The No. 25 MSU volleyball team dropped its first match of the season in a hard fought 3-2 loss against No. 17 Purdue Friday night at Jenison Field House.
The Spartans (12-1 overall, 0-1 Big Ten) stuck with the Boilermakers for most of the evening, but were unable to pull out the upset in the final set.
“We learned a lot about ourselves,” sophomore libero Kori Moster said. “There’s things we need to get back to that we were running earlier, that we just need to get back to.”
The Spartans traded blows with the Boilermakers all through set one, at one point trailing 11-13 before rattling off four straight points to force Purdue to call its first timeout of the match. MSU had another momentous rally late in the set, scoring six straight to close off the set, 25-18.
Junior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski led the squad with five kills in the first set to bolster MSU’s offensive effort, while junior setter Kristen Kelsay added five assists.
The Spartans fell 25-19 in set two behind the performance of Purdue outside hitter Ariel Turner, who spearheaded a five point run to give the Boilermakers a 21-14 lead. MSU’s attack percentage dropped to .128 in the second set after a .290 percentage in set one.
In set three MSU got off to a 13-10 lead before the Boilermakers called timeout. Upon their return, the Spartans struggled to hit their targets, giving up points on an attack error and service error to make it 14-12. After Purdue regained the lead late in the set, the Spartans rallied back, taking it 26-24 after a long rally ended with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Taylor Galloway.
After getting off to a hot start in set four, the Spartans began to flounder before eventually falling 25-21. Errors late in the set were costly as Purdue’s final six points came on attack and service errors.
“We just kind of got flat there for a while,” head coach Cathy George said of the unforced errors. “We battled back, but you’d like to close it out in four. I just felt we made critical errors in that set, but then fought back. We just need to remember consistency, study throughout and get focused for the next play.
The Spartans went on to drop set five by a score of 17-15 after battling back from down by as many as four to knot it at 15.
Senior outside hitter Amy Dentlinger said she enjoyed the multiple runs between the two teams as it helped the Spartans grow after playing such a high-calibre opponent.
“I love how good they are,” she said. “It’s good competition and playing with them is good for us, and I think we played really well on those long rallies.”
The Spartans will continue Big Ten play Saturday at 8 p.m., when they host Indiana at Jenison Field House.
“We know we can’t dwell on this very long,” George said. “If we want to take that match, we have to go in as an attack mode, not a ‘feel sorry for yourself’ mode. And so let’s get it back together.”
Support student media!
Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.
Share and discuss “No. 25 Spartans no longer undefeated after losing battle with No. 17 Purdue” on social media.