Friday, April 19, 2024

Schram slams in road games

November 25, 2002

Had Kim Schram not been in MSU's lineup this weekend, the Spartans might have not picked up two victories.

But the sophomore outside hitter was on the floor - and she delivered. Schram had 26 kills Friday in a four-game win over Illinois and had an even more impressive Saturday, scorching 32 kills in a four-game victory over Purdue.

Schram hit .382 for the weekend with 58 kills and only 11 errors on 123 total swings, helping the Spartans improve to 18-10 overall and 10-8 in the Big Ten.

"I thought our team really competed and we really came out and competed for every point. But Kim Schram stepped up big," junior middle Jenny Rood said. "I swear, on one of those swings, she got up so high and blasted it through a double block and to the middle of the floor. My jaw dropped to the floor.

"Our other hitters were struggling, I know I was struggling on the outside and Kim just honestly carried the team hittingwise and attackingwise. She took a lot of pressure off of her teammates."

But Rood didn't have a bad weekend, adding 43 kills - 25 on Friday and 18 on Saturday.

Junior setter Nikki Colson paced the offense with 121 assists, while junior libero Emmy Miller and freshman defensive specialist Marley Bellwood added 34 and 24 digs, respectively.

And what's even more amazing is that MSU did all this while experiencing another severe lineup change. Senior outside hitter Kyla Smith was out of the lineup because of pain from bone chips in her right elbow.

But the Spartans battled through adversity.

"We knew going into the weekend with the lineup changes it was going to be ugly and just a hard battle," Colson said. "But we just stuck to our game plan."

Against Illinois, the Spartans didn't start out sticking to the game plan. MSU dropped the first match 30-22 while hitting .214 compared to Illinois' .455 attacking percentage.

But it was a quick rebound, and the Spartans pulled out a 30-27 victory in game two, a 30-28 win in game three and a 32-30 triumph in the fourth game.

"Illinois came out pretty consistent," Rood said. "But our team just plugged away and played hard."

The Spartans were expected to defeat the Boilermakers (12-19, 2-16) easily, but Purdue was coming off a stunning upset over U-M the night before. MSU took game one easily with a 30-19 win.

Despite a slip-up in game two - a 30-21 defeat - the Spartans rallied and emphatically took the final two games 30-19 and 30-24.

With both wins, the Spartans hold a possible berth in the NCAA Tournament in their hands. They play their final two games at Jenison Field House, a place where they're 6-2 in conference play and 10-2 overall.

Smith used conventional wisdom, saying the Spartans would concentrate day-by-day and one game at a time.

"At this point, we need to win Friday and we need to win Saturday, but at the same time, it's kind of hard to ignore the NCAA Tournament," Smith said.


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