Spartans Fall in 3-2 Heartbreaker to No. 4 Hawaii
Sept. 3, 2010
HONOLULU, Hawaii - The Michigan State volleyball team (4-1) continued action at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic on Friday, Sept. 3 with a 3-2 (25-18, 31-33, 24-26, 25-20, 15-11) heartbreaking loss to host No. 4 Hawaii. Both senior Megan Schatzle (Monroe, Mich.) and junior Becca Zlabis (Wheaton, Ill.) had career nights attacking the ball. Schatzle tallied 22 kills, while Zlabis was just behind with 21.
"This was a well fought match on both sides tonight," said head coach Cathy George. "Both teams really battled hard. It was great to see fight in the girls, even when we were getting a little exhausted. People were coming back all night and fighting. I don't feel that you should ever let the match get to five, if you are able to close it out in four."
Michigan State once again was able to get out early on its opponent jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the opening set. The Spartans continued with its two point lead with the score 7-5. Hawaii, however, rallied back with a 10-4 run to take a 15-11 lead over the Green and White. MSU once again pulled back within two, 15-13, after Zlabis killed a free ball. Hawaii closed out the opening frame with 10 of the final 15 points scored, bringing the score to 25-18. Zlabis was the top MSU attacker with five kills on nine attacks.
MSU got out to an early 3-1 lead in the second set. The Spartan lead expanded to four with the score 8-4 after back-to-back blocks from red-shirt junior Jenilee Rathje (Mount Pleasant, Mich.) and junior Natalie Emro (Wildwood, Mo.) on the first, and Rathje and Zlabis on the second. MSU's strong momentum forced Hawaii into a timeout. A solo block from Zlabis gave the Green and White a 10-5 lead. Rathje continued the offensive explosiveness for MSU with an attack that powered through the Hawaiian defense, bringing the score to 17-13. Just as Hawaii attempted to rally, Emro killed a ball to make it 21-17 in favor of the Spartans. As MSU forced set point with it 24-21, the Spartans were unable to initially close out the set as it wound up being another Green and White set point at 32-31. This time, MSU closed out the set with a 33-31 second set win. Zlabis led the team in the second set with nine kills on 18 attacks.
The Spartans struggled early on in the third set following the intermission, as Hawaii got out to an early 10-5 lead. MSU, however, remained strong as it battled back to within one as the score went to 18-17. A kill from Schatzle gave MSU its first lead of the set with the score 21-20. UH managed to score two straight points to force the Spartans into a timeout with the score 22-21 in favor of Hawaii. Zlabis once again put away a timely kill to tie the score at 24. MSU would close out the set by taking the final two points and bring the score to 26-24. Schatzle led all players with six attacks in the third set.
With momentum in its hands, MSU got out early on the Rainbow Wahine to lead 12-7 in set four. Five straight Hawaiian points tied the set at 12 each after a timeout. The two teams would continue to trade service with one another until the score became tied at 15. That is when the Rainbow Wahine took control of the set and took 10 of 15 points to take the set by a score of 25-20. Junior Kyndra Abron (Livonia, Mich.) was the top MSU attacker with seven kills in set four, tying for the most kills out of any player with Kanani Danielson of Hawaii.
UH got out to an 8-4 lead on the Spartans in the final set before MSU took three straight points, pulling within one point, 8-7. The Green and White put up a valiant fight against UH, however they were unable to gain control of the final set. Hawaii took the fifth and final frame by a score of 15-11. Zlabis once again led the team, and all attackers, with three kills in the final set.
Abron joined Schatzle and Zlabis with double-digit kill marks as she recorded 13 kills. Zlabis also posted her second-consecutive double-double after she also chipped in with 16 digs. The leading defensive player for the Spartans was senior Allyson Karaba (Muskegon, Mich.) with 26 digs on the night. Emro joined Zlabis with a double-double as she posted 37 assists along with 12 digs. Senior Nicole Peter (Ada, Mich.) also posted double-digit assists with 20. Rathje was the top blocker at the net with seven assisted blocks. Zlabis also had five (3-2) assists for the Green and White.
MSU is now 1-1 all-time against the Rainbow Wahine, with the other meeting occurring during the 1995 NCAA Regional Championship match in Honolulu.
The Spartans return to action tomorrow (Sept. 4), when they face No. 10 Southern California in their final match of the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic. The match is scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. ET.
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