Nov. 22, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State dropped a four-set battle to visiting No. 15 Wisconsin on Friday night at Jenison Field House (25-22, 20-25, 21-25, 23-25). No. 17 MSU falls to 20-9 on the year and 9-8 in the Big Ten, while Wisconsin becomes the first team to defeat MSU twice this season and improves to 21-8, 10-7 in Big Ten Conference play.
MSU out-blocked the Badgers by a wide margin (13.5-4.5), but hit just .179 in the match. Wisconsin hit .246 on the night and had three in double-digit kills, including 18 from Ellen Chapman and 14 from Deme Morales. Freshman Lauren Carlini had 43 assists and 15 digs.
For the Spartans, Lauren Wicinski had 11 kills, seven digs, three assists, and two aces; freshman Allyssah Fitterer had 10 kills, four blocks, and a pair of digs while hitting a team-best .350. Alexis Mathews had a match-high seven blocks to go with eight kills, and Kori Moster had a match-high 17 digs.
MSU took a 6-1 lead to open the match- aided by three Badger errors - forcing the visitors into a timeout. Coming out of the break, MSU forced another UW error, got an ace from Galloway, and a big block from Mathews and Reinig, pushing the Badger staff into another timeout, trailing 9-1. The Badgers fought back into it to cut the Spartan lead to 14-9, but found it difficult to get closer than four points. MSU built its lead back up to seven points at 23-16, on a kill by Fitterer, a Wicinski ace, and another error by the Badgers. UW countered by scoring six of the next seven points, which cut the Spartan lead to 24-22, and four times denied MSU the set-sealing point before a back-row attack by Wicinski finally closed out the set for MSU. The Spartans hit .354 in the first set, while Wisconsin fought back from an early -.450 hitting percentage to hit .156. Deme Morales had five kills to lead all scorers and also added three digs, while Wicinski had four kills and four digs for MSU.
Much as MSU did in the opening set, the Badgers built an early lead in the second with assistance from three Spartan errors. The Spartans kept clawing back into the match, cutting the Badger lead to three at 16-13, with big kills from the freshmen Fitterer and Reinig. Wisconsin scored the next three points to extend their lead back to six points, but the determined Spartans would not relent, countering with their own three-point run, on a kill and a block by Fitterer to cut the score to 19-16. The teams traded points, and MSU got it to another three-point deficit at 23-20, but the visitors closed out the second set on back-to-back hitting errors by MSU to knot the match at a set apiece. Wicinski and Fitterer each had four kills in the set, but as a team the Spartans hit just .058 in the second frame, compared to .258 for UW.
Chapman opened the third set by scoring three of her team's first five points, and helping the Badgers build to an 8-3 lead. The Spartans three times trimmed their deficit to two points, but UW was able to pull ahead by five points at 15-10 and force MSU into a time out. The pattern of MSU getting close kept repeating itself, as the Badgers refused the Spartans every time they got within two points and went for more. With MSU threatening at 19-17, Wisconsin called a timeout; the Badgers came out of the stoppage and halted MSU's run with back-to-back points to push their lead to four. Mathews cut the lead to three with an emphatic roof, but the Badgers countered with their third block of the match. A UW error and a Kuipiers kill again pulled MSU within a pair at 22-20, forcing the visitors into another timeout. Wisconsin came out of that timeout with two straight points, forcing MSU into an error and getting a long kill from Morales that just kissed the back left corner. Kuipers pulled MSU back within three with a solo block on Morales, but the junior had the last word and delivered set point with her 10th kill of the night to give Wisconsin a 2-1 match lead. MSU struggled with a .114 hitting percentage in the set, while UW hit .297; Wicinski was limited to just one kill on 12 swings, while on the other side Chapman had eight kills for the Badgers.
A 8-2 run for the visitors (five on kills by three different players) after an early 4-2 lead for MSU gave the Badgers a 10-6 lead, forcing MSU into a timeout. Fitterer stopped the run with a kill on a slide, starting a 6-2 MSU run that tied the match at 13. MSU committed three straight errors to allow the visitors to pull ahead by three, 16-13. With UW leading 17-15, Mathews recorded her eighth kill, followed by a block with Fitterer, to knot the score at 17. The teams each traded their next two points each to knot the score at 19-19; Wisconsin went on a 5-1 run to get to match point at 24-20, but MSU countered with back-to-back points on kills by Reinig and Galloway and called timeout, trailing 24-22. Mathews blocked Morales to pull within a point at 24-23, but Thomas put it away for the Badgers with a kill from the right side.
MSU will host Minnesota on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The four Spartan seniors will be honored in a post-match ceremony. Women's basketball ticketholders may present their tickets for the 7:30 p.m. game vs. Rice for admission into the volleyball match, while volleyball ticketholders can present their ticket stub for admission into the basketball game following the volleyball match.