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Weekend trip puts damper on teams chances

November 11, 2002
Sophomore outside hitter Kim Schram spikes the ball for a point in the third game against Indiana. The Spartans lost all three games to the Hoosiers. —

Columbus, Ohio - It wasn’t the prettiest of weekends, and for the MSU volleyball team, it was downright ugly.

The Spartans dropped both of its matches this weekend, losing in three games to Indiana on Friday night, and then falling in four games to Ohio State on Saturday night.

Going into the weekend, the Spartans were hoping to pick up a pair of wins escalating to the forefront of the conference. But with two losses, MSU fell to 7-7 in the Big Ten and 15-9 overall.

“It’s just disappointing because we had a real good opportunity to separate ourselves from the rest of the pack of the Big Ten, and it’s a blown opportunity,” junior setter Nikki Colson said. “Now to be sitting in the middle, near the bottom. It’s just really disappointing.”

MSU started the weekend against a scrappy Indiana team in University Gymnasium in Bloomington, Ind., on Friday. The Hoosiers (18-8, 8-6) took advantage of a flat Spartans squad en route to a 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26 win.

The Spartans only mustered 13 kills in the first game, hitting a dismal .193. Game two followed the same path, except Indiana jumped on top from the very beginning.

A 10-2 Hoosier lead was too much to overcome and MSU fell in game two 30-26. The Spartans looked like they would take game three and send the match to four games, but with the score knotted at 24, MSU fell apart. Indiana scored six of the next eight points to take the game 30-26 and the match 3-0.

The loss ended MSU’s eight-game winning streak against Indiana. It was also the Hoosiers first win over the Spartans in Bloomington since 1993.

MSU head coach Chuck Erbe was short of words following the game, only saying, “It was a very disappointing loss.”

But unfortunately for Erbe and the rest of the Spartans, their woes continued Saturday in Columbus.

Errors plagued MSU for the entire match and Ohio State (13-10, 7-7) took advantage. The Spartans hit .164 for the entire match, highlighted by a horrific .034 attacking percentage in game three.

MSU also gave up 23 points in serve-pass, committing 11 service errors and allowing Ohio State to record 12 service aces, falling 25-30, 31-29, 17-30 and 18-30.

“We’ve just struggled on the road all season,” Erbe said. “Especially in the Big Ten.”

MSU fell to 2-6 on the road in conference games with the two defeats.

After losing the first game against the Buckeyes, the Spartans came out with some fire for game two. MSU held a four-point advantage for most of the game before allowing Ohio State to crawl back heading to the finish.

After leading 28-25, the Spartans allowed the Buckeyes to tie the score at 29. But MSU picked up the 31-29 win, improving to 11-2 in games that went into extra points.

But that was as good as Saturday would get for the Spartans

MSU held Ohio State to a dismal .188 hitting percentage, but its negative hitting percentage led to a 30-17 blowout win for the Buckeyes. It was MSU’s worst loss of the season.

Game four wasn’t any different, as service errors plagued MSU again, allowing for the 30-18 Buckeye win.

“This isn’t how I want to end my career,” senior outside hitter Kyla Smith said. “This has been a trend in Michigan State volleyball - we’ve had the talent, but we can’t put it all together.”


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