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Wolverines Rally from Two-Set Deficit to Stun Blue Devils at Crisler

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Michigan came back from trailing 2-0 to win in five sets.
Jess Mruzik set a new career high with 31 kills.
Scottee Johnson had 50 assists.
The Wolverines held the Blue Devils on a -059 batting average in the last three sets.

Website: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)
Event: ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Score: Michigan 3, Duke 2 (19-25, 21-25, 25-13, 25-12, 15-6)
Facts: UM (4-1), Duke (6-1)
Next UM event: Sunday September 12 — vs. North Carolina (Crisler Center), 1:00 PM

ANN ARBOR, I. — Sophomore Jess Mruzik‘s career-high 31 kills led the University of Michigan volleyball team past previously undefeated Duke 3-2 (19-25, 21-25, 25-13, 25-12, 15-6) to the ACC/Big Ten Starting Challenge on Friday night (September 10) at Crisler Center. Out of the gate after trailing 2-0. UM dominated the last three sets in front of a noisy crowd in the home opener.

Trailing 2-0, Michigan – with Mruzik in the lead – flipped a switch that led to domination in the last three sets. The Livonia, Michigan native had seven kills on 10 attempts with no foul in the third and followed that with nine kills on 14 attempts with just one foul in the fourth. In the end, Mruzik finished with 31 kills while hitting an excellent pre-game .509, giving up 15 digs for her second double-double of the season.

Michigan, which batted just .145 as a team in the first two sets, came back over the last three to hit .364, .294 and a robust .526. sophomore Scottee Johnson orchestrated the attack from the setter position and handed out 50 assists to go along with 12 digs.

The Wolverines made their statement early in the third, scoring five of the first six runs to force the Blue Devils into a timeout. Michigan saw its lead shrink to seven before a service run from junior May Pertofsky helped the Maize and Blue win six straight points and finish the set 25-13.

Set four followed a similar script, as Michigan took an early lead that it never gave up en route to a 25-12 win.

The deciding fifth set was another stunning performance by the Wolverines, using a 7-0 run that turned a two point lead at 6-4 into a commanding nine point lead at 13-4 en route to a win by 15-6. The comeback was the first of its kind since coming back from a 2-0 deficit against Maryland in 2016.

Michigan also found a new gear defensively after the first two sets. Duke hit .297 in the first two sets to build his early lead, but the Wolverines held the Blue Devils to -.059 in the final three sets. freshman Jacque Boney led UM with six total blocks (1 solo block, five block assistants) and junior Jess Robinson and Pertofsky added five and four block assists, respectively.

Ultimately, Michigan Duke outhits .265 to .095, holding more blocks (12.5-8) and more aces (8-3). The Wolverines also had more assists (63-35) and counts (74-64).

Michigan ends the ACC/Big Ten Challenge by playing the other half of the Tobacco Road rivalry, against North Carolina on Sunday (Sept. 12) at 1:00 PM at Crisler Center. The match will be streamed live on Big Ten Network+.

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