Dec. 5, 2003
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Spartan volleyball fought its way to near victory, after trailing 0-2 behind Dayton from the start of Friday's match at Jenison Field House in East Lansing, only to fall to the Flyers in an intense tie-breaking game.
MSU struggled to gain ground in the first half of the contest, as Dayton dominated the first two games, posting 30-26, 30-26 victories.
The Spartans retaliated to emerge triumphantly, having sealed a slim 30-28 win over Dayton the third game.
Roaring fans watched the stakes heighten in the fourth game, when MSU seized a 30-25 victory to tie the match.
State continued to deliver a potent threat throughout the fifth game, but relinquished a 4-3 lead to the Flyers, who clinched a 15-8 win to advance to the second round of the tournament.
"It's tough to lose, especially for our seniors, who have meant so much to this program and have so many wonderful moments in their career," said head coach Chuck Erbe. "I think the last thing in the world you want to do is lose in the first round. I thought they were courageous in the effort in coming back and taking it to a fifth game. I'm very proud of all of them for doing that and fighting as hard as they did. They showed a great deal of character tonight and competitive fervor tonight."
The Spartans' senior setter, Nikki Colson, posted 72 assists in the match, re-setting the season assist record at MSU (1,585), which she claimed last year. Colson also finished her career at State as the all-time assist leader with 4,563 throughout her four years.
As a team, MSU hit .333 in the match (85K-25E-180TA), through the Spartans made nine costly service errors and an equal number of receiving errors. In contrast, Dayton hit .314 (81K-22E-188TA) in the match, with six service errors and three receiving errors. The Flyers played a perfect fifth game, with 10 kills and no errors on 14 attacks, for a .714 attack percentage.
Shanna Pressler hit .613 with 20 kills and three blocks for Dayton, while Shannon Gardner and Erin Tradway each posted 15 kills in the match.
This marks the first-ever NCAA tournament win for Dayton for the Flyers' head coach Tim Horsmon. Dayton is slated to face Nebraska at Jenison Field House on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. in Jenison Field House.