Nov. 10, 2013
No. 17 Michigan 3, Northwestern 1
Welsh-Ryan Arena Evanston, Ill. Attendance: 1,097
Box Score | Box Score
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern largely controlled the net on the defensive side Sunday afternoon, but the Wildcats could not score enough points offensively as they fell to No. 17 Michigan at Welsh-Ryan Arena, 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21).
The Wildcats garnered 14 blocks in the four-set match, while the Wolverines mustered only four. It was just the sixth time this season that Northwestern posted double figures in the blocking column, and 14 blocks tied for the second-highest output of the season. Individually, redshirt sophomore Maggie Burnham had a career-best eight blocks for the 'Cats, while Katie Dutchman posted a season-high eight stuffs, as well.
"Overall I thought that [Michigan] played better than we did to start the match and then we performed better than they did in the second," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "Both the third and fourth sets came down to a handful of critical points late, and in both cases, we weren't able to deliver in those moments.
"We obviously would have liked to get two better results at home this weekend, but we have two more opportunities to improve on that next weekend so that we can do a better job of protecting our house," added Chan.
Northwestern and Michigan traded punches to open the match. After falling behind by as many as three points (10-7), the 'Cats orchestrated a quick 4-1 run to knot the score at 11 points apiece. U-M's Jennifer Cross scored on the following play and the visitors would never trail from that point forward in the opening frame. NU, despite a match-high eight kills in the first set from Stephanie Holthus, fell 25-19.
With freshman Kayla Morin serving, Northwestern scored the first three points in the second stanza, but the Wolverines quickly rallied back to tie the score at 4-4. Later on the ledger was even at 19-all when the Wildcats began to edge ahead. In fact, Chicago's Big Ten Team closed the frame on a 6-0 run to win, 25-19, and even the match at a set apiece.
Morin was serving, once again for NU, as it closed out the second set. The newcomer fired off two aces during the surge, while Dutchman added a kill and a block (with Burnham) before Hotlhus sealed the deal with her 14th kill of the match to that point.
Michigan got off to an 8-3 start after the intermission, prompting Chan to use an early timeout. The Wolverines' lead soon blossomed to eight points at 15-7 and Chan signaled for another stoppage in play. The 'Cats used a 6-2 push that included two kills by Morin and one each for Holthus and Dutchman to pull within three points, 17-14. Later back-to-back terminations from Morin had the home team within two points, but that was as close as it would come with Michigan winning the third set, 25-20, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth, and ultimately final set, saw the teams exchange runs once again. Northwestern led early on, 5-3, after a kill from Savannah Paffen, but an 8-2 U-M run put it ahead, 11-7. Northwestern scored nine of the next 14 tallies to even the score once again, 16-16. Unfortunately Northwestern was unable to claw all the way back to regain the lead as it dropped the frame, 25-21, and the match, 3-1.
Holthus led all players with 23 kills Sunday. The match against Michigan marked the sixth time this season that the Elgin, Ill., native buried 20-or-more kills in a match. The captain hit .327 against the Wolverines and added eight digs and a pair of blocks.
Dutchman added 12 kills for the Wildcats and Morin chipped in with 10. Northwestern libero Caroline Niedospial has 22 digs against the relentless Michigan attack, marking the 10th time this season and the sixth time in nine matches that she has dug 20-or-more balls for the Wildcats.
Freshman setter Caleigh Ryan continued to be a steadying influence for Northwestern. Ryan, who hails from nearby Glen Ellyn, Ill., handed out 47 assists and added 12 digs to record her second double-double of the weekend and the 10th of her young career.
The homestand continues on Friday, Nov. 15 when the 14th-ranked Purdue Boilermakers roll into Welsh-Ryan Arena at 7 p.m. The 'Cats toppled the Boilermakers in five thrilling sets in the first meeting between the two programs on Oct. 12 in West Lafayette, Ind.
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