Sunday, April 21, 2024

Spartans follow loss with match against Penn State

November 1, 2002
Senior outside hitter Kyla Smith reaches to bump a ball Wednesday night during a match against U-M in Jenison Field House. Michigan won the match, taking three of four games, 30-24, 30-27, 24-30 and 30-18. —

Once again, the Spartans will square off against perennial powerhouse Penn State Friday after a humiliating loss to the Wolverines.

The No. 25 MSU volleyball team lost its first home match of the season to archrival Michigan, falling in four games at Jenison Field House Wednesday night. MSU was previously 8-0 at home. Three weeks ago, the Spartans were embarrassed by the Wolverines in three games at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor.

Both losses ended three-match Spartan winning streaks. Similar to the last time it faced Penn State (18-3 overall, 8-2 Big Ten), MSU (14-7, 6-5) has no time to sulk because of the dominant No. 11 Nittany Lion attack. But luckily for the Spartans, they realize this.

“It was a tough loss for us, but we have nine games left,” senior middle Angela Morley said following Wednesday’s loss. “But we’ve got Penn State next and we have to go at them.”

The Spartans have showed signs of inconsistencies. The Spartans racked up a school record 24.5 blocks on Oct. 26 against Illinois, but only tallied nine blocks against U-M.

Attacking percentage is also an occasional weakness for MSU. MSU head coach Chuck Erbe said he noticed a trend in conference games holding true - the team with the higher attacking percentage almost always picks up the win.

That has held true for MSU this season. In Wednesday’s contest, the Spartans hit a dismal .077 and .095 in the first two games - both losses. In game three, they hit a decent .294 and picked up the win.

But it’s the inconsistency that is hard for the Spartans to overcome.

“I told our team, we have to play better on our side of the net,” Erbe said after the U-M loss. “We just have to be more consistent.”

The last time MSU met Penn State, Erbe said his squad knew they’d have to shake off the Wolverine defeat.

This time around the lineup is different, but MSU expectations are still to play solid volleyball against Penn State. Junior outside hitter Jenny Rood, said she’ll do just that, hoping her teammates will follow suit.

“Michigan is in the past,” Rood said. “We have Penn State and we have to get focused for that contest.”

Game time is set for 8 p.m.


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