Nov. 19, 2000
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Michigan State almost found a way to pull off an upset of No. 8 Minnesota in Minneapolis on Saturday night but fell in four, 13-15, 15-10, 14-16, 8-15. The Spartans fall to 16-11 on the season, 9-9 in the Big Ten, while the Gophers are now 27-2 overall, 16-2 in the conference.
The Spartans were led by junior outside hitter Erin Hartley with 19 kills, 11 digs and eight blocks, and freshman outside hitter Jenny Rood with 17 kills, 13 digs and three blocks. Senior middle Sarah Gustin had another big night in the middle with nine kills, eight digs and eight blocks, while redshirt sophomore middle Angela Morley added six kills and seven blocks. Senior setter Christie Landry was solid with 54 assists, a season-high 18 digs and seven blocks.
As a team, MSU tallied a season-high tying 21 blocks to Minnesota's 15. The Spartans were outhit .216-.211 but outdug the Gophers 84-76.
The Spartans got out fast in the first game, taking a 4-1 lead. Lindsey Berg came up to the service line and served the Gophers back into the game at 4-4. The Spartans then went on a 6-1 run to take a commanding 10-5 lead. After a Minnesota timeout back came the Gophers, eventually tying things up at 11. After two more ties at 12 and 13, UM took the 14-13 lead off a Spartan hitting error and won the game on a kill down the line. The Spartans outhit Minnesota .382-.306 and outblocked the Gophers 4-1. Rood led State with five kills, while Gustin added three kills and two blocks. MSU had three block solos in the game.
Michigan State got out to another quick start in the second game, serving and passing its way to a 9-3 lead. Minnesota got back to within one at 10-9 after outscoring the Spartans 6-1. A service ace by junior back row player Lisa Ashton and a block solo by Hartley got MSU back on track and up three at 12-9. After trading four sideouts, consecutive hitting errors by the Gophers put the Spartans at game point but an MSU hitting error gave the Gophers one last chance. Rood got the Spartans their final sideout and final game point with big kills at the net. MSU again outhit the Gophers .209-.131 and outblocked them 7-3. Rood and Hartley both led State with four kills, while Hartley and Landry each added three blocks.
State fell behind to start the third game, 2-6, but rallied behind the strong serving of freshman setter Nikki Colson, who served six straight points, including two service aces, to give the Spartans an 8-6 lead. Michigan State then played its way to a 12-8 lead behind kills by Hartley and blocks by Gustin and Landry. The teams traded sideouts back and forth but it was the Gophers coming up with the points, eventually tying the score at 12. MSU sided out and used a Minnesota hitting error and block assists by Morley and Hartley to get to 14-12. After trading five sideouts, Lindsey Berg came up to serve for the Gophers and proceeded to serve four straight points, including three service aces, to steal the game, 16-14. Hartley led the Spartans with six kills in the game. Minnesota outhit MSU .246-.229 but State still won the blocking battle, 6-3.
The fourth game was all Minnesota as the Gophers took a commanding 7-3 lead and never relinquished, cruising to a 15-8 win and the match. Berg added another three service aces in the game as MSU hit just .091 to UM's .197. Hartley had seven more kills in the game. MSU was outblocked 8-4.
The Spartans return to action at home next weekend against Northwestern on Friday, Nov. 24 and Wisconsin on Nov. 25. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.