Sep 6, 2013
WATCH: Highlights vs. Oregon
East Lansing, Mich. - - In a showdown of top-20 teams, 20th-ranked Michigan State jumped on Oregon early and took a 3-1 victory (25-21, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21) over the 12th-ranked Ducks on Friday evening at Jenison Field House. Spartan head coach Cathy George recorded her 150th victory at Michigan State with the Spartan win, while MSU improves to 4-1 on the season and hosts Pac-12 entry Oregon State on Saturday. Oregon falls to 3-2 in advance of its Saturday game at Michigan.
MSU was paced by three players with double-digit kills: Alexis Mathews tied her career best with 15 kills for the second straight weeks, and added five blocks; Lauren Wicinski had 17 kills, three digs and two blocks, while Taylor Galloway finished with 12 kills and seven digs. Senior Kristen Kelsay had 36 assists, Ryian Hubbard tied her career best with 16 helpers, and Kori Moster had a season-best 22 digs.
"It was certainly tough tonight - that's a good Oregon team," said George. "We knew this was going to be a battle, and we really did go point-for-point a lot of times during the match. It was a great atmosphere in here tonight - our volleyball alumni was back, we had a lot of great support from our students and other student-athletes, and a fantastic MSU Mid-Michigan alumni event. We'll enjoy tonight for a bit, but it's important for us to really switch focus to a game against a really good Oregon State team tomorrow. "
Oregon, the NCAA runner-up a year ago, got 47 assists from setter Lauren Plum and double-digit kills from Ariana Williams (16), Martenne Bettendorf (14) and Liz Brenner in addition to 20 digs from Amanda Benson.
Michigan State jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the opening set, but the Ducks battled back into it with an 8-2 run to pull within two points, 16-14. From there, it was a back-and-forth game, and once the game was tied at 20, MSU put it away with a 5-1 run, capped by a big kill by Taylor Galloway to seal the first set win, 25-21.
The second game was tight throughout - the largest lead for either team was three points, and the set featured nine tie scores and three lead changes. Oregon's leads came early, but once the game was tied 18-18, MSU pulled ahead for good. The Ducks found it hard to find an answer for Mathews, who had five kills in the second set on six swings after five kills in the opening-set win. Galloway and Wicinski added three kills each in the set.
Trailing by six points (23-17) in the third , MSU rallied with three straight kills from freshman Autumn Christenson to pull within 23-20. That was as close as the Spartans could get however, as the Ducks ripped off two of the next three points and stayed alive in the match with a 25-21 win. Wicinski had six kills in the set for the Spartans, with Christenson and Galloway each contributing three. Moster had seven digs.
In the fourth set, it was another see-saw battle that featured a game-high four lead changes and 10 tie scores. Oregon's largest lead was two points, and MSU didn't take a two-point lead until taking a 14-12 advantage. The Spartans started to pull away from there, it's greatest lead at five points (20-15). Wicinski had six kills in the set, including the final two to seal the win . Kelsay had nine of her 36 assists in the fourth, while Moster had six digs.
MSU hosts Oregon State on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Jenison Field House. Spartan football ticket holders for the game against South Florida can redeem their football ticket stub for a complimentary volleyball admission. OSU suffered a 3-1 loss at Michigan on Friday night (25-18, 25-14, 22-25, 25-13).