Tuesday, October 27, 2020

At season midpoint, volleyball hopes win over U-M will lead to momentum push

October 5, 2014
<p>Freshman setter Rachel Minarick and senior middle blocker block the ball Oct. 3, 2014, during a game against the University of Michigan at Jenison Fieldhouse. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines, 3-1. Erin Hampton/The State News</p>

Freshman setter Rachel Minarick and senior middle blocker block the ball Oct. 3, 2014, during a game against the University of Michigan at Jenison Fieldhouse. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines, 3-1. Erin Hampton/The State News

Photo by Erin Hampton | The State News

Fifteen games are in the books for the volleyball team and there are 16 left to go. The season is at the midpoint and the Spartans are hoping to establish a rhythm.

MSU (9-6 overall, 2-2 Big Ten) defeated Michigan (6-8 overall, 1-3 Big Ten), 3-1 (25-21, 29-31, 25-23, 26-24) on Friday night in front of a record crowd at Jenison Field House.

“For us to get in these tight games and fight through them and claw through them and learn how to win at that time, it’s an important step for our team,” head coach Cathy George said.

The Spartans hope its win against their archrival can give them some momentum going forward.

“There were points where we saw little sparks of excellence with us as a team, not just as individuals,” sophomore middle blocker and opposite hitter Allyssah Fitterer said.

The start to this season has been in stark contrast to the first 15 games of last season, where MSU began with a 14-1 record.

This season, it seems as if every win or winning streak is followed by an abrupt loss or losing streak.

The Spartans four-game win streak to begin the season was followed by a three-game losing streak, and the three-game winning streak to end nonconference play and begin Big Ten play was followed by a two-game losing streak.

Waiting this Friday at Jenison is another tough team, No. 8 Nebraska, who the Spartans split two games with last season.

The Cornhuskers will be MSU’s toughest test of the season thus far but it will give them a chance to measure up against the Big Ten elite.

The outlook for the Spartans, who had championship aspirations, coming into the season still looks bright.

MSU is in the middle of the pack with a 2-2 record in Big Ten play and will play all the teams ahead of them in the coming weeks.

“We showed what we’re capable (against U-M),” senior libero and co-captain Kori Moster said. “That’s going to become part of our identity and who we are if we do that on a consistent basis.”

The Spartans have shown this season they can go toe-to-toe with anyone the Big Ten has to offer. Purdue (13-2 overall, 3-0 Big Ten), who sits atop the conference, struggled to put away MSU on its home court a week ago in four competitive sets.

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