Monday, November 30, 2020

Losing streak ends with lopsided sweep

November 1, 2009

Freshman defensive specialist Cheyenne VanDerSteen celebrates with the MSU volleyball team after beating Iowa 3-0 Friday. The Spartans went on to beat Wisconsin 3-0 on Saturday.

Photo by Hannah Engelson | The State News

For the first time in four weeks, the MSU volleyball team was able to walk off the court with heads held high — and they were able to do it twice.

The Spartans swept their weekend series with wins against Iowa and Wisconsin, with 3-0 victories in both matches.

The Spartans (16-8, 4-8 Big Ten) were riding a six-match losing streak that began with losses to Wisconsin and Iowa on Oct. 9 and 11.

“We needed to get off that stall that we had and it was great to play last night and come out with the victory,” head coach Cathy George said following the team’s victory Saturday.

“But to back it up with tonight, I think that our team played extremely well for the weekend, but overall they were aggressive and had an attacking nature to them.”

This weekend marked the halfway point of the Big Ten season and the players said they hope the second half will be different from the first half, in which the Spartans went 2-8 against the Big Ten.

“We all talked about how we were going to start a new season in the second half of the Big Ten, so right now we’re 2-0 in our new season and we’re just taking it from there,” junior libero Allyson Karaba said. “We’re really excited to go out 3-0 in both games and we’re just going to keep that momentum going.”

Going into the weekend, Karaba was third in the conference with 4.2 digs per set. She finished the weekend with 24 in six sets.

“I know we had a six-game losing streak so it might not have looked very good but we came in determined this week at practice, had a great week of practice, and then came out today and yesterday and showed what we’ve been working on,” Karaba said.

Prior to this weekend, the Spartans played three top-11 teams in a seven-day span.

The players said they learned a lot from playing top competition, even if they did lose.

“Playing three top-11 teams in one week, that’s difficult,” sophomore setter Natalie Emro said. “We went out there, we stuck with everyone and we didn’t pull it out in the end but we know that we can do it.”

In the first meetings with Iowa and Wisconsin, the Spartans didn’t win a set. This weekend, they didn’t lose a set.

It’s the first time this season the Spartans didn’t lose a set in a weekend.

“It’s a great confidence builder. Not losing a set, that’s huge,” Emro said. “We haven’t done that all season so to go out there and take it one point at a time and stay focused the entire set is really important.”

The strong performance is something George said the team can build off for the remainder of the season.

“We’ve got to keep building on this and I think our team has learned a lot over the season and we’re playing with maturity,” she said. “This weekend, we played with a lot maturity and also doing a lot of little things we didn’t do well early and we’re starting to pick those things up.”

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