Friday, December 2, 2022

Spartans look to snap losing streak

November 11, 2010

With six matches left in the regular season, the MSU volleyball team is looking for a win.

Being on the road for two matches this weekend, the team is looking to grab wins against Iowa — a team MSU has previously defeated— and No. 22 Minnesota.

The Spartans (11-14 overall, 3-11 Big Ten) are shooting to get their first conference road victory since beating Ohio State on Nov. 15, 2008.

“I think more than anything, it’s going to be a mental challenge for us because we haven’t won on the road in a while, and we’re just really looking for another Big Ten win,” junior outside hitter Jenilee Rathje said. “So I think that’s going to be the biggest challenge for us because we know we can beat them, as proof by the last time we played.”

MSU travels to Iowa City, Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes (6-17, 1-13) on Friday night. On. Sept. 25, MSU defeated Iowa, 3-1.

Despite getting the win, senior libero Allyson Karaba said her team still has been looking to improve from the last time it played the Hawkeyes.

“They’re very good at keeping the ball at the floor and then throwing it back on our side in an unorganized way,” Karaba said. “I know the last time we played them, we didn’t handle that very well, so we’ve been working on that a lot this week.”

Presenting the Spartans with an even larger challenge this weekend is the return of Minnesota middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer, who did not play in the Spartans’ 3-0 loss Sept. 14.

“She’s a monster,” head coach Cathy George said. “Lauren Gibbemeyer is a phenomenal player, a two-time All-American. She’s definitely going to have an impact on her team and is a force to be reckoned with.”

The Golden Gophers (18-8, 8-6) were aggressive when they last played MSU, and they should be even stronger with Gibbemeyer back, Rathje said.

Although the injury bug has remained with the team for much of the season, MSU has been able to adjust accordingly. But as injured players return to the lineup, George said the team has been able to successfully execute a coordinated defense and blocking attempts.

“We’ve been feeling that we haven’t had that in-sync feeling within our team,” she said. “But I think we’re starting to see signs of that coming back together and really working on that communication piece and really (our) responsibility areas.”

George anticipates both opponents this weekend will be hungry for victory, but her team’s desire for a road win will be just as strong.

“We just pulled apart some things, dissected some of our defense and our offense,” George said. “So going into this weekend, you see some of those things start to clean up.”

The Spartans know they need to win at least one of their matches this weekend to remain a prospect for the NCAA Tournament. The team needs to finish the season with at least five wins, and players said they’re ready to win.

“This is a big weekend for us, and I think we’re all really excited about the challenge, rather than getting scared and running away from it,” Karaba said. “I think everyone’s just ready to tackle this weekend.”

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