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ONLINE UPDATE: Volleyball splits in weekend play; awaits NCAA Tournament announcement

December 1, 2002

Coming off a thrilling five-game win over Northwestern on Friday night, the Spartans had a great deal of momentum heading into Saturday's contest against Wisconsin.

But no amount of momentum was going to stop the No. 15 Badgers. In front of 2,305 fans - mostly Spartan faithful - MSU was outplayed from start to finish, losing in three games 24-30, 19-30 and 27-30.

MSU (19-11 overall, 11-9 Big Ten) will now wait until Sunday evening to find out if it will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. The volleyball selection show will be at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

The Spartans are guaranteed a share of fifth in the conference, and with Michigan defeating Northwestern tonight, only an Indiana win over Illinois would force MSU to share the fifth spot.

"To be honest, I really don't know," MSU head coach Chuck Erbe said after being asked about the team's future. "I think we put ourselves back on the bubble.

"Again, Wisconsin is ranked very high and this might not have an impact on us too much, but it's whatever the committee decides."

Wisconsin (23-8, 14-6) is all but guaranteed a bid by finishing second in the conference and picking up 23 wins.

Game one was ugly from the get-go on both sides of the net. For the majority of the game, it looked as if the Spartans were going to get blown out.

MSU trailed by 16-8 but a five-point run helped to knot the score at 19. But the Badgers went on a 6-1 run of their own and the Spartans could only side out the rest of the game.

Game two started out the same as game one as the Badgers jumped to a quick 5-1 lead. The Spartans could never fully recover.

They ended up tying the score at 13, but the rest of the game was all Wisconsin. The Spartans pulled within four at 21-17, but the Badgers closed the game out on a 9-2 run.

MSU finally showed some life in the third game. The Spartans didn't take a lead in any game until 5-4 in the third contest.

MSU was close for the duration of the game. The Spartans pulled within one numerous times and even knotted the score on a couple occasions.

But the Spartans were tired of just being close and finally took a 22-20 lead, forcing the Badgers to call a timeout. Following the timeout, Wisconsin showed why they are ranked 15th in the nation finishing the game on a 10-5 run.

For the match, the Spartans hit a dismal .088 compared to the Badgers .221 attacking percentage. The Spartans also were out blocked 9-7 and out-dug 47-45.

"Yesterday, it was evident that we had a lot of passion and we played with intensity throughout the match," sophomore outside hitter Kim Schram said. "Tonight its disappointing because it feels like that passion wasn't there."


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