Michigan State volleyball (16-13, 4-12 Big Ten) lost 3-1 in a back-and-forth match with Iowa Saturday night at Jenison Fieldhouse.
“Every so often we take a step back and we want to make sure that those movements are just constantly going forward and we're disappointed with this loss,” coach Cathy George said postgame. “We think Iowa is very good team, a very good team. They played well; they play great defensively and we just didn't get the win tonight.”
It was a tale of two sets through the first two Saturday night.
Iowa commanded the opening set in its early stages. After MSU took a 1-0 lead, the Hawkeyes attack held the lead for the majority of the set. After going on 5-0 run, Iowa took an early 8-3 lead and control of the majority of the first set. It seemed MSU would fail to see another lead during the set, until a combination of two 5-0 runs by the Spartans in the midst of a 14-4 run overall.
MSU took the lead on freshman middle blocker Rebecka Poljan’s kill, giving her team a 20-19 lead, and eventually led to a 22-19 lead the Spartans retained en route to a set victory of 25-20.
The second set was a back-and-forth affair. After the Hawkeyes started with a 4-3 lead, the Spartans seemed to be in prime position to take the lead back on a number of moments throughout the set. Iowa never led by more than four until creating a 15-10 lead, and the end of the set featured two lead changes and three ties.
The Hawkeyes held off MSU until sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Chronowski’s kill gave MSU a 24-23 lead. After a series of lead changes, Iowa took set 30-28 on a Maddie Slagle service ace and error on Chronowski. The Spartans hit 34.7 percent while Iowa hit 34.2 percent.
The third set proved to be a little more one-sided, as MSU did not see a lead until freshman middle blocker Naya Gros’ rifled a kill onto the hardwood to make it 14-13 in favor of the Spartans. A Meghan Buzzerio kill and an ensuing Chronowski attack error allowed the Hawkeyes to retake the lead at 15-14 at the front end of a 12-5 Iowa run that led to a 25-19 set victory.
In the fourth set, MSU seemed to be in the driver’s seat, primed to force a fifth set. After being tied at 6 points, MSU held the lead down the stretch until Iowa took over at 24-23 on a Brie Orr kill and closed the match at 25-23, sealing the victory for the Hawkeyes.
“I think Cathy talked about that as a sign of maturity, how we handle our emotions at that point,” Chronowski said. “Some of the people on the bench were talking about how in the fourth set we were up three points and it didn't feel like it. Even if they get a point we can respond right away and change the momentum of the game and be at 24. But we took the opportunity to kind of get back on our heels and allow Iowa to get back in it.”
The Spartans travel to Rutgers Wednesday to take on the Scarlett Knights (6-23, 0-16).