Nov. 8, 2013
Evanston, Ill. - Michigan State battled back from a 1-0 deficit to take the next three sets and defeat Northwestern, 3-1, (24-26, 25-21, 25-13, 25-14) at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Friday night. MSU sweeps the season series from the Wildcats and improves to 19-6 overall and is 8-5 in Big Ten play; Northwestern is now 14-11, and falls to 6-7 in B1G play.
Kori Moster's 24 digs allowed her to surpass Veronica Morales (1994-97) and become MSU's all-time digs leader. With 1,492 career digs, Moster ranks 22nd all-time in the Big Ten annals, with at least seven regular-season games remaining in her junior season.
Lauren Wicinski hit .326 on 17 kills, recording four blocks (three solo), three aces, and eight digs. MSU's freshmen had impressive nights as well, as both Chloe Reinig and Allyssah Fitterer had double-digit kill efforts; Fitterer hit a match-best .786, getting 12 kills, two digs, and an assist. Reinig had 12 kills and two blocks.
The teams were engaged in a tight battle, but MSU got most of its offense from Reinig and Mathews early - the pair had seven of MSU's first nine kills. Tied at 12-all, MSU was hitting .599 and the hosts .615. The teams traded one-and-two point leads, with NUgetting to set point at 24-22 on Kayla Morin and Maggie Burnham kills, but the Spartans countered with a Fitterer kill and a block by Taylor Galloway and Autumn Christenson to knot the score at 24. Northwestern stormed right back to take the lead on a Dutchman kill, then an MSU error gave NU the 26-24 opening-set victory. Reinig had five kills in the opening set, while Fitterer and Wicinski had four each.
In the second set, the Spartans held a 7-5 lead, which was erased by a four-point Wildcat rally. As they did in the opening set, the teams put together small rallies and traded one-and -two point leads. MSU finally took a three-point lead at 21-18 and 23-20, as both Mathews and Galloway registered a pair of kills. The home tea was able to trim it to two points, but Fitterer got the sideout for MSU, and Christenson registered a wicked cross-court shot that sealed the set for MSU and tied the match at one set each.
In the third set, the Spartans opened up a 10-4 lead, getting a pair of kills from both Reinig and Wicinski and some Wildcat errors to aid the cause. The home team tried to cut back into the lead, eventually getting it to 15-10 in favor of MSU; however, the Spartans kept their foot on the gas, using a 10-3 run to close out the third set with a 25-13 win.
The Spartans carried over that mojo into the fourth set, taking a commanding 12-4 lead. The fans were treated to some entertaining rallies as the `Cats tried to fight back into the match, but the Spartans had simply switched into another gear after the intermission - the Spartans had a balanced attack and contributions from every player as they coasted to the 25-14 win in the final set.
The Spartans return to the court on Saturday evening, taking on Illinois in Champaign at 8 p.m. eastern. The game will air live on the Big Ten Digital Network.