Sunday, December 4, 2022

MSU ups unbeaten streak to 9, readies for a tough road schedule

September 16, 2007

Freshman middle blocker, Jenilee Rathje, blocks a spike from junior Chippewa middle blocker, Whitney Evers. The Spartans swept the Chippewas 3-0.

Photo by Jason Chiou | The State News

The scores may have been too close for comfort for the MSU volleyball team, but the Spartans still managed to extend their winning streak to nine games on Saturday night when they defeated Central Michigan.

It only took three matches for the Spartans (9-3) to overtake Central Michigan (9-3) – but the Chippewas did not go down without a fight, keeping all three within eight points.

MSU came out on top offensively for the three matches (30-22, 30-24, 30-25) with senior outside hitters Katie Johnson recording a game-high 17 kills and Ashley Schatzle conjuring up 11 digs- bringing her career dig total past the 400 mark to 408. However, some credit for the Spartan victory can go to the Chippewas’ 26 errors on the court.

“Obviously, a result of a win is always great, but as far as the level of play – I think we needed to be sharper,” MSU head coach Cathy George said. “I think we were a little distracted going in and we did not perform at our best.”

Johnson echoed George’s statement, and said that the team can definitely play better, and this week’s practice will be spent cleaning up their plays and putting the pieces together.

“It’s always good to have a game where you know you can play better,” Johnson said. “You can never settle for anything. Central displayed some of our weaknesses, so now we can work to take care of them.”

The spikers know that the coming weekend on the road will be a tough one and the kinks need to be worked out before heading east to face No. 3 Penn State (8-2) on Friday.

“It takes each individual to get themselves focused and ready to perform at their very best,” George said. “Everybody has to find their own way to (prepare) – we need to make sure everyone is ready to go, that we’re as reliable, steady and solid as we can be for every single match.

“When you are a little bit off, things are not quite as clean or as crisp as we’d like to perform it.”

Looking to make Friday night’s matchup win number 10, Johnson has the confidence the team will need.

“I really think that this team can take Penn State,” Johnson said. “The sky is the limit and I think we can really push through if we bring our A-game.”

After what the team hopes to be a win, they will head over to Buckeye country on Saturday to face No. 20 Ohio State (6-3).

“I think we’ve learned an awful lot over the course of the pre-conference season,” George said. “We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, and what our focus should be for (Big Ten) match play – I think we’re right on target.”

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