Perhaps the new uniforms bought new energy to the Spartans, who adorned pink jerseys on Saturday night instead of the customary home white ones as part of their annual Breast Cancer Awareness game.
MSU (10-7 overall, 3-3 Big Ten) had its way with Iowa, defeating the Hawkeyes (8-9 overall, 0-6 Big Ten) in straight sets, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-18).
“Even before we started I saw a focus and intensity, it was a calm intensity, a focused intensity,” head coach Cathy George said. “I knew that our team was ready.”
The struggles continued for the Hawkeyes, who remain winless in Big Ten play and are still searching for their first conference set victory.
MSU won the first set, 25-15 with little resistance from the Hawkeyes.
It looked as if Iowa would give the Spartans a run for their money when the score was tied at five but a balanced attack from the home team thwarted those efforts. MSU had six different players record a kill in the opening set.
“I thought we came out strong,” senior libero and co-captain Kori Moster said. “We showed a lot of purpose.”
Similar to the first set, MSU established dominance over Iowa early, cruising to a 25-17 win.
The second set belonged to sophomore middle blocker Allyssah Fitterer, who had six kills, two assists and two digs in the period.
Iowa would not go home without mounting one last threat in the third set. The Hawkeyes were able to hang around late in the set, but a kill by freshman middle blocker Alyssa Garvelink when the score was 20-18 lifted the Spartans.
MSU took care of business from there, winning the set 25-18.
Garvelink finished with ten kills, hitting at a .273 clip.
“We really came out with a fire to win,” Garvelink said. “Everyone pitched in tonight.”
Offensively, sophomore outside hitter Chloe Reinig led all scorers with 11 kills and a .474 hitting percentage.
Defensively, Moster had a game-high 13 digs. The Spartans out blocked the Hawkeyes, 7-5.
MSU will have a week off before heading to the East Coast to face Big Ten newcomers Maryland and Rutgers.
The Spartans might be able to put together a win streak as Maryland and Rutgers are a combined 0-10 in Big Ten play thus far this season.
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