Two games against struggling opponents afforded the volleyball team time to give some of its younger players minutes over the weekend.
“We had a lot players get out there,” head coach Cathy George said. “I thought it was great to see ... what they were able to do.”
MSU (12-7 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) defeated Maryland (7-12 overall, 0-8 Big Ten), on Friday night and Rutgers (7-14 overall, 0-8 Big Ten), Saturday night in straight sets on the road.
“I think Maryland came charging at us a little bit,” George said. “It was important that we got some stops and we were able to put some points on the board at the end.”
It was the 10th straight loss for the Terrapins, who have not won a set since Oct. 5 against Purdue.
MSU again had little trouble putting away Rutgers, another newcomer to the Big Ten, who is also still searching for their first conference win.
“With Rutgers we did some really nice things, but we also needed to be a little more high percentage across the board,” George said regarding her team’s 3-0 win. “We got to make sure that we’re taking good shots.”
The win marked the third straight sweep for MSU, who currently sits in seventh place in the Big Ten standings.
The Spartans used a total of 14 different players during the weekend’s games, including freshman outside hitter Holly Toliver, who has been .
“We’re trying to work Holly back in slowly but surely as she regains her strength and her stamina.” George said. “She ran up a couple points at the serving line and was able to get herself ... back into the groove.”
Toliver played in a combined three sets over the weekend, totaling five kills and two digs.
“We look for her to continue to increase that strength and stamina over the course of the next couple of weeks,” George said.
Freshman defensive specialist Marissa Ratzenberger made her collegiate debut against Rutgers on Saturday night and contributed immediately.
Ratzenberger had four digs and a service ace while also serving on four straight MSU points.
Sophomore middle blocker Autumn Christenson and freshman middle blocker Megan Tompkins, who usually sit behind middle blockers freshman Alyssa Garvelink and senior Jazmine White, also got in on the action Saturday.
Christenson and Tompkins combined for eight kills against Rutgers, one of which — by Tompkins — won the second set for MSU.
“We want to improve our depth across the board as we go into the tail end of the conference season,” George said.