The Spartans came into Wednesday’s matchup with Maryland with an 11-6 record and a .500 record in conference play. It was the breast cancer awareness game for MSU, and the fans at Jenison Field House were dressed head-to-toe in green and pink.
The crowd erupted with applause before the first set when the announcement for those locked in a battle with cancer, and those who have won the battle, to stand. The officials and coaches all wore pink ribbons to support those same people who stood.
The other storyline of the game — Cathy George, the head volleyball coach, was sitting on 199 wins at the helm of MSU volleyball.
She left Jenison Field House with number 200.
With her ladies dressed in special pink uniforms, the Spartans cruised to an opening set win. They dropped the second set, but sophomore Holly Toliver and junior Allyssah Fitterer responded during the third set with a dominating 25-15 victory.
The fourth set was a struggle early on, as Maryland took a 16-11 lead. That’s when George called timeout and rallied her troops. After the timeout, junior Chloe Reinig stormed out from the huddle and had four straight kills to regain momentum for the Spartans.
With the momentum back in their hands, it was smooth sailing for MSU. The Spartans defeated the Terrapins 3-1 with a ferocious fourth set rally, scoring 14 of the last 16 points. The student section was crazy with excitement for George and the team after a blocked spike gave MSU their match point.
Fitterer, Reinig and Toliver, along with sophomore Alyssa Garvelink, all had double-digit kills. Sophomore Abby Monson led the team with 16 digs, and senior Kristin Muir and Toliver both recorded double-digit digs as well.
Only one person recorded double-digit assists, and that was sophomore Rachel Minarick. She was the only one who really needed to, as she recorded 46 of them.
After the victory, Cathy George went to the center of the court to receive a commemorative game ball, and joined in with her players as the band played the alma mater and the ladies departed to the locker room to celebrate their coach’s milestone.
The Spartans picked up a key victory, putting them to 4-3 in the conference with a game against 3-16 Rutgers on Saturday. Cathy George will be looking for win number 201 against the Scarlet Knights.
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