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Volleyball defeats McNeese State in season opener

August 24, 2012

The MSU volleyball team began its 2012 campaign on a high note after topping McNeese State, 3-0 in its season opener at Jenison Field House Friday night.

In a record-setting performance, the Spartans held the Cowgirls to 39 total points — the fewest in program history for a three-set match. The previous record was set on last year’s season opener, when the Spartans held UNF to 43 total points in a 3-0 victory.

The Spartans were led by junior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski in her first game as a Spartan after transferring from Northern Illinois this season. The two-time All-American recorded five service aces and 17 kills in the winning effort.

“I would say it’s a great start to the season,” sophomore libero Kori Moster said. “It was the first time we could really get on the court and face a different opponent. We got to see what we still need to work on, what our strengths and our weaknesses are, and it’s really setting us straight for the rest of the season.

MSU came out strong in the first set, jumping out to a 6-1 lead, forcing the Cowgirls to take an early timeout. The Spartan attack was unrelenting, as they rode Wicinski’s five aces to a 25-10 set victory and notched a kill percentage of .727.

“Lauren gets up there and she serves tough,” head coach Cathy George said. “It’s a force to be reckoned with and overall I think it’s made all of our servers tougher.”

After a bit of back-and-forth to begin set two, MSU hit its stride, going on a 5-0 run to take a 14-6 lead. The Spartans were markedly less on target during the second set, recording a kill percentage of .324, but were able to rely on Wicinski’s seven kills and a pair of aces from Moster.

In set three, the Spartans took charge once again, shutting the Cowgirls down 25-12 to take the first match of the year.

However, the Spartans can’t take too long to dwell on the victory as they return to action Saturday at 12 p.m. for their second game in the Spartan Showcase.

“I’m going to get some sleep and we’re going to get back to basics,” Wicinski said. “I think we want to do a little bit better on our blocking, so I think that’s what we want to focus on for tomorrow.”

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