Oct. 13, 2012
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Cliff Keen Arena)
Score: (rv) Michigan 3, Northwestern 0
Records: NU (13-6, 2-6 Big Ten), Michigan (16-6, 4-4 conference)
Next NU Event: Wednesday, Oct. 17 -- at No. 22 Illinois (Champaign, Ill.), 7 p.m. CT
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Northwestern was unable to extend its road winning streak to three matches as it fell to the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Mich. Saturday night, 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-22).
Savannah Paffen posted a career-high 13 kills and the best attacking percentage of her career at .706 (13 kills-1 error-17 attempts), while Stephanie Holthus added 12 kills and 11 digs, but it was not enough to take down Michigan on this night.
"Credit goes to Michigan for playing a smart all-around match tonight," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "We did not do a good job of maintaining our energy and confidence throughout the entire night and they certainly did. We'll get back in the gym and continue to work on the mental aspect of the game and prepare for another important match against Illinois this week."
Neither team maintained a lead larger than three points during the opening set, but the Wolverines won a crucial joust and forced the Wildcats to scramble at the end; Northwestern was unable to put the ball over the net in an allowable fashion and Michigan grabbed a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-23 victory in set one.
Holthus led her team with five kills and five digs in the first set, while fifth-year senior Madalyn Shalter
handed out 13 assists.
The Wildcats came out unaffected by the deficit as the two teams opened play in the second set. NU, with the help of a pair of blocks by sophomore Yewande Akanbi, opened a 9-5 advantage early in game.
Coming out of a timeout, Michigan constructed a quick 7-3 run to tie the set at 12 points apiece. After nabbing a 13-12 lead on an ace by Kelly Murphy, the Wolverines would never trail again in the second set en route to a 25-18 triumph and a 2-0 lead for the match.
Michigan took an early 8-5 lead in the third set, but the Wildcats put together a lengthy 7-1 run, punctuated by a kill from Paffen to secure a 12-9 lead. The Wolverines would come back to tie the score at 16-16 and again at 18 points apiece. The back-and-forth nature continued and Paffen earned another kill to tie the score at 21-21.
Northwestern gave up two quick points and Chan called a timeout to try to rally his group one last time. The Wildcats were able to get a quick kill from Holthus to pull to within one, but the home team claimed the final two points necessary to win the frame, 25-22.
NU had nine more digs and three more kills than their opponents in the match, but Michigan limited itself to only 10 attacking errors, which ultimately helped make the difference.
Northwestern's three-match road trip concludes Wednesday, Oct. 17 with a trip to Huff Hall to take on instate rival Illinois at 7 p.m. The Wildcats will return to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Sunday, Oct. 21 for the only match of the season against the Iowa Hawkeyes. That contest will be televised live at 2 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
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