Nov. 5, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. - The Michigan State volleyball team (18-8, 7-7 Big Ten) dropped a tough 3-0 match to No. 2 Nebraska (20-2, 13-1 Big Ten) in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday, Nov. 4. Senior Jenilee Rathje led the Green and White on the night with her 14th straight double-digit kill night with 11.
The Spartans, in a new venue, appeared sluggish out of the gates, falling behind early to the Cornhuskers, 3-1. Nebraska continued offensively with a 7-2 lead, causing an MSU timeout. The Green and White could not get back into the set offensively, allowing the lead to grow to eight at 14-6 with the second timeout called. The Cornhuskers posted its first double-digit lead of the match at 16-6 before finally closing out the opening frame, 25-11. Sophomore Alexis Mathews led the Spartans with three kills, while freshman Kori Moster tallied a team-high three digs.
MSU took the opening point of set two, but dropped eight of the next nine to fall behind by six at 8-2, causing the first timeout to be called. The Spartans saw their scored doubled at 14-7, but took eight of 12 to get back within three at 18-15. Nebraska remained strong for the duration of set two, claiming the set, 25-18. Rathje returned to the MSU leaderboard with a set-high six kills. Moster led all individuals with a high of four digs.
After dropping the first two points of set three, MSU began to trade service with the Cornhuskers for the next few points, until the score became 10-6 in favor of Nebraska, causing the Green and White to call a timeout. The Spartans responded following the break with three straight, forcing a Cornhusker timeout to be called at 10-9. Michigan State continued its run with the score 11-15, causing a Nebraska timeout to be called. The MSU run concluded with the score 11-16 after a 10-1 streak. The Cornhuskers responded with five straight to tie the set up at 16, just as the final Green and White timeout was called. Michigan State again pushed the lead to two at 19-21, but Nebraska tied it up at 21. After MSU took its final lead of the night at 21-22 before Nebraska closed out the match 25-23. Rathje was joined by classmate Kyndra Abron in the kills column with four each. Moster led both squads with eight digs for the final set.
Recording the second-most kills on the night for Michigan State was Mathews with six. Defensively, Moster tallied a team-best 10 digs, while sophomore Kristen Kelsay chipped in eight. Kelsay was the top ball distributor for the Green and White, as she recorded 18 assists. Mathews was the leading defender at the net with her three blocks.
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 9 for an 8 p.m. contest against Minnesota on the road. The match will be aired live on the Big Ten Network, with Mike Wolf and Megan Bower on the call.