Wicinski reaches 2,000 kills as MSU beats EMU
Sixteen straight home non-conference wins, 16 straight undefeated sets, 16 kills from senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski. It’s a night of victory — and a night of 16’s — for the streaking Spartans.
For Wicinski, the 3-0 sweep against Eastern Michigan was even sweeter. She cracked the 2,000 career kills barrier in the second set. With the last kill of the game, she tied former MSU volleyball player Veronica Morales for second on the all-time MSU career kills list with 2,006.
Wicinski is the third MSU player to reach 2,000 career kills and only the ninth in Big Ten history.
“It feels amazing,” Wicinski said. “The support that was here tonight to support me was just awesome. I couldn’t do it without my team, my teammates and these girls. It’s just so special that they were able to help me accomplish this.”
It was the first and second milestone in what is shaping up to be a historic year for the dominant senior. Standing 25 on the all-time NCAA career kills list is former UCLA player Kristee Porter with 2,255.
Looking at Wicinski’s season kill totals for her first three years, cracking top 25 all-time all-time in the NCAA record book isn’t out of the question.
This was no surprise to volleyball head coach Cathy George, who has praised Wicinski’s style of play several times this season.
“Lauren has the kind of attitude that you need as an attacker,” George said. “You need to have that aggressive, stay in the moment, looking to just score whenever we can. She’s that type of player, and therefore she’s put herself in the position to achieve these types of goals.”
Halle Peterson returned from meniscus tear surgery to play her first game of the season. She had 11 kills on the night.
“Halle’s been really great with her rehab and she’s been coming along and going through a lot of different tests with the training staff to make sure she’s ready to go out there and play,” George said, adding that Halle was a little nervous in her return. “She’s been doing a very nice job.”
Senior middle blocker Alexis Mathews started the first set by scoring the first kill of the night — her first of nine kills. Eastern Michigan kept the score close before MSU scored five straight to take a 17-10 lead. MSU remained in control as they cruised to a 25-18 set one victory.
MSU kept the momentum rolling in set two as they scored the first three points. Eastern Michigan responded with a run of their own, eventually taking a 9-10 lead. The score was tight until MSU went on a 5-1 run to take a 22-17 lead. The Spartans went on to win the second set, 25-19.
Set three was much smoother for the Spartans. After some back and fourth, MSU went on a 9-3 run to take a 19-13 lead. After some sloppy play on both sides of the court, MSU took the third set, 25-18.
The Spartans will take their 16-game non-conference home winning streak to Jenison tomorrow as they take on Duquesne at noon and Cincinatti at 7:30 p.m.
With tomorrow’s games being the last two before Big Ten play starts, George wants the team to continue to prepare for what’s sure to be a challenging oncoming schedule.
“We want to keep getting better every single weekend, keep our minds on the process and what we’ll try to accomplish to prepare ourselves for a very tough week,” George said. “All of the teams are doing will in the Big Ten, they’re all pushing through. We’re just focused on our improvement and looking at the next stage, looking at what the next goal is, and keeping it there.”