Michigan State Volleyball Upsets No. 7 Wisconsin, 3-1
Nov. 3, 2007
Madison, Wis. - The Michigan State University volleyball team knocked off No. 7 Wisconsin tonight, 3-1 (30-21, 25-30, 30-26, 30-28) in front of 5,092 fans at the University of Wisconsin Field House. The Spartans improve to 15-10 overall and 6-7 in the Big Ten Conference, while the Badgers drop only their third match of the season (19-3. 11-2). This was MSU's first over Wisconsin since 2003 and only their fourth-ever in 26 meetings in Madison.
"This was our biggest win in my three years here at Michigan State," said Head Coach Cathy George. "We played a great all-around game. We were able to come up with big plays at crucial moments tonight, allowing us to keep the momentum on our side."
Senior Katie Johnson (Brooklyn, Mich./Columbia Central) tallied a season-best 26 kills on the night to lead the Spartan attack. Classmate Ashley Schatzle (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) closed out the match strong in the final two games, posting her 12th double-double of the season with 14 kills and 16 digs, while freshman Jenilee Rathje (Mount Pleasant, Mich./Mount Pleasant) had a career-high with 13 kills. Freshman Lauren O'Reilly (Langley, British Columbia/Pacific Academy) dished out 59 assists, also adding seven digs and five kills, and senior Miken Trogdon (Lisle, Ill./Wheaton St. Francis) posted a career-best 19 digs on the night.
The Badgers were held to a .222 hitting percentage, their second lowest total of the season.
The Spartans took the opening game 30-21, utilizing two early runs to open up a lead they would not relinquish. Johnson totaled 10 kills in the game, while O'Reilly dished out 14 assists. The Badgers opened up a 6-2 lead in the early goings but a 4-0 Spartan run, behind three Johnson kills tied the game at six. With the game still tied, this time at eight, MSU ran off five-straight to take control.
Wisconsin responded and took the second game 30-25. The game was a back-and-forth battle with the Badgers separating late. MSU took a 19-18 lead but Wisconsin closed on a 12-6 run to even the match at 1-1. Rathje totaled six kills in the game, while Johnson added four.
Behind a .359 hitting percentage in the third game, the Spartans edged the Badgers, 30-26. MSU had six players with a kill in the third game, led by five from Rathje and four each from Johnson and Schatzle. The game included 15 ties, the final being at 16. From there, the Spartans never trailed.
The fourth and final game was similar to the third, as it included 11 ties and eight lead changes, but in the end the Spartans were able to withstand the Badger pressure to take the game, 30-28. MSU took the biggest lead of the game at 14-10, but Wisconsin battled back to hold a 24-21 advantage. From that point on, neither team could widen a lead of more than one point. The see-saw battle ended with a kill by Schatzle and a block by senior Jessica Hohl (Waterville, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) and O'Reilly for the final two points.
The Spartans continue the weekend road trip tomorrow night in Illinois. First serve is set for 8 p.m. (ET).
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