Saturday, November 28, 2020

Volleyball wins at Breslin, 3-1

The MSU volleyball team started off the Big Ten season with a win Friday, beating Ohio State 3-1 at Breslin Center.

The team trailed late in every set, but had key rallies to close out the game.

Head coach Cathy George said the team looked tight.

“I think we started tight and we let them run up points,” George said.

“Then we buckled down and we came from behind. I like to see the fight in our team, but I don’t want to let them run us to the point where we have to do that.”

The Spartans started off behind in the first set, at one point trailing 18-10, before rallying with a 18-4 run to take the set 25-22.

The second set was similar, though the team didn’t trail by quite as much. The Spartans used a 9-4 run for a 25-20 victory.

“We were very sharp in game two, they started to become a little predictable and we started to pick up on some of their tendencies and our players responded to the adjustments we made.”

The last two sets got interesting for the Spartans. After leading the set late, the team dropped the third set 25-23. Then, early in the fourth set with the game tied 3-3, sophomore outside hitter Jenilee Rathje landed awkwardly on her knee and left the game and didn’t return the rest of the night.

The team looked noticeably distracted for the next few points before George called a timeout to help them regroup.

The Spartans seemed to rally from that point behind the play of junior middle blocker Vanessa King.

“You never want to play a fifth game,” King said. “We were disappointed in the third game so we really wanted to come back in that fourth game and take it. We did a good job of coming back in the end.”

Down again late, the team tied the game at 23, and feeding off the energy of the crowd in Breslin, took the final set 25-23.

George said she liked the fight she saw in the team.

“I think they dug deep,” George said. “They just said I think we’re going to take this game now and we’re going to get after it. We had some great leadership at that point, Vanessa King really stepped up and Natalie (Emro) settled down and started setting the ball and really started doing what she does best.”

The Spartans play No. 21 Michigan at 8 p.m. Saturday at Breslin.

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