The No. 16 MSU volleyball team played Northwestern University for the first time this season on Friday at Jenison Field House. It took the first set for the Spartans to warm up to the Wildcats, but from the second set forward MSU established proper game play and took the win in three sets.
Northwestern established a dominance and a lead very early on in the game. At the halfway point of the first set, MSU responded well to the intensity from the Wildcats, but for every MSU response Northwestern had two or three. Northwestern’s, Symone Abbot was an early problem for MSU as she had six kills in the first set. MSU regained control of the match after the 19th point, which led them to a winning match point.
What was faulty during the first set was cleaned up in the second set by MSU. The Spartans did a well at keeping stray balls in play and at winning the point after long frames. Northwestern was down from the very beginning, and they just couldn’t seem to put a dent in the deficit. Junior outside hitter Autumn Bailey has an impressive second set with 5 kills, 4 digs and 5 points. Middle blocker, Alyssa Garvelink had 4 kills and 1 blocking assists to score 4.5 points during the set.
MSU came out strong again for the final set, but was met by responses from Northwestern. The do-or-die intensity from the Wildcats didn’t last long, the Spartans game plan forced Northwestern to have plenty of simple errors that turned into points.
Senior Chloe Reinig was very present and dominate on the court for her team. Reinig had 9 kills, 1 assist, two blocking assists and 10 points.
The game was filled with services aces from MSU, which isn’t much of a surprise as the Spartans lead the Big Ten and the nation with 165 total services aces. Bailey’s serve was very powerful against Northwestern as she had 5 service aces, the most from the team. Libero, Abby Monson and setter, Rachel Minarick both had two.
No. 16 MSU Volleyball returns Saturday for their rematch against Illinois at 6:30pm in Jenison Field House. To keep up with all the coverage head to The State News on Twitter (@thesnews_sports).
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