Sept. 20, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State senior Lauren Wicinski recorded her 2,000 kill - one of her 16 total on the night - to help lead the Spartans to a 3-0 victory (25-19, 25-18, 25-18) over Eastern Michigan on Friday night at Jenison Field House as part of the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational. MSU won its seventh straight match to improve to 9-1 on the season, and has now won 16 consecutive non-conference matches on its home floor.
Alexis Mathews contributed nine kills and added four blocks, while Kristen Kelsay had 26 assists. Setter Halle Peterson made her season debut and had 14 assists as well. Junior Kori Moster moved closer to 1,250 digs by recording 21 on the night, giving her a career total of 1,229. Taylor Galloway turned in another solid eight kills and eight digs.
As for Wicinski, she entered the match with 1,990 career kills, the active kill leader in Division I volleyball. Early in the second set, Kelsay set up Wicinski in her sweet spot - the left side of the net - and she rolled the ball off the EMU blocker's hand for the record-setting kill.
Wicinski is the ninth player in Big Ten history to record 2,000 kills, and just the third at MSU. Her 16 kills tonight puts her tied for second place all-time with Veronica Morales, who had 2,006. She trails recent MSU Hall of Fame inductee Jenna Wrobel, who had 2,296 in her career.
(The NCAA record book lists the top 25 kill leaders all-time, but does not have a comprehensive list of those who have achieved 2,000 kills. Via research in conference record books, we have tentatively determined that there are fewer than 50 individuals who have reached the milestone.)
As for the match, the Spartans led for the majority of the match, but had their challenges with EMU. Erin Short and Stacey Perinar each had six kills, while Jill Briner had 16 assists.
In the first set, MSU used an 10-5 run midway through to turn a slim 12-10 lead into a 22-15 advantage, then got big kills from Wicinski, Kelsey Kuipers, and a final shot by Taylor Galloway to close out the set 25-18. Wicinski had six kills in the openening set, while Mathews had five.
In the middle set, EMU took its first lead 10-9, but then allowed MSU to tie it at 10 with a service error. MSU's 11th point of the set was Wicinski's 2,000th kill, and the Spartans pushed their lead to 13-10. The teams battled it out, with MSU leading 17-16 before going on an 8-3 run to close out the set and give the home team a 2-0 advantage. WIcinski added five more kills.
MSU steadily built its lead in the final set, as EMU's final lead came at 1-0. The Eagles could not stop the senior in the third set either, allowing her another five kills, including the match point which allowed her to tie Morales for second on the all-time MSU list.
Duquesne defeated Cincinnati, 3-1, in the opening match of the tournament. Play continues with four matches on Saturday - EMU plays Cincinnati at 10 am, followed by MSU-Duquesne at noon. After a break, Duquesne and EMU face off at 5:30 p.m., and MSU closes out the tournament with Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m.