Spartan Volleyball Drops 3-2 Decision To Utah In NCAA Tournament First Round
Dec. 1, 2006
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Michigan State volleyball team (19-12) suffered a season-ending loss to Utah (28-3) on Friday night in the opening round of the 2006 Division I Women's Volleyball Championship Tournament at Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA. Utah won by scores of 30-25, 27-30, 20-30, 30-28 and 15-11.
"This was a hard-fought match, and it shows that our team is taking the necessary steps to have the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament every year," Spartan head coach Cathy George said. "We were well aware of Utah's blocking abilities and knew that we would need to move the ball around a great deal to be successful. I felt like we were fairly tentative in game one, but we continued to move the ball around more as the match went on, and we became much more aggressive which really helped our attack. Our team has a very good ability to hit the out-of-system ball, and after we made the adjustments against their block, we had great success with our offensive game plan."
Outside hitter Ashley Schatzle contributed her fifth double-double of the season, posting 18 kills and 15 digs, while setter Allison Ianni also registered a double-double with 68 assists and 12 digs for the Green and White. Katie Johnson tallied a match-high 21 kills, while Jessica Hohl added a career high with 20 in the match.
"We felt really good after the win in game three, but Utah really got into system and put together a strong run to finish the game and give them momentum for the rest of the match," Johnson said. "We did adjust very well to their block in the middle, and we were able to find our offensive rhythm for most of the match."
Utah won the battle at the net, posting 16.5 total blocks against 13.0 by the Spartan defenders. Freshman middle blocker Vanessa King paced the Green and White with eight block assists, while Hohl and Ianni added five and four, respectively. The Spartan backcourt combined for 78 digs in the match, where libero Nicole Colaluca posted a season high with 27, and defensive specialists Miken Trogdon and Melany Rarey each contributed eight for MSU.
Kathryn Lovell paced the Utah offense with 20 kills, while Airial Salvo and Emillie Toone added 15 and 12, respectively. Toone led all defenders with one block solo and 11 block assists in the match.
The teams matched points to open game five, but Utah scored four straight to lead 5-1 and force the first Spartan timeout of the set. Utah scored the first point out of the break, but Johnson halted the streak with a ball down the line to pull MSU within four at 6-2. A block assist from Hohl and King, and consecutive attack errors by the Utes pulled State within one at 7-6. Utah placed a ball down the line and King followed with a tip over the outstretched hands of the Utah defenders to hold the lead at 8-7. The teams matched two-point runs to push the score to 10-9, but Utah capitalized on three Spartan attack errors late in the set to close the match with a 15-11 victory.
The teams matched points early in game one before Utah put together a 3-1 run to lead 15-13 at the halfway point of the set. State scored three of the next four, and the teams matched points five times to knot the score at 21-21. Utah scored three straight behind the service of Kate Robinson, and finished the set on a 6-4 run to win the opening game of the night, 30-25. MSU out-hit the Utes, .333-.306, and tallied 19 kills against 16 by the Utah offense. Johnson and Schatzle paced the Green and White with five kills each, while Ianni contributed two kills and 17 assists in the set.
State answered a 5-2 Utah run by scoring six of the next eight to pull ahead 8-7 early in game two. A Hohl and Ianni block assist pushed the Spartan lead to 16-11, but Utah rallied, scoring five of the next seven to pull within one at 17-16. A Rarey ace and Utah attack error extended the Spartan lead to 25-22, and State helds its lead down the stretch to even the match at one game apiece with a 30-27 game-two victory. Johnson added five kills, while Hohl and King added four and three, respectively, in the set. The Spartan backcourt combined for 22 digs, led by a strong performance from Colaluca with nine in game two.
Utah used its first timeout, trailing the Spartans 9-4 early in game three. State scored three straight out of the break, and put together a 9-4 run behind the service of Colaluca to take a dominating 21-8 lead. Utah challenged the Spartan advantage with a 6-1 run to pull within nine at 29-20, but Schatzle tallied her sixth kill of the set to clinch the 30-20 Spartan win. Hohl and Schatzle each contributed six kills, while Ianni spread out 14 assists in the set. Hohl tallied three block assists to anchor a strong game three for State at the net, as the Green and White combined for 3.0 total blocks in the set.
Trailing 14-8, Michigan State put together a 4-2 run to pull within four of Utah's lead at 16-12 in game four. The Utes answered with a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 21-14, but State scored six of the next nine to pull within four at 26-22 to force the final Utah timeout of the set. The teams matched two-point runs, but the Utes claimed the final point of game four, forcing a deciding fifth game with a 30-28 victory.
With the loss, Michigan State is eliminated from postseason play and finishes the season with a 19-12 overall record.
at the official