Wicinski named MVP in 3-0 Butler Invitational

Senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski fell short of hitting the 2,000 kill mark over the weekend, but it didn’t matter as the Spartans (8-1 overall) won the Butler Invitational behind her MVP performance.

Wicinski’s 45 kills led the Spartans to 3-0 sweeps over IPFW on Friday and Illinois State and Butler on Saturday.

Wicinski was named tournament MVP, and senior middle blocker Alexis Mathews and junior libero Kori Moster were named to the All-Tournament team.

The Spartans now are riding a six-game winning streak and have won their last 13 sets.

It started with a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-15, 25-18) over IPFW during the tournament opener. Junior outside hitter Taylor Galloway had a double-double (11 kills, 14 digs) Wicinski had 15 kills, and junior defensive specialist Ryian Hubbard had a career-high 17 assists.

Though Wicinski got the offense moving early with seven kills in the first set, it was the defense that won the match. The Spartans held IPFW to a .035 hitting percentage, and IPFW’s top hitter junior Emily Spencer was held to six kills.

MSU pushed their winning streak to five games Saturday with a 3-0 sweep over head coach Cathy George’s alma mater, Illinois State. Wicinski had 13 kills, and freshman middle blocker Allyssah Fitterer and freshman middle blocker Autumn Christenson each had eight kills. Fitterer also had three blocks, two of which were solo.

Game two was a game of runs for both sides. After winning the first set 25-17, the Redbirds opened the second set on a 5-1 run. MSU answered with its own 5-1 run, but the Redbirds responded with a 6-2 run that triggered an MSU timeout.

After some back-and-forth, MSU took the match with a 10-4 run.

Set three was more of the same. MSU took an early 14-7 lead, but the Redbirds scored seven of the next eight — cutting the Spartan lead to 15-14. MSU added five points to the score, the Illinois State refused to stand down as they carved the lead to 22-20. MSU closed the game on a 3-0 run with two of the kills coming from Wicinski.

MSU won the tournament with a 3-0 win over Butler. Wicinski had 17 kills and four digs, Galloway had 11 kills and six digs, and Mathews added nine kills.

Wicinski now just needs 10 kills to reach the 2,000 kill milestone. She will have the opportunity to do so in front of a home crowd this weekend when MSU hosts the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational. MSU will play Eastern Michigan Friday night and Duquesne and Cincinnati on Saturday.

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