Dec. 1, 2017
WATCH: NCAA First Round Highlights vs. Missouri State
| Photo Gallery
| PDF Box: Michigan State 3, Missouri State 0
No. 12 Michigan State opened the 2017 NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 sweep of No. 25 Missouri State (25-19, 25-11, 25-15). The Spartans are now 22-8, and advance to the second round of the Tournament for the seventh straight season.
The Spartans and Bears played a relatively tight first set, with the Spartans prevailing by six, 25-19. Michigan State limited their opponent to just 13 kills over the next to sets (13-12-61), and out-blocked the Bears 14-3 on the day. Meanwhile, the Spartans took care of business offensively, bettering their hitting percentage in every set (.289, .364, 375) for a match hitting percentage of .340 - the sixth time in the last eight matches that MSU has hit .300 or better.
Senior co-captain Alyssa Garvelink had 12 kills, hit .526, and put up a match-best seven blocks, while Brooke Kranda hit .308 and matched Garvelink's 12 kills. Kranda added six aces, four digs, and a pair of stuffs.
Rachel Minarick had 35 assists, eight digs, and tied her season best with six blocks, including one solo. Autumn Bailey just missed a double-double with nine kills, 10 digs, and tying her season best with three blocks.
Aubrey Cheffey had nine kills in the match for the Bears, hitting .439 (9-2-16). She was the only player with two swings or more to finish with a positive hitting percentage. Lynsey Wright had four kills and three blocks.
The Spartans will advance to Saturday's round of 32 and take on the winner of No. 15 Creighton and Coastal Carolina. Match time is 6 pm CT/7 pm ET.
"Missouri State is a team that plays great defense, and we knew that we had our work cut out for us. I think we did a great job of executing our game plan, and I think our serve was on tonight, which helped us get a bit of separation. We knew that we had to be aggressive and play clean, and I thought we did a good job of that. Once you get in the Tournament, there's no bad teams - there's teams that are going to pose a challenge every single game and we want to be ready for that challenge again tomorrow."
- Head Coach Cathy George
"We knew that Missouri State was a good team and that we were going to have to play defense and aggressive volleyball. We knew that we would have to defend things that they threw at us, because they were a strong scrappy team that was going to make us work. There's maybe a bit of extra jitters or weight on your shoulders because as a senior, you know that this is your last go-round. I think you could see it on the court that we were playing with an extra sense of urgency because its important to us to go out on a high note."
- Senior Setter Rachel Minarick
Alyssa Garvelink had 12 kills and seven blocks, hitting .526
Brooke Kranda had 12 kills, six aces, four digs, and two blocks. She hit .308.
Rachel Minarick had 35 assists, eight digs, and a season-best six blocks (one solo).
STATS AND STORYLINES
The Spartans had nine service aces on the night, one shy of their season best in a match. The season high of 10 was accomplished three times, most recently at Rutgers (Oct. 14)
Michigan State finished the match with 14 blocks, its second double-digit kill match in the last three and eighth on the season. It was also MSU's season high, bettering the 13 at Notre Dame (Sept. 15)
Missouri State brought a 21-match winning streak into the match. The Bears finish the 2017 season at 28-6.
The Spartans dealt Missouri State its first 3-0 loss of the season. The Spartans are now 17-2 in three-set affairs.
Autumn Bailey just missed a double-double with nine kills and 10 digs, and tied her season best with three blocks.
Megan Tompkins has six blocks and hit .750 (3-0-4).
SET ONE: Michigan State opened the match with a block at the left pin by Garvelink and Kranda for the first point of the game, but the teams traded leads and remained within two points of one another. Tied at 9-9, MSU put together a 7-1 run that gave the Spartans a 15-10 lead - the largest of the day - at the media time out. Missouri State scored back-to-back points out of the break, but Bailey put down a thundering kill to get the sideout. The Bears called their first time out trailing 18-13, as Michigan State built to the lead with 12 kills and just one error, hitting .367. The Spartans held that five-point edge, and briefly made it six on a line shot by Garvelink, but Missouri State trimmed it down to three (21-18), and Michigan State called time out. Out of the break, the Spartans got two quick points - thanks to a kill and a block by Kranda - that again established a five-point edge for the Spartans. A Missouri State service error gave the Spartans set point at 24-19, and Kranda served up an ace to close it out. MSU hit .289 for the frame after a couple of late errors, but had five blocks and a pair of aces. Kranda had five kills, two blocks and two digs, while Holly Toliver had three kills on five swings and hit better than .400. Garvelink had three blocks to lead all players. Bears go-to Lily Johnson had five kills.
SET TWO: Missouri State matched its largest lead when it took a 3-1 lead in the second set, but the Spartans came back to take a three-point edge at 9-6 to force the Bears into calling their first time out of the match. Six points later, the Bears called their second time out, trailing 12-6. Toliver had given MSU the six-point edge with a service ace, and then served up a second straight to make it 13-6. Michigan State kept its foot on the gas and grew its lead to 18-9 as Garvelink was a handful for the Bears, compiling a four-point MSU run of her own on three kills and a block. With a 22-10 lead, Kranda delivered back-to-back aces to give her team set point, but the Bears got a tool off the block to fend off the Spartans. Garvelink closed it out on the ensuing swing to give Michigan State a 25-11 win in the second set. Garvelink had seven kills in the second set alone (7-0-8) and added two blocks, and Autumn Bailey had three kills and a pair of blocks as MSU hit .364, committing just two errors. Aubrey Cheffey had four of Missouri State's six kills in the set (6-6-31).
SET THREE: MSU put up two big blocks in the early part of the third set in establishing a three-point edge (8-5), and maintained that lead as the Bears continued to battle. MSU led 18-14, and then closed out the set on a 7-1 run as the Spartans' size and execution just proved to be too much for the Bears. Michigan State hit .375 in the set (16-4-32), and had four blocks in the frame to establish a new season best, and also had three more service aces to push its total to nine. Bailey led the Spartans with four kills. The Bears were limited to seven kills against six errors in the set, hitting .033. Aubrey Cheffey had four of the seven kills in the set for the Bears and finished with nine on the night, hitting .439 (9-2-16) - the only player with a hitting percentage over .000 with at least two swings.