Volleyball Sweeps Illinois In Big Ten Play
Oct. 6, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - In front of an energetic crowd at Jenison Field House on Friday night, the Michigan State volleyball team halted a two-game losing streak, posting a 3-0 victory versus Illinois in Big Ten action. MSU won by scores of 30-25, 30-22, and 33-31. With the win, MSU improves to 11-4, 2-3 Big Ten, while Illinois falls to 11-4, 2-3 in conference play.
Katie Johnson and Ashley Schatzle paced the Spartan offense with 24 and 18 kills, respectively, for the night, marking the 12th time this season the duo has posted double-digit kill totals in a match. Setter Allison Ianni spread out 44 assists, directing the Spartans to a .402 hitting percentage, the highest total in conference play this year.
"This was a nice match for our team," Spartan head coach Cathy George said. "We followed our game plan very well and executed every facet of the game tonight. We were down a little in the third game, but our team answered, kept our composure, and closed out the victory."
Defensively, MSU won the battle at the net, posting 10.0 total blocks against 5.0 by the Illini defenders. The freshman duo of Mischelle Nelson and Vanessa King each tallied four blocks, while Ianni and Jessica Hohl combined for one block solo and five block assists at the net. Libero Nicole Colaluca posted a match-best 17 digs, anchoring a Spartan backcourt that tallied 44 digs against 29 by the Fighting Illini. Defensive specialists Melany Rarey and Emily Fahrer each added four digs, while Schatzle and King posted six and four, respectively.
"We played really well tonight," Ianni said. "We kept our composure, stayed focused and really worked hard to keep them out of their system. The crowd provided so much enthusiasm and energy, especially in the critical points of game three."
The teams matched points early in game one before Hohl placed a ball over the Illini defenders for a 17-12 MSU advantage. Illinois answered, scoring six of the next nine points to pull within two of the Spartan lead at 20-18. State followed with a 6-4 run to push its lead to 26-22, and Johnson connected on two swings late in the set to secure the 30-25 game-one victory. Schatzle recorded five kills on seven attempts (.714), while Johnson added a game-best six kills on seven attempts (.857) for the Green and White. State dominated at the net, posting 5.0 total blocks against just 1.0 by the Illinois defenders.
Michigan State scored six straight to take a 7-1 lead early in game two. Illinois rallied to score five of the next seven, but State answered behind the service of Fahrer and King to take a 16-11 lead midway through the set. A Kayani Turner kill pulled the Ilini within four at 24-20, but MSU scored six of the final eight points to win game three, 30-22, and head into the break with a 2-0 match advantage. State posted a .516 attack percentage against the .161 performance of the Illinois offense. Ianni tallied 17 assists, directing Johnson to a game-high 10 kills on 13 attempts (.615) in the set.
Trailing 17-12 at the halfway point of game three, Michigan State posted a 5-2 run to pull within two points of the Illini lead at 19-17. The teams matched points four times before MSU scored three straight to retake the lead at 24-23. Both teams posted runs of two and three points down the stretch to knot the score at 31-31, before Johnson and Schatzle connected on consecutive swings to clinch the 3-0 sweep with a 33-31 game-three win. Colaluca tallied a game-high 12 digs in the Green and White backcourt, while Johnson and Schatzle each tallied eight kills in the set.
Michigan State continues Big Ten play against Northwestern on Saturday at Jenison Field House. Game time is set for 8 p.m.
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