Oct. 30, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After dropping its last six matches, the Michigan State volleyball team (15-8, 3-8) downed the Iowa Hawkeyes, 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-20), on Friday in Jenison Field House. As a result of the loss, the Hawkeyes are now 11-12 overall and 3-8 in conference action. Leading all attackers with 13 kills on the night was sophomore Becca Zlabis (Wheaton, Ill.), hitting a stellar .417.
"It was very important for us to come out well tonight," said head coach Cathy George. "We are now in the second half of the Big Ten season, and we need to make sure we hunker down and compete hard as we look to close out strong. Wins won't come easy, so it is going to be a battle each and every night."
The first set saw the Spartans out to an early 7-3 lead. However, Iowa stormed back to tie the set at eight points apiece. MSU took the next four of five points, bringing the score to 12-9. The Hawkeyes would once again come back to tie the set, this time at 17 and again at 21. The two teams would trade service with one another, until MSU finally broke free, bringing the score to 24-22, with Iowa calling its final timeout. Michigan State ended up taking the first set by a score of 25-22. Senior Mischelle Nelson (Naperville, Ill.) and Zlabis both led the team with three kills each and both hit .500.
MSU once again found itself out early in the second set, leading 7-5. The Spartans saw their lead grow to three after senior Vanessa King (Spring Lake, Mich.) laid a beautiful free ball which allowed her to hustle to the net, making the solo block on Mara Hilgenberg, bringing the score to 11-8. Michigan State took control from there, jumping ahead 18-13, forcing Iowa to call its second timeout. The Spartans earned the 25-17 win in set two over the Hawkeyes. Zlabis led all with five kills in the set.
In the third set, Michigan State trailed early, 3-1. The Spartans would chip away at the lead and ended up on a 5-0 run, to take a 10-6 lead. Iowa never gave up, gaining a one point lead itself at 15-14, and forcing MSU to called a timeout. The two teams would trade service with one another until a tie at 20. MSU closed out the set, taking the final five points, winning 25-20. Zlabis once again led all attackers with her five kills in the set.
Anchoring the Spartan defense with her 10 digs was junior Allyson Karaba (Muskegon, Mich.). Also playing big on the defensive end was King, who tallied six total blocks. Sophomore Natalie Emro (Wildwood, Mo.) quarterbacked the offense with her 32 assists. Contributing with nine kills was Schatzle.
The Spartans will be back in action tomorrow, Oct. 31, as they host Wisconsin at 6:30 p.m. The match will be streamed live at BigTenNetwork.com.