Sunday, September 19, 2021

MSU volleyball prepares for season finale, senior night as they host Rutgers

April 2, 2021
<p>Freshman setter Celia Cullen (2) and junior middle blocker Naya Gros (17) block the ball in the first set against Penn State. The Nittany Lions shut out the Spartans, 3-0, on March 20, 2021. </p>

Freshman setter Celia Cullen (2) and junior middle blocker Naya Gros (17) block the ball in the first set against Penn State. The Nittany Lions shut out the Spartans, 3-0, on March 20, 2021.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

MSU prepares to end what has been a rough season as they host Rutgers this weekend for their regular-season finale. 

MSU is coming off a series against Iowa where they couldn’t have played any more different in the two matches. They beat the Hawkeyes in three sets to win the first match, but then Iowa swept them in the second match. 

MSU is looking forward to a very winnable final matchup against Rutgers, who holds last place in the conference at 4-14, but they know that they can’t afford to overlook any team, especially after dropping a match to an Iowa team that they outplayed in one match and then got outplayed by the next. 

“Rutgers has already won more games than they have in recent years,” Head Coach Cathy George said. “They have really improved. They have a transfer from Auburn and a player from Serbia that is really making an impact in the middle.”

MSU will also have their senior night on Saturday, to honor their seniors who have been the glue to hold together this team who has had to endure so much adversity this season. 

MSU’s season has been unpredictable throughout. The team has dealt with games being postponed, not being able to practice as a team and having to shuffle lineups and rotations due to COVID-19. Their seniors have been a key piece for this team to even be able to compete. 

MSU will honor seniors Alyssa Chronowski, Julia Hatcher, Bella Legarza, Meredith Norris, Elena Shklyar and Lauren Swartz. 

“It was a challenging year for so many different reasons, and I thought the seniors did a really nice job of trying to keep it together through all that,” George said.

Seniors like Chronowski, Norris and Swartz have been instrumental down the stretch this season. After the injury to Sarah Franklin, they have been responsible for the majority of the offense and attacks the Spartans run. Just last week, in the first match against Iowa, Chronowski had 13 kills, while in the second match Norris led MSU with eight kills. Swartz has also been an instrumental part to the Spartans’ presence at the net, putting in six blocks in the series against Iowa. Shklyar has also been essential in the rotation, setting up the attacks and contributing solid assists night in and night out. 

George said the seniors have been so important, especially in terms of guiding young players.

With MSU’s great young talent, like freshmen Celia Cullen and Sarah Franklin, the Spartans have been fortunate to have so many valuable veterans who were able not to only mentor the program’s future but lead by example as well on the court. 

The Spartans definitely want to end the season strong not only to show that they can compete in a tough Big Ten conference but to send their seniors off on a win in their last home games.

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