MICHIGAN VOLLEYBALL: Virtue Takes Over for Legendary Coach in Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The winds of change that storm across the collegiate landscape like a desert haboob is not only reserved for schools switching conferences in the pursuit of greater monetary rewards. 

A change of coach often is enough to change the fortunes of any collegiate program. And that’s what the University of Michigan was hoping would happen when Erin Virtue was hired to replace Mark Rosen as volleyball coach of the Wolverines.

The new season gets under way Aug. 25-26 at the Boston College Invitational. The Wolverines take on the host Eagles on Friday and will meet up with Sacred Heart the following afternoon.

Michigan holds a 1-0 record against Boston College after having defeated the Eagles during the 2021 season. The match against the Pioneers, who compete in the Northeast Conference (NEC) will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The new Michigan coach, who served as an assistant for five seasons (2011-15) under Rosen, returns 10 players from a team that finished 17-13 overall during the 2022 season after a sub-par 8-12 record in Big Ten play in Rosen’s final season.

Hannah Grant (5-8, R-Sr., L-DS) highlights that long list of veterans returning that should help ease Virtue’s first edition of Michigan volleyball.

Grant, who has started every match during her time in a Michigan uniform, led the Wolverines in digs (474) and service aces (44) a year ago on her way to earning second-team all-conference accolades. Her service aces of 9;41 per set ranked second in the Big Ten last season and her 4.43 digs per set were the third most in the conference in 2022.

She enters the season ranked 10th all-time at the school with 1,148 digs and needs just four digs to surpass Katie Bruzdzki, who had 1,145 digs during her Michigan career (2004-07).

Several other veterans return to take some of the burden off Grant as the team’s leader and who should help the Wolverines improve on their conference finish of a year ago.

One of those returning players who is expected to emerge as one of the top players in the Big Ten this season is Allison Jacobs (5-11, SR., OH) who appeared in 22 matches last season in her first year at Michigan after transferring from UCLA, where she played for two seasons. She averaged 1.24 kills per set for the Wolverines in 2022 and posted a season-high nine kills in a straight-set sweep over rival Michigan State in Ann Arbor.

Jacobs, who had six matches with at least five kills last season, also average 1.0 digs, 0.24 blocks and 1.42 points per set last season.

Jacque Boney (6-4, Jr., MB), Scottee Johnson (6-0, Sr., S) and Kendall Murray (6-2, Sr., OH) all return to Michigan after solid seasons last year.

Boney tallied second on the team in blocks (110) and fourth in kills (187) last season. She has started all 60 matches in her first two seasons in Ann Arbor and has averaged 1.53 kills and 1.1 blocks per set over that span. Johnson recorded 495 assists for the Wolverines last season to increase her career total to 1,056. She currently ranks ninth in school history for career assists. 

Murray, meanwhile, had a breakout season a year ago and tallied a career-high 183 kills last season and ranked fifth on the team in that department. Her kills in 2022 were more than double the number of kills she recorded in her first two seasons in Ann Arbor combined.

Virtue and the Wolverines also got a boost to the roster with the addition of transfer Saj McBurrows (6-1, Grad., OH), who spent three seasons at Columbia. She had a solid senior season by recording 197 kills and 56 blocks for the Lions and earning honorable-mention all-Ivy League honors before graduating and transferring to Michigan.

While her duties may be new, Virtue is no stranger to the Michigan program or the Big Ten.

While an assistant at Michigan under Rosen, she was a part of four national tournament teams. She went on to become the associate head coach at Northwestern (2016-18). Virtue, who played collegiately at Illinois (2001-05), where she earned all-Big Ten and honorable-mention All-America accolades, began her coaching career at Loyola (Ill.) in 2006 before spending four seasons at Cincinnati (2007-10).

Rosen was a fixture in Big Ten volleyball and spent 24 years leading the Maize and Blue in the nation’s toughest volleyball conference.

During his time in Ann Arbor, Rosen compiled a 468-299 (.610) overall record, including a 17-13 record in what turned out to be his final season as the Wolverines managed just an 8-12 record in Big Ten play during the 2022 season.

Rosen, who coached at Cal State-Bakersfield (1992-93), Northern Michigan (1994-97) and Boise State (1998) before becoming coach at Michigan in 1999, guided the Wolverines to the NCAA postseason 19 times during his time at Michigan. The highlight of his tenure came in 2012 when his team record the national semifinal round for the first time in school history. He ended his collegiate coaching career with a 677-336 (.668) record in 31 seasons as a collegiate coach.

Head coach Erin Virtue

Michigan 2023 Schedule

Aug. 25-26   Boston College Invitational

    at Boston, Mass.

    (Boston College, Sacred Heart)


Sept. 2-3 Wooo Pig Invitational

at Fayetteville, Ark.


                NORTH CAROLINA


Sept. 15 at Bowling Green



Sept. 24 at Maryland

Sept. 29 at Minnesota

Oct. 1 at Wisconsin




Oct. 14 at Indiana

Oct. 18 at Michigan State

Oct. 21 at Northwestern



Nov. 3 IOWA


Nov. 10 at Penn State

Nov. 12 at Rutgers

Nov. 17 at Nebraska

Nov. 18 at Illinois

Nov. 24 PURDUE



1 – Wisconsin
2 – Nebraska
3 – Minnesota
4 – Penn State
5 – Purdue
6 – Ohio State
7 – Illinois
8 – Indiana
9 – Maryland
12 – Michigan State
13 – Iowa
14 – Rutgers