It was a hard-fought weekend for the MSU volleyball team, but the Spartans left Indiana with one win and one heartbreaking loss on the weekend.
The Spartans (17-7 overall, 5-7 Big Ten) started their weekend in Bloomington, Ind., as they took on the Hoosiers (10-14, 2-10) Friday night. The Hoosiers, who came into the game with a two-game winning streak, took the first set from the Spartans, 26-24.
That would be the only set the Spartans would surrender, as they took the next three sets to win the match (24-26, 25-23, 25-20, 25-17).
The first two sets were a battle, but by the end it was all MSU as they held the Hoosiers to a .000 hitting percentage in the fourth set.
The Spartans headed out of cream and crimson country to travel north to face No. 21 Purdue (16-7, 7-5).
Earlier in the season, the Spartans fell to the Boilermakers in five sets, after previously leading the match 2-1. The Spartans carried those sour-tasting memories into Saturday’s game, but it was déjà vu as MSU fell in dramatic fashion, losing in five sets (25-16, 23-25, 30-32, 25-18 and 11-15).
Head coach Cathy George said the toughest aspect of the game was taking the loss after dominating most of the match.
“In every part of the game, we beat them in stats, including points scored,” George said.
Although the team takes another hit in the loss column, George was optimistic of what she saw during the thrilling match. The most notable positive George saw was how balanced the team played, rather than relying on one player to carry the workload.
Four players had over 10 kills on the match, including Wicinski, who led the team with 21 kills. Wicinski contributed to the Spartans’ attack with a double-double, with 13 kills and 13 digs.
The defense had a well-balanced effort as well, with three players above 10 digs, including sophomore libero Kori Moster, who led the team with 28 digs. Junior middle blocker Alexis Mathews was the leader of the block party at the net, giving the Spartans five blocks on the night.
It was a tough loss for the Spartans, but even being so late in the season, the team still learned something from its struggles on Saturday.
“We grew together more (this weekend),” Dentlinger said. “Anytime you get put on the line together, you grow more as a unit.”
This is the third weekend the Spartans have split a win and a loss in the Big Ten, but Moster sees the light in getting a taste of victory and defeat in the same weekend.
“It’s a difficult thing to go 2-0 in the Big Ten,” Moster said. “(Despite this weekend), we still know we are capable to (go 2-0) on the road.”
The Spartans have a chance to grab their first 2-0 Big Ten weekend this against Iowa on 6:30 p.m. Friday and against No. 4 Nebraska on Saturday.