By Seth J. Walker
Ann Arbor, Michigan- The Michigan Wolverines (7-0) beat the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (3-4) in a three set sweep (25-12, 25-16, 25-15) Friday afternoon in the first match of the Michigan Challenge. The win gives Wolverines head coach Mark Rosen his 600th of his career.
Rosen wasn’t even aware of the milestone until earlier in the day, but acknowledged his wife, and associate head coach, Leisa, as being part most of those win, around four or five hundred plus of those wins according to him.
“Leisa doesn’t get the recognition that she should,” Rosen said. “She’s got a lot of wins too.”
The box score for this one can be a bit deceiving as the Golden Grizzlies put up a tough battle for much of the second and third sets before Wolverines eventually pulled away both times.
“I thought it was as a really good win,” redshirt junior middle blocker, Cori Crocker said. “We definitely kept our level of play and we didn’t drop down to theirs. So I’m really proud of the way we came out and took care of business.”
The Wolverines remain undefeated this season, including a 5-0 record at home. They have yet to even lose a single set on their home court.
Freshman outside hitter, Paige Jones led all attackers with 12 kills, while senior outside hitter, Carly Skjodt had 11 kills and 10 digs. Crocker had five blocks to go along with her five kills. Senior libero, Jenna Lerg led the way defensively with 11 digs.
Skjodt, one of the captains, to Michigan along with Crocker, Lerg and senior setter, Maddy Abbott. The four of them have experienced an NCAA Tournament appearance in each of their first three years in Ann Arbor, and now look to make it four straight.
“It’s been awesome, playing with Cori, but also our class in general,” Skjodt said. “Cori and I our similar in terms of competition. We really love getting after it, but our whole class has really been able to work together throughout all four years.”
In Crocker’s case, since she’s a redshirt junior, she would have the chance technically go five for five in NCAA Tournament appearances next year if the Wolverines make it this year.
“It’s definitely crazy, I mean being a senior, redshirt junior, I mean,” Crocker said. “It kind of gives me this really bittersweet opportunity to be able to watch the class that I came in with graduate, and really be grateful I should and that I am to have another year to play. But at the same time, it really sucks, because I came in with these guys and I think over the years, our relationship has definitely gotten stronger and stronger, especially peaking now that we’re all seniors. It’s kind of surreal to think about being here competing at this university without Carly Skjodt blocking with me, Jenna Lerg being a little ninja in the back row and Maddy cheering us on.”
Senior outside hitter, Aleksandra Malek led the Golden Grizzlies with eight kills while sophomore libero, Lindsay Wightman had 11 digs.
The Wolverines then hosted their next opponent of the Michigan challenge, LSU, later that night. Scores and stats for that will be provided in the next Volleyball Scoreboard. The Golden Grizzlies hosted Colorado State that night. There will be a separate game story for that match.