With only a month left in the season, the women’s volleyball team is still searching for a signature win, and a matchup with a Big Ten foe this weekend might provide the perfect opportunity.
“We’ve got to get some of these matches,” head coach Cathy George said.
MSU (12-9 overall, 5-5 Big Ten) welcomes No. 10 Illinois (16-5 overall, 8-2 Big Ten) to Jenison Field House on Friday night and Northwestern (13-8 overall, 3-7 Big Ten) on Saturday night.
“The second half of the Big Ten (season) is about getting down to business,” Kori Moster, senior libero and team co-captain said.
The Spartans are on a two-game losing streak after dropping games to No. 6 Penn State and No. 17 Ohio State last weekend, despite playing competitively in both matches.
“It’s frustrating when you feel like you have improved and don’t have the results for it,” Moster said. “We’re able to compete at a high level.”
New records for Moster
Moster is a player to watch, not only because she is the team’s defensive specialist but because she is closing in on sixth all-time in the Big Ten in digs.
The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is at 2,008 career digs, five shy of former Purdue libero Kelli Miller.
Moster was also named a Senior CLASS finalist for her exemplary efforts in the “community, classroom, character and competition.”
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the SENIOR CLASS award recognizes student-athletes who use their platform to make a positive impact on and off the court.
Cutting down mistakes
Cleaning up the unforced errors and finishing out sets were things George and her players stressed during practice this week.
“You never want to give up points,” George said. “If you can eliminate some of the points you’re giving to another team they actually have to earn them.”
MSU is in for a stiff challenge against Illinois, who is on a five-game win streak and has won 11 of its last 13 games.
Redshirt junior outside hitter Jocelynn Birks has been a key player for the Fighting Illini during the win streak, totaling 75 kills and 51 digs in the last five games.
“I think we’re really fired up,” senior middle blocker and team co-captain Jazmine White said she wants to see her team bring the same intensity this weekend.
First serve is set for 7 p.m. on Friday night and 6:30 p.m. Saturday night.