It wasn’t just reminiscent of the second-round NCAA Tournament victory over Pittsburgh. It reminded Michigan head volleyball coach Mark Rosen of a lot of the Wolverines’ games.
They came back, and strong.
But Michigan’s season came to an end Friday afternoon, in a 3-1 loss to fifth-seeded Texas in the Sweet 16. The Longhorns won, 25-10, 27-29, 29-27, 25-19.
“That’s one thing this team has a done a great job of, they’re never out of it,” Rosen said Friday night, after arriving back at the team’s hotel in Provo, Utah, not far from the BYU campus where the match was played. “Not only the Pittsburgh game, but a lot of the games played this year. They were mature enough to understand if you lose one set, it’s just one set.
“Our team fought really hard.”
Texas (23-4), the Big 12 regular-season champion, started with a bang in racing out to a 10-0 lead in the opening set.
But Michigan (24-10), which lost the opener at Pittsburgh last round before rallying to win in five sets, stormed back to win a thrilling second set.
It was the third set that, as it often does, proved most pivotal.
Michigan had things in command with a 17-12 lead, then 20-14, before Texas rallied. Still, the Wolverines’ four times faced a set point to win the match, and all four times the Longhorns survived and eventually won.
That was a crusher.
Michigan then dropped the fourth set. That was the season.
“It’s such a different position to be up 2-1 as opposed to being down 2-1,” Rosen said. “It was a little deflating. We had the lead in that one, had some control, and to have them pull it out, it was hard to come back from.
“You’re down now and your back’s against the wall, against a very good team.”
Senior Carly Skjodt led Michigan with 16 kills, freshman Paige Jones had 12 and junior Katarina Glavinic had nine. Junior Mackenzi Welsh had 40 assists, and senior Jenna Lerg (Farmington Hills Mercy) finished with 17 digs.
For Texas, which will play BYU in the Elite Eight Saturday, Micaya White had 21 kills, and Logan Eggleston had 17.