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Volleyball team faces challenge

November 10, 2000

After Wednesday’s loss at Michigan, the MSU volleyball team’s road to the NCAA tournament got tougher.

The No. 25 MSU spikers need any win they can get, but with three of the Spartans’ last five games against ranked opponents - No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 8 Minnesota and No. 13 Ohio State - it won’t be easy.

Sophomore middle hitter Angela Morley said for MSU (14-10 overall, 7-8 Big Ten) to make the tournament, it will come down to playing well.

“This makes it twice as hard to get to the tournament,” she said. “We’re going to have to upset one of the ranked teams that are above us. We have a lot to do. We all need to pick it up and work hard.”

The first challenge for the Spartans at Jenison Field House is the Buckeyes at 8 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s going to be a lot of pressure on us and we’re going to have to deal with it,” Morley said. “I think we can. We all need to bring it together and each individually pick it up and be more consistent.”

Head coach Chuck Erbe said Saturday will be tough since Ohio State is third in the Big Ten.

“They’re a very highly ranked team and they played us very, very tough at their place,” he said.

Ohio State won the first meeting on Sept. 22 in four games: 11-15, 15-5, 15-7, 15-11. Erbe said MSU’s young left side defense struggled against the Buckeyes.

“That’s where we got beat, our inability to stop their right side attack,” he said. “We’ve really struggled against teams with a good right side attack. If we can improve our defense where we can defend their right side attack and keep our serve aggressive, it’s going to be a good match.”

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