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Spartans fall to U-M volleyball

October 31, 2002
Junior outside hitter Jenny Rood spikes the ball over the net against two Wolverine players Wednesday night during a match against Michigan in Jenison Field House. —

The No. 25 MSU volleyball team played sloppily and made costly errors, falling in four games to Michigan 24-30, 27-30, 30-24 and 18-30 at Jenison Field House on Wednesday night.

It was the Spartans (14-7 overall, 6-5 Big Ten) first loss at home this year and the first time the Wolverines, (13-8, 7-4) have swept the Spartans since 1992.

“We were just too inconsistent, and we didn’t have enough offense tonight,” MSU head coach Chuck Erbe said. “Michigan is a team that doesn’t make mistakes, and we made too many errors.”

Serving errors were the Spartans biggest Achilles’ heel of the night. MSU not only had 12 serving miscues, but the errors occurred at crucial times during the match.

When MSU did keep the ball in play, its kill percentage wasn’t up to par. The Spartans hit a dismal .153 for the match, including two games under .100.

“We just didn’t show up to play,” junior setter Nikki Colson said.

The Wolverines took charge from the get-go in game one. U-M picked up the first three points - two on MSU net violations - to jump out to a 5-1 lead.

U-M extended its lead to 16-9, but MSU didn’t quit. The Spartans fought back and eventually took the lead at 21-20. But it was uphill from there as MSU was outscored 9-2 to end the game.

MSU was the dominant team at the beginning of game two, taking an early 7-4 lead. But once again, the Spartans couldn’t hold on. Following a 22-18 deficit, MSU reeled off five of six points to knot the score at 23. But thanks to a .095 hitting performance, the Spartans would never taste the lead again.

“I thought our players handled the mental challenge of playing in a rivalry like this,” Wolverine head coach Mark Rosen said.

After trailing 3-4 in game three, MSU grabbed the lead and never relinquished it. Led by junior outside hitter Jenny Rood, who tallied four service aces to fuel her team’s offense, the Spartans cruised to the six-point 30-24 win.

But the Spartans couldn’t build momentum as game four mirrored the first two contests. MSU stayed in the game in the early going, but U-M pulled away and won 30-18 to close the game and the match.

“But just because we lost this one doesn’t mean we can’t win the rest of them,” Rood said.

Chris Mackinder can be reached at mackind8@msu.edu.

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