Spartans Fall to PSU, 3-0
Nov. 2, 2013
East Lansing, Mich - No. 14 Michigan State fell to No. 2 Penn State, 3-0 (14-25, 18-25, 20-25) on Saturday at Jenison Field House. MSU falls to 18-6 overall, and 7-5 in the Big Ten. PSU wins its 11th straight match and avenges MSU's victory in State College earlier this season; the Nittany Lions are now 20-2 and 11-1 in Big Ten play.
The Nittany Lions limited the effectiveness of the Spartans' leading hitter Lauren Wicinski, keeping her to a season-low five kills on the night. Freshmen Chloe Reinig had 11 kills, while Allyssah Fitterer had 10 kills and two blocks. Kristen Kelsay had 19 assists. Wicinski had five digs, and Taylor Galloway had eight kills, four digs, and one block on the night.
Penn State opened the match on a tear, building to a 11-3 lead, helped in large part to four blocks on Spartan attempts in that stretch. From there, MSU was able to match PSU nearly point-for-point, but the damage had been done in the early part of the set. The Nittany Lions hit .435, with five blocks overall, and limited MSU to hitting just .054. Reinig led MSU with four kills in the opening set, followed by Galloway who had three kills and three digs. McClendon led Penn State with four kills on eight attempts, while Ariel Scott and Katie Slay each had three blocks.
Penn State opened up a five-point lead in the second set (7-2), and though the Spartans would cut it to two points at 12-10, but PSU built the lead back to four points at 18-14 and scored four of the last five points of the match to post a 25-18 win in the second set. While PSU had just one block in the set, they played nearly error-free volleyball, with just one attacking error in the first two sets. Scott had seven kills in the second set, while McClendon had four with five digs. MSU's top scorer was Fitterer in the set, with five kills; as the Nittany Lions continually threw double-and triple-blocks at Wicinski, the freshman duo of Fitterer and Reinig each had seven kills through the first two sets. While MSU recovered from hitting just .054 in the first set to hit .297 in the second, PSU hit .548, improving their hitting percentage to .500 over the first two sets.
The Spartans refused to let PSU build an early lead in the third set, and the result was a point-for-point battle that extended until the teams were tied at 10-10. PSU pulled ahead 12-10 on a McClendon kill and an MSU error, but the Spartans countered with a Fitterer kill and block. With MSU trailing 17-16, the Nittany Lions put together a four-point run on a McClendon kill and three straight MSU errors to pull ahead by four, 21-16. The teams traded points, but four points was as close as the Spartans would get the rest of the set, as PSU closed it out with a 25-20 win in the third set to split the season series.
McClendon finished with a match-high 14 kills, and added eight blocks. Acott had 13 kills, six digs and four blocks, and Katie Slay had five blocks on the night. Neither team recorded a service ace, despite the featuring two of the top servers in the country (Wicinski and Micha Hancock of PSU). Hancock finished with 35 assists for the Nittany Lions.
MSU starts a four-game road trip next weekend, kicking it off on Friday at Northwestern in an 8 p.m. ET start.
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