No. 10 Spartans defeats U-M in first match of the season
The No. 10 Spartans defeated U-M in four sets to take the victory in their annual Jam Jension.
In a fighting battle, U-M took the second set while holding the lead the majority of the time. After the third set, the Spartans kept U-M from rallying back to win the match.
“Michigan really pushed on us and made us play the entire court defensively,” head coach Cathy George said. “I thought they came out hard especially in game two and just really went after it and put a lot of pressure on our team. I like the way we responded in games three and four and taken it to them a little bit.”
Redshirt senior outside hitter Autumn Bailey lead the team with her career high of 16 kills throughout the match. Following behind her were senior setter Alyssa Garvelink with 14 kills and redshirt senior outside hitter Brooke Kranda with 13.
Garvelink leads the Spartans with a .356 hitting percentage and 1.52 blocks per set where she ranks 13th in the country. She also ranks 11th in the Big Ten for hitting and second for blocking.
“Garvelink was really unstoppable at times,” George said. “I thought Garvelink was a force to be reckon with tonight and that really opened things up early in the game and just keeping that pressure on them from that point.”
MSU current record against U-M now moves up to 54-40-1.
For the Spartans, there are six seniors started and only one freshman. Heading into their final Jam Jenison event, this makes it emotional for them.
“It was sad,” senior setter Rachel Minarick said. “I was trying not think about all of that because we still have a game ahead of us. Now after the fact that was like oh that’s our last set. It’s always such a fun event.”
Playing in front of a packed Jenison Field House makes this special to the girls as they rally on throughout the season.
For Garvelink, she feels the atmosphere shapes their play.
“I mean we try not to, but it’s kinda hard not to think about it,” Garvelink said “This is a really emotional game. The fans’ atmosphere really affects our play in a good way.”
The team will head back on the road this weekend as they get ready to face Maryland at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday where the game will be streamed on BTN2Go.
“It’s never easy to play Michigan. It’s always a heated game and there is a lot of big rallies,” George said. “I thought that was great effort and I’m glad we stayed the course and got back to it.”