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SPORTS UPDATE: Volleyball team conquers Hawkeyes

November 16, 2002

The Spartans didn't play perfect volleyball Friday night, but it was good enough to beat the Hawkeyes in three games.

The MSU volleyball team (16-9 overall, 8-7 Big Ten) took charge early and often in the 30-20, 30-26 and 30-17 win in front of 2,156 strong at Jenison Field House.

"I felt possessed to play well tonight," junior setter Nikki Colson said.

"Just to get back on a roll boosts our confidence.

"I don't know about the rest of the team, but I was on a mission and we weren't going to let Iowa get in our way tonight."

Colson paced MSU with 37 assists and also hit .500 with four kills on eight swings. Junior middle Jenny Rood led MSU with 12 kills while redshirt freshman Megan Wallin 11.

Attack-wise, sophomore outside hitter Kim Schram hit .600 off the bench with six kills and senior outside hitter Kyla Smith added seven kills with no errors for a .389 attacking percentage.

Junior defensive specialist Stephanie Knopp started for the first time this season and she made her presence known. She laced seven kills while only recording one error for a .300 kill percentage. And according to MSU head coach Chuck Erbe, the one error should have been a kill because of a Hawkeye touch.

"I think our teams just wanted to play to our abilities tonight," Rood said.

"I don't think it would have mattered who was on the other side of the floor tonight - we were just going to come to play."

Game one didn't start off like the Spartans expected. Despite tallying the first four points, the Hawkeyes grabbed five of the next six to knot the score at five.

Both teams sided out until the Hawkeyes grabbed an 11-10 lead. From that point on, the Spartans controlled the game.

MSU went on a 13-2 run forcing Iowa to use both of its timeouts. The teams traded points from then on as MSU cruised to the 10 point win.

Game two was neck and neck the entire way. MSU was ahead 12-10 before Iowa recorded four straight points forcing Erbe to use a timeout.

Shortly after, the Spartans slowly crawled back into the game, eventually retaking the lead at 19-18. MSU didn't relinquished the lead the rest of the way en route to the 30-26 win.

Having not won a three game match in exactly three weeks the Spartans didn't want to waste the opportunity. The Spartans recorded 18 kills as a team with only two errors, hitting a season-high .500 in the game.

MSU jumped out to a 9-4 lead forcing Iowa to call a timeout. The one minute break didn't help as MSU took seven of eight points at 13-8 to force another Iowa timeout at 20-9.

From then on out, Erbe put some new faces in the lineup and the Spartans still dominated the Hawkeyes. The 30-17 win was tied for the second best defensive performance the Spartans had on the year.

"Tonight, our defense was definitely playing better," Erbe said. "We were more steady and we stayed in rallies longer. We really maximized our attack."

MSU returns to action at 8 p.m. Saturday when No. 6 Minnesota (27-3, 14-1) comes to Jenison Field House.

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