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September 07, 2005 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-07

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The Michigan Daily - SportsWednesday - September 7, 2005 - 19A

Duo key to Spikers' defensive success

By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer
Sometimes, the key to a good offense is
a good defense. For the Michigan volleyball
team, the key to a good defense is effective
blocking by its middle blockers.
"We are one of the best blocking
teams in the Big Ten," junior Megan
Bowman said.
Bowman and her counterpart at middle
block, sophomore co-captain Lyndsay
Miller, are two of the main reasons why
Michigan excels at this critical skill.
Physically, the twosome has all of
the attributes necessary to be excellent
blockers. They have large hands and
both tower over 6-foot-1.
"They have a natural ability to block,"
coach Marc Rosen said. "It is a difficult
skill to learn."
In their short collegiate careers, they
have already impacted the school record
books.
Last year, Miller set the school record
for blocks by a freshman with 160 and
was just one block shy of establishing a
new benchmark for blocks in a season.
After just two seasons, Bowman has
already cracked the school's top 10 in
blocks with 305, and she is 10 away
from ninth place all-time. If she main-
tains her current pace, she will be near
the top of the list before she completes
her career.
The duo is the first line of Michigan's

above the net. They seek to get a hand
on the ball to either return it for a kill or
slow it down for their teammates to dig.
"Controlling the opposing middle is
our primary job," Bowman said.
The strategic purpose of the blockers
is to channel the ball to one side of the
court and ease the burden on the rest of
the defense.
The team uses the block to force the
opposition to hit the ball toward sopho-
more Stesha Selsky - the team's best
defensive specialist.
Rosen recognizes the middle block-
ers' contribution to the team's overall
performance and thinks they will con-
tinue to develop their skills.
"The two of them can dominate at
the net," Rosen said. "There are no lim-
its for them, and they can continue to
improve."
Of its three season opening defeats, Bow-
man considered the team's blocking game in
its 3-0 loss to No. 1 Nebraska on Saturday to
be the best of year and Rosen saw that trans-
late into a gritty overall effort.
"Our performance against Nebraska
showed that we are a tough team," Rosen
said.
If the team can continue to improve
upon its showing against Nebraska,
Rosen believes that his team will be able
to accomplish its goals.
"This team can compete with anyone
in the Big Ten and wants to win the con-
ference," Rosen said.

MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
Junior Megan Bowman places 10th all-time In
blocks with 305.
defense. When opposing teams attempt
a kill, it is the responsibility of Bowman
and Miller to jump and meet the ball

TREVOR CAMPBELL/Daily
Sophomore co-captain Lyndsay Miller has been intergral to the solid play of Michigan's defensive unit from the
middle blocker position.

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