Spartans fall to No. 7 Florida in Spartan Invitational finale
The MSU volleyball team lost on Sunday to #7, University of Florida Gators, and were swept in three sets. The Gators beat the Spartans 25-13 in the first set, 25-16 in the second and completed the sweep with 25-19 set victory in the third. Florida was the highest ranked opponent MSU faced during the SPartan Invitational, after sweeping both Morgan State and Central Michigan on Saturday.
On Saturday, MSU head coach Cathy George explained how she was looking for a certain urgency from her players on the court, and said she saw them heading in the right direction towards that type of play. However, after playing the Gators, George admitted the Spartans weren't quite there.
“We didn’t really play the way we wanted to," George said. "Definitely didn’t follow game plan exactly the way we needed to, we needed to show a little more discipline and maybe a little bit more aggressive play."
MSU lost their first set to the Gators set by 12 points. Florida held their own on the court, allowing MSU to a 9.8% success rate throughout the game. MSU led only during the third and final set of the game, the Spartans were able to tie the score a few times.
“If we want to better our program, than we need to be as sharp as we need to against a team like Florida, we’ve got to be able to go after that,” George said. “Again, we play in the Big Ten, we play in one of the best leagues in the country, we’re used to this kind of of thing. Florida was the first team ranked this high and as good as they are, they are so physical, you have to play and aggressive style of volleyball against a team that’s that physical.”
Going into the third set, redshirt junior outside hitter Autumn Bailey had zero kills compared to seven she racked up against Morgan State and the 12 earned against CMU. Senior outside hitter Chloe Reinig, junior OH Holly Toliver and junior middle blocker Alyssa Garvelink all put up considerable numbers in a bid to upset the Gators.
Reinig ended the match with 6 kills and 2 digs, Toliver with 7 kills, 1 assist, and 6 digs and Garvelink ended up with 6 digs and 2 block assists. Garvelink wasalso received Player of the Tournament for the 2016 Spartan Invitational.
The Spartans will return to action on Friday, Sep. 9 when they take on Cincinnati in the first round of the Western Kentucky Invitational. Game time is set for 4:00 p.m.