The last regular season game for the Spartans wasn’t a step forward, but a rehash. Similar to of many of the losses that have plagued the last third of the season, MSU couldn’t capitalize on key opportunities. And it ultimately cost them the match.
In the final regular season game, the No. 19 MSU volleyball team fell to No. 20 Purdue on the road Saturday night in five sets (25-19, 20-25, 22-25, 25-22, 16-18).
Down 2-1, the Spartans (21-11 overall, 10-10 Big Ten) rallied and forced game five, but couldn’t take advantage of a 7-3 lead en route to falling to Purdue (20-11 overall, 11-9 Big Ten).
Senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski led MSU with 21 kills, 13 digs, and three blocks, giving her a double-double in the last two regular season games. Senior middle blocker Alexis Mathews had 11 kills and eight blocks, and senior outside hitter Kelsey Kuipers had a season-high eight kills and five blocks.
MSU took a 7-3 lead at the beginning of the first set and never let the lead go. The Boilers would score two-straight to cut the lad to two, but MSU went on off 11-5 run to increase the lead to 18-10.
Purdue trimmed the lead to six, going on a run to make the score 23-17. The Spartans took two of the next four points to win the first set, 25-19.
MSU led much of the second set until the Boilers took control late in the game, taking a 17-16 lead after a kill by Katie Griffin. The six-point run gave Purdue a 21-16 lead.
The Spartans picked up the offensive pace towards the end of the set, but Purdue matched each point to win the set, 25-20.
Purdue remained in control during set three, as early errors committed by MSU helped the Boilers take a 13-8 lead. Both teams went point-for-point until Purdue went on a 6-2 run to begin to close out the set with a 22-16 lead. MSU went on another late rally, but ultimately fell, 25-22.
MSU bounced back to take the fourth set, 25-22. Purdue kept it close early, but MSU scored four-straight to turn a 10-9 lead into a 14-9 advantage. MSU would score three of the next four points to increase the lead to 17-10, leading to a Purdue timeout.
Purdue went on a huge rally, outscoring MSU 9-3 to trim the lead to one, 20-19. But MSU held on, scoring five of the last eight to win, 25-22.
Tied 2-2, MSU needed a win in set five to close the season on a two-game winning streak. However, they failed to capitalize on a 7-3 lead midway through the set.
The Boilers rallied, going on a 7-2 run to take a 10-9 lead. MSU managed to tie the score at 13-13 and then at 14-14, sending the game into extra points. After denying the match several times, Purdue ultimately pulled through with an 18-16 win.
The Spartans finish the regular season by going 4-10 after starting the season 17-1. It’s certainly been a less-than-ideal finish to the season. But with the selection show set to take place Sunday at 9:30 p.m., the Spartans will hope the strong season start will play favorably into the seeding.