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Volleyball splits final series at Jenison Field House

November 21, 2010

In her last weekend playing at Jenison Field House, senior outside hitter Megan Schatzle left everything on the court, leading the MSU volleyball team offensively on Friday against Indiana and again on Saturday against Purdue.

Schatzle and freshman setter Kristen Kelsay earned their second and third double-doubles of their careers. Head coach Cathy George said Schatzle played “out of her mind” and exceeded the team’s expectations for the weekend.

“(She) came out and played hard,” George said. “I was real pleased with her. I thought she had a nice weekend, and we want to see that continue in the last two games.”

In MSU’s 3-1 victory over Indiana (19-11 overall, 7-11 Big Ten), Schatzle put down 19 kills and had 10 digs, while Kelsay had 26 assists and 13 digs.

The pair remained on fire the following night, with Schatzle getting 16 kills and 11 digs and Kelsay posting 24 assists and 10 digs. Despite their performances, the Spartans (13-16, 5-13) fell, 3-2, to the Boilermakers (19-10, 10-8).

“It’s awesome that we have a lot of people having multiple things – multiple kills, double-digit kills, double-digit digs,” Schatzle said. “It’s just everybody playing their part and not worrying about anybody else and just playing hard for themselves and for the team to win.”

After losing on the road to Indiana on Oct. 23, MSU’s 3-2 score allowed the team to become familiar with the Hoosiers’ style of play, George said. The Spartans out-blocked Indiana, 12-6, on Friday.

“I felt like the sting of the loss last time really helped us get back at them this time,” George said.

While the Spartans were hitting .304, George said she was more impressed with the team’s defensive efforts, holding the Hoosiers at a .169 hitting percentage. Team members also said being able to slow down Indiana middle blocker Ashley Benson gave them an advantage.

Leading 2-1, MSU dominated the fourth game, winning 25-11. Junior outside hitters Becca Zlabis and Kyndra Abron each added 10 kills, and junior setter Natalie put up 15 assists.

“The past couple weekends, we’ve just been going after teams and trying to make the best of it,” junior libero Carli Weiler said. “I think our competitive attitude has gotten a lot better.”

Despite coming out hard against Purdue the following night, the Spartans were unable to get another win in their last match of the season at Jenison.

Being down, 2-1, MSU came back in the fourth set, winning 25-13 to tie the match. However, the Boilermakers got a small lead in the fifth, and the Spartans were unable to recover, losing 15-8.

“We were making runs, but then we would let them have runs, so it was just kind of a seesaw game,” George said. “We just kind of let a couple points here and there deflate us a little bit, and then we’d fight back.”

Abron had 11 kills, and redshirt freshman Alexis Mathews led defensively with 11 blocks, adding to MSU’s total of 16 compared to Purdue’s 11.

“We were doing a nice job of blocking, but they started finding some seams and some holes that maybe we weren’t playing defense in as well as we should have,” George said.

The loss to Purdue leaves the Spartans ineligible for the NCAA Tournament because they will finish with a sub-.500 record.

“It’s hard (because) that’s our goal every year, but our season’s not over,” Kelsay said.

“We’re trying to get two more wins and finish off better in the Big Ten than we did last year, and that will still be an improvement.”

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