Nov. 16, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Michigan State (22-7, 10-7 Big Ten) volleyball defeated Illinois (11-16, 5-12), 3-2 at Huff Hall on Friday night. The Spartans dropped the first two sets, both by scores of 23-25, but went on to win the final three, 25-17, 25-21 and 15-11. Four Spartans reached double digit kills and senior Amy Dentlinger had 16 on 26 attacks. Lauren Wicinski had 20 kills, while Kristen Kelsay recorded 36 assists and Kori Moster had 15 digs.
"This was big because Illinois was playing with their backs against the wall and I thought they played extremely well," head coach Cathy George said. "They were groveling for points. They came at us fast but we weathered the storm and then we started to focus on what we needed to control. We were obviously not on our game early but give credit to Illinois, they were playing very well."
MSU has now won five straight matches over Big Ten opponents.
Michigan State won the fifth and final set 15-11 after freshman Halle Peterson recorded her only service ace of the match. The Spartans led 8-4 as the teams switched sides and Illinois also used a timeout after an attack error. The Fighting Illini trailed 11-10 in the fifth but the Spartans closed the match on a 4-1 run. Wicinski notched two kills for MSU and Dentlinger had one from the right side before Peterson ended it with an ace.
The Spartans fell to the Fighting Illini 25-23 in the opening set and surrendered a 1-0 match lead. Michigan State fell behind 6-1 to open the match but went on a 4-0 run to even the match 9-9. The Spartans trailed 24-20 late in the set and fended off three straight set points with a kill from Jazmine White, an Illini error and a service ace from White. Illinois took a timeout and Liz McMahon responded with a kill from the Illini to end the set.
Neither team could separate themselves in the second set but the Fighting Illini escaped with a narrow 25-23 win to take a 2-0 match lead. The score was tied 22-22 before the Fighting Illini went on a 4-0 run to lead the match 24-22. Alexis Mathews and Amy Dentlinger combined for a block but Illinois recorded a kill for the final point.
MSU won game three 25-17 and trailed 2-1 in the match. The Spartans took a commanding 21-15 lead after back-to-back errors by Illinois and forced them to take a timeout. Kristen Kelsay recorded an ace to make it 22-15 and Amy Dentlinger recorded set point with a kill from the right side.
The Spartans forced a fifth set with a 25-21 win in set four, evening the match 2-2. Michigan State fell behind 3-2 but never trailed after that point. Michigan State took a 17-12 lead, its largest of the set, after a kill from Taylor Galloway. Amy Dentlinger had a kill to make it 23-19 in favor of MSU. Dentlinger ended the set with her 14th kill of the night and Michigan State evened the match 2-2.
Michigan State is back in action tomorrow night when it travels to face Northwestern at 8 p.m. ET.