It was no nonsense night for the MSU volleyball team on Friday, as they swept Iowa in three sets (25-20, 25-16, 25-18).
It was an important victory for the Spartans, as it gives them a chunk of momentum to carry into Saturday’s game against No. 4 Nebraska.
“Tonight will definitely give us fuel (for tomorrow night),” junior middle blocker Alexis Mathews said.
Although the Spartans (18-7 overall, 6-7 Big Ten) never surrendered a lead in the first set, the back-and-forth action made it a nail-biter for all involved.
The Hawkeyes (10-16, 2-11) kept the Spartans within three points for the better part of the second set, until the Green and White pulled away to take a 23-19 lead. The widened gap started after a floor-breaking kill by junior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski to give MSU its 18th point.
That play was followed with a block solo by junior middle blocker Alexis Mathews to give MSU a 19-17 lead, and it never looked back.
The Spartans wasted no time getting on the board, jumping out to a decisive 7-1 lead. A kill by Wicinski that slammed Iowa’s libero Bethany Yeager in the face summed up the entire set for the Hawkeyes, as they fell to the Spartans 25-16.
Senior outside hitter Amy Dentlinger led the attack, throwing down five kills.
After the standard ten-minute break, Iowa stepped up to start the third set, grabbing an early 6-3 lead. The Hawkeyes held the surging Spartans back for most of the set, but they finally started to pull away after a kill by sophomore middle blocker Jazmine White, giving MSU a 19-15 lead.
The Spartans once again held their late-set lead, as they took the final set, 25-18.
The match might have been a convincing sweep to many in attendance, but it wasn’t the prettiest game under head coach Cathy George’s standards.
“I didn’t think it was a pretty match, but we regrouped when we needed to and put a stop on (Iowa) when we needed to as well,” head coach Cathy George said.
Wicinski led the offense with 13 kills, and Dentlinger had a solid game with 12 kills on a .647 hitting percentage.
“I just went out there and tried my best, but maybe some of it was because it was Iowa,” Dentlinger said, as she is an Iowa native.
Mathews led the team at the net with her three blocks and chipped in on offense as well with seven kills. Sophomore libero Kori Moster had a team-high 14 digs on the night.
The Spartans return to action at 8 p.m. on Saturday, as Nebraska invades East Lansing.