To say the Michigan women's volleyball team started off the season with a bang would be a bit of an understatement. They swept the K-State Invitational last weekend, and the Michigan Invitational the weekend before — some solid first steps on the path to their larger goal: a D1 Women's Volleyball National Title this season.
Now, at 6-0, Michigan is ready to face one their toughest task the year: the Panther Invitational in Pittsburgh, PA this weekend. According to head coach Mark Rosen, his team is up for a fight.
I talked to Rosen (pictured left) this week about his team's strengths, weaknesses, and the challenge they face in the coming days.
"This will be our toughest weekend – no question," Rosen said. "We’ve had two good tournaments with good opponents and we’ve been tested a lot, but this will be the toughest one yet. Pittsburgh is really good […] they’re a team that can serve really aggressive. American is physical and they tend to have a good amount of foreign players, which creates an X factor a little bit."
While he and his team don't have as much direct knowledge of Coastal Carolina as they do the other two teams they'll face at the Panther Invitational, he's done his research. He's watched film. His assessment?
So this weekend will be interesting. He went on to say, "all three matches are going to be a good test for us, we need that right now. Our players are excited about it. They don’t want to play teams that they’re going to roll through easily. They want to get tested and challenged and grow from it."
Rosen is beyond pleased with how the team has played so far, but as any great coach would, he says there's always room for improvement.
"We’re trying to clean up our serve receive a little bit […] I think our blocking is good right now but, it can be a lot better. We are still just working to get experience. We have so many young players that make an impact, and the more experience we can give them, the more we can teach and have them get a better understanding of what we’re trying to do," he said.
We'll definitely have a better understanding on Monday. If the season so far has been any indication, this Michigan team will prove our suspicions: the Wolverines are legit.
Michigan will play at the Panther Invitational in Pittsburgh, PA. See their schedule below: