No. 19 Michigan Advances to Sweet 16 with Win Over No. 21 Saint Louis

Dec. 5, 2008

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By Evan Crane, UK Media Relations

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A night after defeating the host Kentucky Wildcats, the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines advanced to the sweet sixteen with a scintillating five-set win over Saint Louis, on Friday night in Memorial Coliseum. Senior Beth Karpiak and sophomore Lexi Zimmerman led the way for the Wolverines, with Karpiak recording a career-high 20 kills while Zimmerman led all players in assists with 54.   

Saint Louis (29-5) won the first set, led by great attack play by Bridget Fonke. Fonke recorded six kills on 12 total attacks and finished the match with a season-high 26 kills.

"I think that Bridget had one of the most amazing matches I have seen in a long time, or ever from an outside hitter's position," said Saint Louis Head Coach Anne Kordes, a native of Louisville, Ky.

Saint Louis took their first lead late in the match 21-20. From there the Billikens never looked back, winning the set 25-22. Saint Louis junior Sammi McCloud recorded three aces in the set while Louisville, Ky. native Whitney Roth recorded 17 assists.

Michigan (26-8) would answer early in the second set starting off the set on a 7-2 run. Karpiak recorded six kills in the set tallying a perfect-attack percentage. Junior Juliana Paz, native of Brazil, and freshman Alex Hunt each recorded four kills. Although Saint Louis would record 2.5 blocks in set two and Fonke had 6 kills, Michigan would tally their first win of the match 25-19.

Saint Louis's strong offensive game would rebound in set three, recording 14 kills. Fonke had five of the kills while McCloud gathered up four kills. Roth continued her strong play by gathering 10 assists and two aces for the Billikens. Michigan would also record 14 kills in the set. Junior Megan Bower would record seven kills while Zimmerman captured nine assists.

With elimination on the line, the Wolverines bounced back in set four with a great blocking attack by Bower and Karlee Bruck. Michigan would record three blocks in the set with two blocking assists each by Bower and Bruck. Karpiak and Hunt recorded four kills each in the set while Saint Louis was led by the continued offensive attack by Fonke. Michigan would never trail in the set and win 25-20.

After trailing 9-5 in set five Michigan would turn on the offense and come back to beat Saint Louis in the decisive set five. Michigan would win nine out of the last 12 points in the set to finish off the Billikens 15-12. Michigan was again led by Bowers who recorded four kills and one ace.

"I'm extremely proud of our team, the way they played and fought," said Michigan Head Coach Mark Rosen. "One of our players said in the locker room that it wasn't pretty but it was a great, competitive match and that's true."

Michigan will now advance to the Seattle, Wash., regional where they will face the winner of the Lincoln, Neb., pod second-round game consisting of UAB and Nebraska.