Michigan State volleyball (16-12, 4-11 Big Ten) defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes (12-15, 3-12) 3-1 Wednesday night in front a packed crowd at Jenison Fieldhouse.
The first point of the night came from freshman middle blocker Rebecka Poljan’s big block starting the Spartans on a 4-0 run, including fellow freshman Elena Shklyar’s two service aces and a Maddie Haggerty kill. Both the Spartans and Buckeyes had errors bringing the Spartans' lead within five points, yet they never trailed. MSU had 10 kills, hitting at 18.5 percent and 12 team blocks to finish the first set with a 25-18 score.
“Ohio State, as usual … they're a very good defensive team and really went after it," coach Cathy George said after the game. “I thought our team came out really well, everybody was clicking, working together on the blocking.”
The second set was a much closer set, with 10 ties and five lead changes. Haggerty lead with six kills while OSU’s 6-foot-6 freshman weapon Vanja Bukilic had eight. The Spartans had a 4-0 run late in the second set, but it was not enough to win the set, which went to the Buckeyes 26-24. The Spartan defense was lead by Samantha McLean’s three digs, while the offense hit 25 percent.
“You know it’s so worth it, we didn’t get down on ourselves and it was just fun tonight," said Haggerty who lead the Spartans with 18 kills and had a 56.7 hitting percentage.
The third set began with a 4-1 run from the Buckeyes, shrinking the Spartans' margin for error. Once Alyssa Chronowski got started, she couldn’t be stopped. Sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Chronowski carried the load for MSU in the set, finishing with seven kills and leading the Spartans to a 25-19 win.
“That’s just discipline,” Poljan said. “We kinda learned that in the Minnesota game (MSU lost 3-2). It’s discipline, when it counts the most. Coming together on good, bad and indifferent plays and sticking together through those moments."
The Spartans dominated the fourth set from beginning to end, taking advantage of the Buckeyes' errors. Chronowski had 11 consecutive service aces, helping MSU to a 12-1 run in the middle of the set. Freshman outside hitter Molly Johnson’s emphatic kill sealed the deal by gaining the set-winning point for the Spartans, who took the set 25-10. Haggerty led with six kills, followed by Johnson’s four. MSU hit its best during this set, hitting at 52 percent while also having 12 digs and four blocks.
The Spartans will look for back-to-back wins when they host Iowa Saturday (7 p.m.) at Jenison Fieldhouse.
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