Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Gustin injury third straight for spiker starters

October 23, 2000
Freshman outside hitter Amy Sibbernsen dives for the ball in MSU's game against Minnesota on Friday at Jenison Field House. Sibbernsen had 11 kills during the game. —

Senior outside hitter Sarah Gustin just recovered from an abdominal strain and was leading the team in kills per game, but then she sprained her right foot in Thursday’s practice.

“I was starting to finally feel like I was back,” Gustin said. “My ab’s fully recovered now, and then I go and sprain my foot. It’s always something.”

Gustin said it happened during a routine play in practice. While playing in the back line she collided with another player going after a ball and sprained her foot, she said.

MSU head coach Chuck Erbe said Gustin’s sprain improved a lot by Saturday. He said the early prognosis is two to four weeks.

Because of the injuries to Gustin and senior middle Jessica Sanborn, who broke a bone in her left foot, Erbe said he’s forced to start two freshmen and play a third in the back line for redshirt-junior middle Maren Witzel.

“Right now we have a situation where it’s not going to change,” Erbe said. “Until Sarah gets back we’re going to have two freshmen on the floor and (freshman setter Nikki) Colson is going to play back row for Maren.”

Erbe said opponents won’t feel sorry for the Spartans and the freshmen will become targets every time they step on the court. He said the freshmen understand that they need to practice hard and give 100 percent.

“To be quite honest with you, I’m feeling it most for the seniors,” said freshman outside hitter Jenny Rood. “I know they’ve worked their butt off for four years.”

Gustin said the injuries to the seniors is discouraging. She said it’s not something anyone can control.

“It does feel like something’s being taken away from us,” she said. “For some odd reason somebody doesn’t want us to win, so they keep taking us out.”

All season, Gustin has said the freshmen push the starters in practice. Now, Gustin said it is those freshmen that need to step up.

“We’re very confident in our freshmen,” she said. “If we didn’t believe they could do it, they wouldn’t be out there.”

Senior setter Christie Landry said the injuries have affected the team’s ability to gel. Landry said she has to be a leader on the court and provide stability for the freshmen.

“I still think the team is not as confident as we should be and can be,” she said. “Nothing changes if I’m the only senior out there, I still have to lead.”

Entering this weekend, Gustin was leading the team with 4.14 kills per game, hitting .315 on the season.

Gustin said she’s proud of those statistics, but feels she’s yet to reach her potential.

“Sure, I’m leading the team in kills per game, but it’s really frustrating because I feel I could be so much better,” she said. “When you know that, it doesn’t really matter what the numbers are.”

Gustin said the Spartans are focusing on making the NCAA Tournament in December. She said the team should be healthy by then, but it’s never a guarantee.

“We just hope that when it comes time for the tournament we’ll all be healthy, we’ll all be on the same page and at that time everything will just come together,” she said.

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