Sunday, December 4, 2022

MSU drops weekend pair

September 30, 2007

Senior outside hitter Katie Johnson, left, stretches for the ball during the Spartans’ matchup against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night at Jenison Field House. Johnson helped the Spartans with four kills during the game, but the Badgers defended their winning streak and beat the Spartans 3-1.

Photo by Marc Nardacci | The State News

Wisconsin athletics was celebrating both at home and in East Lansing on Saturday.

The MSU volleyball team (9-7 overall, 0-4 Big Ten) felt the same pain in East Lansing as the MSU football team did in Madison.

The spikers fell 3-1 to No. 9 Wisconsin (12-1, 4-0) just minutes after the football team lost a 37-34 heartbreaker.

Just as junior quarterback Brian Hoyer threw his final pass over junior running back Javon Ringer’s head, the volleyball team could not seem to place its serves where it wanted on the Badgers’ side of the net.

“We served the wrong target all night long,” MSU head coach Cathy George said. “We kept serving their lead girl time after time … and she passed near perfect all night.”

The Spartans tallied up 14 service errors compared to the Badgers’ seven for the night.

“We really can’t gain an edge on a team if we’re not going to have serving location to maximize our opportunities,” George said. “And that is something our players need to be able to recognize and master.”

The spikers stayed in the hunt for the first game but eventually conceded to a 30-26 loss.

Game two started out neck-and-neck, with both teams holding at nine points before the Badgers stunned the Spartans past the point of recovery for a 30-18 win.

“It started at the serving line. We gave up six points in game two when we were in the hunt and (continued to) give away point after point after point at the service line,” George said, again stressing the importance of the serve. “If you can serve tough and have location, you start to win points because you start to throw the other team off — we need to do that.”

Whatever was said in the locker room after game two had an impact on the Spartans, as they came out firing for a 30-25 game three victory.

In game four, however, the squad lost all momentum and posted the worst score of the night — giving way to the Badgers in a 30-17 loss.

MSU posted a match-high 12 errors and a match low of seven kills in game four.

This loss comes especially hard after the Spartans gave up a 2-0 lead to Illinois on Friday – allowing the Fighting Illini to come back for a 3-2 victory as well as giving them their first Big Ten triumph.

“We served very aggressive in games one and two (against Illinois),” George said. “In games three, four and five we started to let up and play not to make a mistake instead of being really aggressive down the stretch. “I think it’s a lesson to be learned and if you’re going to go for something you have to go for it all the way.”

The squad will return to action at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Jenison Field House in search of its first Big Ten win against Northwestern.

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