Sept. 21, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State wrapped up the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational title on Saturday evening with a 3-0 victory over Cincinnati (25-11, 25-14, 25-19), MSU's second tournament championship in two weeks. MSU closes out its non-conference season with an 11-1 overall record, increases its non-conference home winning streak to 18 matches, and has won nine straight matches headed into the Big Ten opener next weekend. Cincinnati falls to 0-13.
Lauren Wicinski capped her tournament with MVP honors, contributing 15 kills, five aces, and five digs against the Bearcats. On the weekend, she had 52 kills (5.2 kills/set), had seven service aces , 24 digs, and five blocks. Taylor Galloway and Kristen Kelsay earned All-Tournament Team honors - Galloway had 19 kills, 14 digs, and a block, while Kelsay had 77 assists (7.7 per set), three aces, and 17 digs.
MSU opened up a 15-5 lead in the opening set. Leading 7-4, Wicinski served six straight points, which included two kills by Kelsey Kuipers, two aces, and two errors by the visitors. In her next turn at the service line, Wicinski served five straight points to close out the first-set win, which included three more aces for a season -best five.
In the second set, the teams were tied at 7-7 when MSU opened it up, going on an 8-0 run fueled by two kills each from Kuipers, Taylor Galloway, and Wicinski. Six of Cincinnati's seven points over the balance of the match came from MSU errors, and the Spartans closed it out with a 25-14 win in the second set.
The Spartans liberally used their bench in the third set. Wicinski capped her night with five more kills, while Chloe Reinig had four and Allyssah Fitterer and Kelsey Kuipers each had two. Kuipers finished the match with a season-best eight kills, while Galloway had six kills, three digs and a solo block in the match. Kelsay had 17 assists and six digs, and Halle Peterson finished with 12 assists.
In addition to Wicinski, Galloway, and Kelsay, the All-Tournament team had Duquesne's Arielle Love, Cincinnati's Shelly Green, and Eastern Michigan's Erin Short and Megan Crenshaw.
The Spartans have gone a combined 23-1 over the last two seasons in non-conference competition. MSU's last loss on its home floor to a non-Big Ten school came back in September 2010, to mid-Michigan rival Eastern Michigan.
MSU opens the Big Ten slate on the road at No. 1 Penn State next Friday evening.