No. 14 MSU (4-1 overall) couldn’t get anything going against No. 20 North Carolina (3-1) in Friday’s home opener, losing to the Tar Heels in straight sets (17-25, 20-25, 22-25).
“It was a learning experience,” head coach Cathy George said, “They came out being the aggressor from the get go and we were playing a step behind for most of the match.
Tonight’s game was the first of a rough stretch for the Spartans, who will face two more top-25 ranked teams in the next week — No. 19 Duke tomorrow and No. 22 Oregon on the road next Friday.
“Whether you win or lose you have to be ready for the next day,” George said. “They are going to have to learn that lesson quick.”
The first set was back and forth until a kill by Tar Heels outside hitter Leigh Andrew gave UNC a 14-12 lead and sparked a 13-5 run.
The Tar Heels pounced on the Spartans early in the second set, taking an 8-1 lead. Despite a late push, UNC was able to hold off MSU 25-20.
The third set was the most competitive of the match but a service error by redshirt freshman middle blocker Megan Tompkins and an attack error by freshman setter Rachel Minarick sealed the Spartans’ fate.
Minarick played in all three sets and finished with four kills and four digs.
Despite the loss, team co-captain Kori Moster was still optimistic about the outlook for the weekend.
“This is a process,” Moster said, “We are going to take something from every match.”
Moster finished the contest with six digs, it was only the 17th time in the libero’s 109 game career that she was held below ten digs.
MSU is back in action tomorrow at home against Duke, game time is 5 p.m. at Jenison Field House.
On Saturday, the Spartans also will raise former two time All-American Lauren Wicinski’s name into the Jenison Field House rafters.
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