No. 16 Volleyball Falls, 3-1, in Big Ten Opener Against Purdue
Sept. 25, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In what turned out to be a four-set heartbreaker, the Boilermakers downed the Michigan State volleyball team (12-1, 0-1), 3-1, in the first match of conference play. The loss marks the Spartans' first since Nov. 11, 2008, when MSU fell 3-1 to Minnesota. Sophomore Kyndra Abron (Livonia, Mich.) led the Spartans with a .571 attack percentage, on 16 kills to go along with four blocks.
MSU won the first point of the match, however, Purdue responded by taking the next three points. The Boilermakers would go on to trade the next three points with the Spartans before going on another two point rally. Michigan State would then go on to win two of the next three points to trail 7-5. The Spartans struggled the rest of the first set, including the Boilermakers winning seven straight points, to fall behind 21-10. MSU was able to manage only four more points, losing the first set, 25-14.
MSU began the second set by getting out to an early 3-1 lead. Purdue would respond by going on a 4-1 run itself to take a 5-4 lead. The Boilermakers would begin to slowly pull away from the Spartans as they got out to a 17-10 lead. MSU responded by going on a 8-5 run, and make it a 22-18 set. The Green and White could not get any closer, losing the second set, 25-21
The third set began with a thunderous kill from redshirt sophomore Jenilee Rathje (Mount Pleasant, Mich.). After a Boilermaker point, junior Megan Schatzle (Monroe, Mich.) followed with another booming kill. MSU would go on to take the next six points before a Purdue timeout was called. Following the break, MSU dropped the following point, before taking the next three points and getting out to a 10-3 lead. The Spartans continued their momentum from intermission, getting out to an 18-11 lead, before Purdue called its second timeout of the set. When action continued, MSU took the third set 25-19. After hitting -.091 in the first two sets combined, Rathje responded by posting a .778 percentage in the third set.
The fourth and final set saw the Spartans fall behind early, 9-4, after six straight Purdue points. MSU would begin to trade points with the Boilermakers and pulled within three (16-13). Michigan State would hold strong, finding itself tied with Purdue at 19. However, the Boilermakers were able to end the Spartan momentum, taking the final set 25-21
Pacing the Spartan defense was junior Allyson Karaba (Muskegon, Mich.), recording 12 digs against the Boilermakers, while sophomore Carli Weiler (Oak Lawn, Ill.) added another 11 digs for the MSU defense. Quarterbacking the front court, with 49 assists, was sophomore Natalie Emro (Wildwood, Mo.). Tallying 12 kills in the Big Ten opener was Rathje, while senior Mischelle Nelson (Naperville, Ill.) contributed another 10.
The Spartans are back in action tomorrow, Sept. 25, as they close out their month on the road with a match against Indiana at 7 p.m.
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