Nov. 4, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Michigan State volleyball team (18-7, 7-6 Big Ten) swept past Iowa (11-15, 1-12 Big Ten), 3-0, on Friday, Nov. 4 in Iowa City, Iowa, to open the first of four straight road contests. For MSU, seniors Jenilee Rathje and Kyndra Abron, and sophomore Alexis Mathews each tallied double-digit kill numbers against the Hawkeyes.
"It was nice to start out the weekend with a win," said MSU head coach Cathy George. "In a quiet gym, it was important for the team to stay focused all night, and for the most part, they did that. What I really liked tonight was the way the team distributed the ball. Having three attackers in double digits is always a nice thing. However, I would have liked to have seen the middle set just a little bit more. We need to make sure we get rested, and begin to prepare for a tough match tomorrow against a taught Nebraska."
In a set in which the Green and White led by as many as nine points, the Spartans struggled to open up the match. MSU dropped the first two points of the match before posting its first point on the night. The Green and White clawed back to post its first lead of the night at 5-4, before once again trading service with the Hawkeyes. The first multi-point lead for MSU occurred at 11-9, just before Iowa called its first timeout of the night at 14-10. After three of four fell in favor of the Green and White, the Hawkeyes called their final timeout of the set, 17-11. The Spartans pushed its lead to nine at 22-13 before finally claiming the opening set, 25-18. Rathje and Abron were the top attackers in the set with five kills, while freshman Taylor Galloway anchored the defense with four digs.
The Spartans stormed out to a quick 4-0 lead to open the second set, and never looked back. The lead continued to grow, reaching seven at 15-8 when Iowa called its first timeout of set two. At 20-9, the Hawkeyes called their final timeout of the set with the Green and White leading by 11 points. Michigan State turned its largest lead of the match of 14 at 23-9, before taking set two from Iowa, 25-12. Mathews paced both squads in set two with five kills. Galloway again paced the set with four digs.
Michigan State looked to make quick work of the Hawkeyes by taking an early 10-4 lead in set three, forcing an Iowa timeout. The Spartans matched their largest lead of the set of six at 13-7, but Iowa managed to crawl back within one at 20-19. With the lead still dwindling to one at 22-21, MSU called its lone timeout of the night. The Green and White completed the sweep of Iowa with a 25-21 third set win. Rathje returned to the kill leader column as she tallied five to close out the match. Freshman Kori Moster was the defensive leader with four digs.
Rathje led the all individuals on the night with 13 kills, while Abron netted 11 and Mathews 10. Senior Natalie Emro dished out a match-high 26 assists, while sophomore Kristen Kelsay chipped in 10. Moster led the Green and White in the service game, as she tallied a career-best four aces. Defensively, Galloway was the top digger for MSU with her career-best 10 digs. Moster chipped in an additional eight for the Spartans. At the net, Mathews led all individuals with four blocks on the night.
The Spartans return to action tomorrow (Nov. 5) when they travel to No. 2 Nebraska to close out the road trip at 8:30 p.m. ET. The match will mark MSU's first in Lincoln, Neb., since Sept. 13, 2003.