It was too little too late for the Spartans, who waited until they were down two sets to play their best volleyball.
The Spartans (9-7 overall, 2-3 Big Ten) dropped the first two sets en route to a loss at home on Friday night, falling to No. 8 Nebraska (10-4 overall, 4-1 Big Ten), 1-3 (20-25, 18-25, 25-22, 23-25).
“I thought we were a little inconsistent with our fight,” head coach Cathy George said. “We just needed to stay more consistently aggressive.”
MSU looked as if they would take the first set with ease after a kill by senior outside hitter Jazmine White put the Spartans up, 18-13. Nebraska had other plans. The Cornhuskers stormed back with a 12-2 run, winning the opening set 25-20.
Nebraska carried its good fortune into the second set. White tied the game at three with a kill but that was as close as MSU would get. Nebraska won the set, 25-18.
White finished with five kills, one assist and one dig.
The Spartans and Cornhuskers appeared to switch roles in the third set. MSU was able to find their groove, surging to a 10-6 lead, while Nebraska scuffled. The Spartans won the set, 25-22.
“We bought a lot of energy to the court,” sophomore middle blocker Allyssah Fitterer said of the third set. “We came out with a purpose, which we didn’t have in the first two sets.”
Fitterer finished with ten kills, two digs and a team-high .200 hitting percentage.
“I felt like I stepped it up tonight,” Fitterer said. “It’s not one person it’s a whole team, it’s stuff I need to smooth out.”
Despite the urgings of a suddenly reenergized crowd, MSU could not force a fifth set. Nebraska won a nail-biter, 25-23 in the fourth set.
The Spartans will have a chance tomorrow night against Iowa to get back in the win column. The Hawkeyes (8-8 overall, 0-5 Big Ten) have struggled all season long, with their most recent loss coming at the hands of Michigan (7-8 overall, 2-3 Big Ten).
Michigan swept Iowa on Friday night in three sets, and the Hawkeyes still have not won a match or a set in conference play.
“We want to be very aggressive,” senior co-captain and libero Kori Moster said about Saturday’s game. “We’re a very talented team, we can use that to our advantage.”
Tomorrow’s match will begin at 7 p.m.
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