After a near month-long break, the Spartans were eager to be back at Jenison Fieldhouse to face off against the Nittany Lions.
The Spartans last played Wisconsin the weekend of Feb. 20-21 and have had their series against Illinois, Northwestern and Purdue postponed.
MSU has not been able to hold team practices, only individual practices and workouts in which individual development has been the main focus.
Penn State, with an overall record of 8-5, has been able to play the last few weekends, making it an even harder obstacle for MSU to overcome — which they didn't. They fell in three sets to the Nittany Lions on Friday afternoon.
“They (Penn State) are a very talented team and well coached,” Head Coach Cathy George said in her weekly press conference. “We’ve played a very rigorous schedule, and it doesn’t get any easier this weekend.”
The team was looking to rebuild their chemistry and energy as they began the series against Penn State.
Starting off the first set trailing to Penn State, the Nittany Lions held a 10-6 advantage over the Spartans early into the set.
PSU continued to hold their lead, and after many back and forth points, the Nittany Lions eventually pulled out the win for the first set, 25-18.
With their energy high from the match lead, the Nittany Lions started off the second set with a 5-0 run over the Spartans. PSU brought on another 5-0 on Michigan State, with a 12-4 advantage.
The Nittany Lions won the race to 20, but the Spartans fought on as they went point for point, 23-16. Ultimately, MSU fell short to PSU with a final score of 25-17 for the second set.
“I think we played with a lot of height and grit and heart, but we fell in the discipline aspect, and just making sure that we were staying clean and up to speed to the game,” senior outside hitter Meredith Norris said in post-game interviews.
Despite falling short to Penn State in the first two sets, Michigan State had a few standout performances across the team. Senior outside hitter Alyssa Chronowski combined for six kills and five digs between the two sets. Norris also combined for six kills and three digs.
“So, I thought they had to deal with some tough situations," George said of Norris' and Chronowski's playing. "I thought they managed it."
The Spartans brought more energy going into the third set, knowing this was their last chance to stay alive in Friday’s matchup. Ultimately, with a strong PSU offense, the Spartans fell short to the Nittany Lions, 25-14.
“I know that we need to make some adjustments," George said. "We did some of those within the game during the match, and we’ll continue to look at that on film to see."
The Spartans will continue the series against Penn State at 6 p.m. March 20 here at Jenison Field House.
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