Sept. 14, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State downed Illinois State 3-0 on Saturday morning at the Butler Invitational, improving to 7-1 on the season. MSU was led by 13 kills from Lauren Wicinski, and eight kills each from freshmen Allyssah Fitterer and Autumn Christenson. Fitterer hit .471 in the match (8-0-17) and added three blocks, two of them solo.
Michigan State used a 9-4 run midway through the first set to take a 14-9 lead. It was a bit of a sloppy affair for both teams, with several ball-handling errors and miscommunications. Leading 21-17, Kelsay took over and served the Spartans to four straight points and the opening-set win, getting a pair of aces and big kills from Autumn Christenson and Jazmine White. Kori Moster had seven digs in the set, while Christenson and Lauren Wicinski each had four kills.
The second set was a game of momentum - The Redbirds jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set, but MSU countered with a 5-1 run of its own, fueled by two Wicinski kills and a Ryian Hubbard service ace. The Redbirds then went on a 6-2 stretch, capped with a LeeAnn Hranka ace, which forced MSU to use a timeout, trailing 12-8. The brief pause helped MSU, which rallied to tie the game at 14-all. Trailing at 16-15, MSU used a 10-4 run to close out the set, and took the 2-0 lead. Fitterer and Christenson were big at the net for MSU, recording four and three kills, respectively.
The third set saw the teams manufacture larger runs than in the second - on only seven occasions did a team record a single point. MSU's largest rally of the day was an eight-point swing that gave the Spartans a 14-7 lead, but Illinois State fought back to take seven of the next eight points to cut MSU's lead to 15-14. MSU then used another five-point run to go ahead 20-15, but had to fight off a comeback attempt by the Redbrids, who pulled within two points at 22-20. MSU closed out the match with a pair of kills from Wicinski to secure the 3-0 win.
Wicinski's 13 kills brought her closer to 2,000 - she now needs just 27 kills to reach the impressive total. Just eight athletes in the Big Ten have reached this number, and two in the history of the MSU volleyball program.
MSU will be back in action later on Saturday, taking on tournament host Butler at 7 p.m. to close out the tournament.