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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2010

UT volleyball ranked for 1st time after topping UM


The University of Toledo volleyball team has parlayed its 3-2 upset victory of then-No. 12 Michigan on Saturday into its first national ranking in school history.

The Rockets received 13 votes in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association poll and are ranked No. 37 in the country.

In the program's 30-year history, UT had never before beaten a ranked program.

"That was a great step for us as a program," said UT coach Greg Smith, who is in his second year at the helm for the Rockets. "We can't go back to our old ways anymore. We've achieved that next level of playing at a high level. Now the expectations are that we have to continue that. This can't be a one-and-done type thing."

For her efforts against Michigan, against whom she registered a match-high 30 digs, senior libero Katie Westerfeld was named the Mid-American Conference West Division defensive player of the week Monday.

UT also picked up wins over Loyola (Md.) and Binghamton last weekend en route to capturing the Rocket Classic at Savage Arena for the second straight year.

"Now we have to back it up," Smith said. "We can't base our season off these three wins. We have to continue to work hard and get better as a team."

The Rockets (3-0) will take on Alabama (1-2), Alabama-Birmingham (1-2) and Furman (0-2) this weekend at the Bama Bash.

Last year, UT started 9-0 before falling off and finishing the season with a 17-12 overall record.

Smith said his players have learned from that experience and now know they have to stay focused and driven for every single match.

"We can't accept mediocrity anymore," Smith said. "The hardest thing for them to realize is that they can't get frustrated if things aren't clicking as well as they did on Saturday. But as long as the effort is there and we're still working hard as a team, we're going to improve."

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