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MSU tops Ohio State, falls to No. 1 Penn State on weekend

November 11, 2007

George

The MSU volleyball team continued improving its Big Ten performance with a split in its weekend matchups.

In what MSU head coach Cathy George describes as the team’s best performance of the season, the Spartans put away Ohio State, 3-0, Friday.

After the nail-biting 31-29 victory in match one, the Spartans never looked back and ran away with the final two matches, 30-24 and 30-23.

Coming into the game, the Buckeyes had won 10 straight against the Spartans. The last time MSU defeated the Buckeyes was 2003.

“We have not beaten Ohio State since I’ve been here,” George said.

“They have two-time All-American Danielle Meyer on their team, and we held her to under .200 hitting percentage which I felt was very good.

“Ohio State is known for their solid play and we took them off their game. That is where we have improved a great deal since the last time we played them, and we were the better team Friday night.”

The Spartans followed up the big win with a 3-0 loss to No. 1 Penn State on Saturday.

MSU came out strong in match one, leaving Penn State stunned as the Spartans held a three-point lead before the Nittany Lions regained their composure to take it, 30-27.

A better-prepared Penn State team came out in match two to defeat the Spartans, 30-21.

“Game two is always kind of difficult for us,” senior outside hitter Katie Johnson said. “Coming from a good game and doing what we have to do, it’s almost like we over try. We over try, we get a little unfocused at times and we didn’t go out quite as aggressive.”

Penn State sealed the deal in match three, 30-24.

“We served very aggressively in game one and we did not serve aggressively in game two,” George said.

“(Penn State) adjusted, fought back and served extremely effective and aggressive in game two, which then controlled our offense a little bit and made it difficult for us to get the looks we wanted in different areas.”

Although Penn State has swept the Spartans in both of this season’s matchups, George said the play in Saturday’s game was much improved from earlier in the season.

“Each time we play a team that is rated like Penn State, which is number one in the nation, we learn something about how to compete against a No. 1 team,” she said. “We learned from the very first time we played them that we didn’t show up.”

With four games left in the regular season, the Spartans are hoping to end strong to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, which starts Nov. 30.

“We are looking to push through practices and do as best we can against the teams we can beat,” Johnson said.

“We are going to go through and try and make it to the (NCAA) Tournament, do as best we can in the Big Ten and then maybe we’ll get a good seed.”

The Spartans return to action next weekend when they head out west to face Minnesota and Iowa in Big Ten play.

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