Spartans Finish Off Duquesne, 3-1
Wicinski adds 22 kills the day after she reaches 2,000; Mathews has season-best nine blocks.
Sept. 21, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State had to battle through a pair of ultra-tight sets to get a 3-1 victory over Duquesne on Saturday morning, but did so with 21 kills and 10 digs from senior Lauren Wicinski and a 13-kill collegiate debut by freshman Chloe Reinig. Alexis Mathews had a season-best nine blocks for the Spartans, who will play Cincinnati in the tournament finale later on Saturday.
The Spartans cruised through the opening set 25-7, leading 15-1 after 13 consecutive serves by Kori Moster. Wicinski and freshman Allyssah Fitterer each had three kills in that opening frame, and Mathews contributed four of her nine blocks on the day.
The Dukes rallied back with a much different script in mind for game two - Duquesne pushed back on the Spartans and took the second set, 28-26. Wicinski had an additional seven kills in the second, but Duquesne - which hit -.358 in the opening set - hit .371 and had three blocks in that second game. The Spartans and Dukes traded set points three times, but Duquesne iced the 28-26 win with a kill by Nora Young and a block by Arielle Love. It was the first set that MSU had lost since dropping the third set to Oregon on Sept. 6, snapping a streak of 17 consecutive sets won.
The third was more of the same, as there were eight lead changes and a tie score on 21 occasions in the third set alone. MSU's largest lead came at 5-1, as Taylor Galloway served four straight points on a pair of Duquesne errors and kills by Wicinski and Christenson. Duquesne cut into the lead, pulling within a point at 9-8. From there, the teams battled point-for-point, the Dukes building to a three-point lead - its largest of the day - at 18-15 and again at 22-19. From there, Kristen Kelsay served the Spartans to three straight points to tie the game at 23-all, but three straight errors from the Dukes gave the Spartans a 26-24 win.
MSU settled into a better rhythm for game four, and built a comfortable 10-4 lead, and didn't allow the Dukes to get closer than that for the remainder of the match. Reinig tallied seven of her 13 kills in the fourth set, while Wicinski added four for her game-high 22. Kelsay had nine assists and Moster six digs in the final set.
The Spartans wrap up their final non-conference weekend at Jenison Field House at 7:30 p.m. against Cincinnati.