WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A team-high 15 kills from Claire Kieffer-Wright as well as double-digit kill efforts from Katherine Mahlke and Carly Skjodt propelled the University of Michigan volleyball team to a 3-1 victory (23-25, 25-22, 30-28, 25-20) over the Purdue Boilermakers on Wednesday night inside Holloway Gymnasium.
The victory marks the first-ever set of three-consecutive wins over top-25 opponents. Additionally, Michigan (20-11, 10-9 B1G) has now reached the 20-win mark 11 times under head coach Mark Rosen, with three-straight 20-win seasons.
The win is also Michigan’s second-straight over Purdue, as the teams faced each other on Saturday (Nov. 2), with the Wolverines taking the victory by a 3-1 score for their first win over the Boilermakers since 2010.
Kieffer-Wright led the Wolverines with 15 kills at a .429 attack average, while Mahlke finished with 14 kills at a .345 clip. Skjodt also added 13 kills and came up just short of a double-double with nine digs.
Michigan recorded five team blocks and Kieffer-Wright led the Maize and Blue with three block assists. Junior libero Jenna Lerg recorded a team-high 16 digs, and sophomore setter MacKenzi Welsh totaled 50 assists.
Though Michigan took an early 3-0 lead on a kill by Mahlke and back-to-back Purdue attack errors, neither team could gain any momentum in the first set, which featured eight ties and four lead changes. Purdue led late at 22-20, but a kill by Kieffer-Wright put the Wolverines within one and a kill from Lambert evened the score at 22-22. Back-to-back Michigan points then put the Maize and Blue up at 24-23 and forced a Boilermaker timeout, but a Purdue attack error gave the Wolverines set one, 25-23.
Despite back and forth play to begin the second set, the Wolverines took a slight edge at 15-14 before a 7-0 run gave Purdue a strong 21-15 lead. From there, Michigan was unable to string more than two points together, and the Wolverines totaled just 11 kills and were held to a .108 hitting percentage, while the Boilermakers hit at a .281 clip. Back-to-back kills from Mahlke staved off two set points, but Purdue took set two, 25-22, to even the match.
The Boilermakers took an early lead in the third set, but the Wolverines fought to come from behind and tie the score at 11-11. Purdue then went on 4-0 run, however, forcing a 15-11 lead and coercing a Michigan timeout. The Boilermakers continued to lead until an ace by Welsh tied the score at 19-19, and a Purdue error put the Wolverines up, 20-19. From there, the teams played point for point before a back row kill from Skjodt gave Michigan a two-point edge, but Purdue rallied to tie the score at 24-24. The score was tied four more times from that point on, but a kill by sophomore outside hitter Sydney Wetterstrom and a Purdue attack error gave Michigan set three, 30-28.
Michigan jumped out to a 15-11 lead in the fourth set thanks to four kills apiece from Mahlke and Kieffer-Wright, which coerced a Purdue timeout. Michigan extended its lead to five at 17-12 on a kill from Skjodt, and took a seven-point lead at 21-15 which forced Purdue to call its final timeout. Using a .412 team hitting percentage and five kills from Kieffer-Wright, the Wolverines used the momentum to take the fourth set by a 25-20 score and execute the season sweep of the Boilermakers.
Michigan will get back in action on Friday (Nov. 24) in the final match of the regular season. The Wolverines will face off against the Indiana Hoosiers at 6 p.m. inside University Gym in Bloomington, Ind. Fans may watch the contest streamed live on BTN Plus (subscription required).