The West Virginia University volleyball team swept No. 23 Michigan in the first match of the Navy Tournament on Friday afternoon, at the Wesley A. Brown Field House, in Annapolis, Maryland. The Mountaineers (4-0) beat No. 23-ranked Wolverines (2-1) in set scores of 25-21, 25-19 and 25-18.
The Mountaineers and Wolverines met for the third time in program history on Friday. In their last meeting, West Virginia fell to Michigan, on Aug. 29, 2015, at the Michigan Invitational. After tonight’s win, WVU holds a 2-1 all-time series record over U-M.
“I’m proud of how our team played today,” said head coach Reed Sunahara. “It’s still early in the season, but it was a big win.”
After tonight’s win, Sunahara tallied his 400th career win. Currently in his seventh season at WVU, the Hilo, Hawaii native, has coached at Toledo, Cincinnati and Buffalo, before being named West Virginia’s head coach in 2015.
“Many of the players that I coached in the past contributed to that total,” said Sunahara. “I want to thank all the former and current players. It wouldn’t have been possible without them. Hopefully, there are a few more games we can win.”
Senior outside hitters Kristin Lux and Natali Petrova led the squad with 12 kills apiece against Michigan. Lux matched her season-high and tallied a season-high four blocks.
Fifth year middle blocker Briana Lynch recorded a season-high seven blocks, while senior defensive specialist Alexa Hasting recorded 18 digs. Senior setter Lacey Zerwas recorded a match-high 38 assists.
The Mountaineers posted 45 kills for a .278 hitting efficiency, along with 10 team blocks in the win. The Wolverines had 29 kills for a .119 hitting efficiency and seven team blocks. Of note, Paige Jones led Michigan’s offense with 15 kills.
Michigan opened the set with a service ace, but West Virginia struck back with a kill from Petrova, and a service ace of their own, from fifth year setter Adrian Ell. After alternating points, WVU took a 12-9 lead after Petrova recorded a service ace. The Wolverines came back and tied the game 13-13, but the Mountaineers went on a 3-0 run to put the score at 16-14.
After alternating points in the middle of the set, WVU took a 21-18 lead with a block assist from Lux and Lynch. With a West Virginia set point, Michigan gained a point off a service error, but Lux dished out a kill and WVU took the first set 25-21.
WVU used a 4-0 scoring streak to take an early 8-3 lead in the second set. After alternating points, Michigan came back within one point of West Virginia and tied the game at 13-13. A block assist from Petrova and Lynch helped lead WVU to a 6-0 run. From there, the Mountaineers did not look back. WVU captured the 25-19 second-set win, as well as the 2-0 match lead.
Ell and Lynch opened the third set with one kill apiece, but Michigan struck back to tie the game. From there, the teams traded points until WVU went on a 5-0 run and took an 11-6 lead. The Wolverines came back and tied the game at 12 before taking their first lead in the set (12-13). After the teams traded points in the middle of the set, WVU went on a 7-1 run and took the 22-15 lead. Michigan could not get their momentum back, and WVU took the third set, 24-18 and swept the Wolverines.
After a match up at the 2019 Mountaineer Invitational, WVU will face host Navy for the fifth time in program history on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Live stats can be found on WVUsports.com.
The Mountaineers hold a 4-0 series record over the Mids. In its last meeting, WVU took a 3-2 win.
For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVUVolleyball on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.