michigan women’s basketball - 2 p.m. vs. Michigan at Convocation Center
Michigan wrestling - 2 p.m. vs. Wisconsin at Cliff Keen Arena
Michigan men’s basketball - 7 p.m. vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Crisler Arena