Sunday, September 19, 2021

MSU volleyball continues rocky start to season in first match with Ohio State

February 1, 2021
Michigan State volleyball coach Cathy George talks to her team during a timeout against Ohio State on Jan. 31, 2021. The Spartans dropped the home game at Jenison Field House in three sets.
Michigan State volleyball coach Cathy George talks to her team during a timeout against Ohio State on Jan. 31, 2021. The Spartans dropped the home game at Jenison Field House in three sets. —
Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

Spartan volleyball continued their rocky start to the season as they were defeated in another three-set sweep against Ohio State.

Cathy George and Co. have yet to find the win column this season and will come back Monday night against OSU.

MSU came out the gate struggling as Ohio State took a 12-9 lead early in the first set. 

The Spartans showed some aggressiveness as they tallied 32 attacks in the first set. Junior Molly Johnson led the Spartans with three kills, while senior Meredith Norris, freshman Sarah Franklin and sophomore Emma Monks all had two kills each. 

Despite the aggressive effort MSU never gained enough momentum to overcome Ohio State’s 0.36 hitting percentage and only one error, as MSU lost the first set 25-17.

The Spartans showed resilience in the second set, jumping out to an 8-5 lead. 

The Spartan lead soon evaporated. Helped by a 13-5 run, Ohio State eventually led 20-13, forcing MSU to call a timeout.

MSU lost the second set 25-15, largely due to their costly 16 errors in the set.

Bright performances still occurred for MSU, as Franklin and sophomore Cecilee Max-Brown had four kills each while the Spartans had more attacks than Ohio State with 71, but Ohio State was more efficient as they scored 25 kills to the Spartans’ 19.

Max-Brown continues to be a standout player this season and even in the two losses has been an impact player for the Spartans.

“She’s a very fiery player who’s very springy and quick,” said Head Coach Cathy George. “...she came off the bench and did some really nice things for us and made an impact.”

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Junior Elena Shklyar also had an amazing set and tallied 11 assists.

In the third set the Spartans once again jumped out to an early lead, this time they were up 11-7 powered by a 4-0 run where freshman Celia Cullen had two kills and Franklin also scored a kill.

In what seemed to be the main struggle of the matches, MSU once again let Ohio State make another run and soon MSU fell behind 20-15, and ended up losing the set 25-20.

The biggest struggle for the Spartans was keeping up pace and momentum.

“We basically need to make sure that we’re not focused on the point that was passed, but start looking at the next point,” said George.

On the day, Franklin totaled seven kills and Cullen totaled 15 assists, both keeping pace with the strong debut performances they had against Minnesota.

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Other strong performances include Max-Brown, who led the team with eight kills, Naya Gros who scored five kills, senior Jamye Cox who had 14 digs and Shklyar who totaled 11 assists. 

MSU looks to get revenge and their first win of the season on Feb. 1 when they take on Ohio State at Jenison Field House.

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