Spartans rebound but lose in five sets to No. 2 Minnesota
No. 13 MSU volleyball went on the road to play No. 2 Minnesota for the second time this season. MSU last played the Golden Gophers at Jenison Field House where the Spartans upset the Gophers in five sets.
The tables were turned on Friday night, and it was Minnesota that walked away with a win on their home court, which they haven’t lost on since 2014. The Spartans put up a good fight, and it came down to the last three points in the final set (17-25, 18-25, 25-21, 25-19, 16-18).
After being down two sets, MSU was looking to avoid being swept. Junior Holly Toliver had a service ace early on in the third set and seven kills later, MSU had an 8-5 led, their first of the night. Plays from senior middle blocker Allyssah Fitterer and junior middle blocker Alyssa Garvelink helped MSU stay alive.
The Spartans opened the fourth set with a 10-3, and MSU would go on for their largest lead of the night, 23-12. Minnesota responded with a 6-0 run but kills from redshirt-junior outside hitter Autumn Bailey and Fitterer would send the game into the fifth and final set.
The Spartans and the Golden Gophers exchanged the lead many times in the fifth set. The match came down to one error — Minnesota took a 17-16 lead, and Bailey made an attack on the ball that went out of bounds giving the Gophers the win.
The Spartans had their hands full with Minnesota’s freshman, Alexis Hart, who had a match-high of 20 kills against the Spartans, while senior Sarah Wilhite had 18 kills.
Even with the loss, junior setter Rachel Minarick had a double-double with 55 assists and 11 digs, while Bailey also had a double-double with 11 kills and 15 digs. Co-captain, Chloe Reinig led the Spartans with 14 kills and Garvelink followed behind with 13 kills and 9 blocks, three of which were solo.
No. 13 MSU will have a quick turnaround, as they play No. 3 Wisconsin Saturday night for their second consecutive road game.