The MSU volleyball team suffered a season-ending loss Friday against No. 13 Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Despite pushing Kentucky to the brink in the first two sets, the Spartans were unable to finish and fell 3-0 in Lexington, Ky. MSU closed the season with a 17-16 record and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons.
“This last game was a summary of our season with its ups and downs,” senior middle blocker Vanessa King said in a press conference after the game. “We would get ahead, let them come back, get up again but then let them finish with the win. We didn’t finish it off like we needed to tonight.”
Kentucky claimed the first set 25-23 after tallying the final two points of the frame. The Wildcats held a late lead of 24-20 in the second set before the Spartans pulled within 24-23. However, the Wildcats were able to make the final play, securing a 25-23 set victory.
MSU hung tough in the third set, but fell 25-20.
Sophomore outside hitter Becca Zlabis led the way with 10 kills and 10 digs, and sophomore setter Natalie Emro chipped in with 32 assists.
MSU finished 5-15 in the Big Ten.
Nevertheless, the Spartans were anchored by a 12-0 nonconference record and earned an invitation to the 64-team tournament, drawing a Kentucky squad they had defeated two seasons ago in the first round of the tournament.
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