Despite recording its first loss of the season against Bowling Green on Friday, the MSU volleyball team (8-1) won the last two games of the Best Western Falcon Plaza Invitational, placing second in the four-team tournament in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Sophomore Alexis Mathews and senior Kyndra Abron were both named to the all-tournament team for the second week in a row. Mathews led the Spartans in their final match over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, posting a career best 11 kills and a .667 hitting percentage.
Abron was the team’s offensive leader through the tournament, racking up 44 kills and 13 blocks over three games.
“There were times that Kyndra Abron was unstoppable,” head coach Cathy George said. “She really hit for power and (made) good decisions in her shotmaking.”
The Spartans began the season 6-0 without dropping a single set but lost the first set to Bowling Green on Friday, 25-21.
The game was the inaugural varsity event in the Falcons’ new volleyball facility, the Stroh Center, and the teams played in front of a Bowling Green record crowd of 2,961 fans.
“It was a great environment,” George said. “The house was packed, and (Bowling Green) really fed off of that.”
Playing in front of such an unusually large crowd this early in the season helps the team for play in the Big Ten, when crowds are substantially bigger, George added.
The Spartans struggled early in the first match, falling behind and having to fight their way back into the game, which ended up being too much for George’s squad.
Still, in the second and third matches, against Canisius and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, respectively, the team seemed to find its mojo, winning both matches 3-0 like it has been doing all year.
“In the second and third matches, we came out really strong at the beginning, and our team came into each set very strong and very focused,” George said.
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