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MSU drops both matches on weekend homestand

October 10, 2005
Illinois senior outside hitter Rasa Virsilaite, right, gets a finger on the spike of MSU senior middle Brooke Langston during Saturday's game at Jenison Field House. The Spartans lost to the Illini in five games, 2-3.

This past weekend is one the MSU volleyball team would probably like to forget.

After getting swept by Purdue on Friday, the Spartans (9-7 overall, 2-4 Big Ten) dropped a tough five-game match to Illinois on Saturday at Jenison Field House.

Head coach Cathy George said the games were a sloppy effort from her team.

"We had some unforced errors and hitting errors that were pivotal to the play," George said.

MSU won the first game against Illinois (11-6 overall, 2-4 Big Ten), then lost the second.

In the pivotal third game, the Spartans played well with a .396 hitting percentage and a team total of three blocks, but Illinois made several key plays down the stretch to give them the lead.

With their backs against the wall, the Spartans bounced back, taking the fourth game from the visiting Illini.

But Illinois again took control, winning the final game 15-12 for the victory.

Illinois proved to be too strong defensively for the Spartans as they outblocked them 11-8.

Sophomore outside hitter Ashley Schatzle provided some offensive spark for the Spartans. She set a career high with a total of 24 kills for the game.

Senior setter Mickey Davis added 69 set assists for the Spartans, and senior middle blocker Brooke Langston added 18 kills.

Leading the way for Illinois was middle blocker Vicki Brown with five block assists.

Outside hitter Rachel VanMeter also contributed 25 kills.

The Spartans were also outmatched by the Purdue Boilermakers on Friday, getting outblocked 15-6.

It was Purdue's third straight win against the Spartans.

Sophomore libero Nicole Colaluca provided one of the only bright spots of the match for the Spartans.

Colaluca had 28 digs in the loss, breaking a 16-year-old single-season record.

The Spartans also had a scare when, during the Illinois game, sophomore outside hitter Katie Johnson collided with a teammate and suffered an undisclosed left arm injury.

Johnson was pulled from the game, but did return later. She underwent several medical tests on Sunday to determine the extent of the injury.

"We were dealt a couple of blows with Katie going with the injury and having to hang in there," George said.

The two losses give MSU five in their last seven matches, a trend that George said can't continue if the Spartans hope to make a run at the postseason.

"It's our goal to get to the NCAA Tournament," George said.

"In order to do that, it's important to get one win out of every weekend."

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