Volleyball Loses Senior Night Gut-Wrencher to No. 12 Minnesota, 3-2
Nov. 21, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - In seniors Vanessa King (Spring Lake, Mich.) and Mischelle Nelson's (Naperville, Ill.) final home match of the their careers, the Michigan State volleyball team (17-13, 5-13 Big Ten) fell in a 3-2 gut-wrencher to No. 12 Minnesota on Saturday, Nov. 21. The loss marked the Spartans' first against a team ranked 12th at the time of the match, having won their first two opportunities. Sophomore Kyndra Abron (Livonia, Mich.) recorded a team-high 17 kills on the night, while hitting .406.
To begin the first set, neither team was unable to gain advantage as the set was tied at nine. The Spartans slowly began to gain the advantage over Minnesota, leading 15-12. However, after the Golden Gophers took four of five points, the set was once again tied at 16. MSU responded with a four-of-five point rally itself, leading 20-17. Michigan State ended up taking the first set 25-23. Abron tallied a set-high six kills on nine attacks to open the match.
The second set began with the two teams tied at five. The Spartans grew the lead to four with the score 13-9. Michigan State expanded the lead to eight after a kill by sophomore Becca Zlabis (Wheaton, Ill.), 22-15. The second set was closed out by a kill from King to bring the score to 25-21. King and Abron each tallied four kills in the second set.
Following intermission, the Spartans jumped out early on the Golden Gophers, leading 6-2. However, after scoring eight of 10 points, Minnesota found itself leading MSU, 10-8. Michigan State regained the lead with the score 13-12. Minnesota wound up taking the third set by a score of 25-21. Junior Megan Schatzle's (Monroe, Mich.) five kills led all attackers in the third set.
Once again, neither team was able to gain control of the third set as the two teams were tied at seven. Minnesota finally found the momentum as it took a four-point lead over MSU, 15-11. The Golden Gophers continued its strong set as it finished the fourth set with a score of 25-19. Nelson and Abron led MSU with four kills in the set.
MSU trailed early in the fifth set, 5-1. However, the Spartans pulled the match within one with the score 8-7. Minnesota, on the other hand, did not fold under the pressure as it closed out the match by winning the fifth set 15-12. Sophomore Jenilee Rathje (Mount Pleasant, Mich.) led all MSU attackers with three kills in the final set.
Abron also led all Spartans with her four blocks on the night. Nelson and King each ended the night with 10 kills apiece. Schatzle ended the night with 14 kills. King led all attackers with her .588 attack percentage, committing no errors on the night. Sophomore Natalie Emro (Wildwood, Mo.) quarterbacked the offense for the Spartans with her 54 assists. Junior Allyson Karaba (Muskegon, Mich.) led both teams with two service aces and 23 digs.
And the conclusion of the match, King and Nelson were honored four their four years of hard work and determination towards the Spartan program. For head coach Cathy George, this marked the graduation of her first recruiting class at Michigan State.
The Spartans will close of the regular season on Thanksgiving weekend when they travel to University Park, Pa. on Friday, Nov. 27, for its return match with No. 1 Penn State. The following night, Nov. 28, MSU will close out the regular season against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
at the official