Thursday, October 21, 2021

Michigan State volleyball rallies for a 3-0 sweep during Green & White Classic

September 20, 2021
<p>Michigan State Volleyball teams join in a huddle during their game against IUPUI on Sept.18, 2021. </p>

Michigan State Volleyball teams join in a huddle during their game against IUPUI on Sept.18, 2021.

Photo by Chandra Fleming | The State News

Michigan State volleyball hosted Oakland University, IUPUI and Central Michigan for the Green & White Classic and walked away with three wins under their belt. 

After a 2-3 weekend at the Brigham Young Invitational and canceled matches against UNC and Duke, the Spartans were eager to be back in the green and white on their home turf. 

In the weekend opener against Oakland, the Spartans started off rocky in the first set as the Grizzlies gained an early lead. Multiple kills from Cecilee Max-Brown and Sarah Franklin alongside blocks from Naya Gros and Rebecka Poljan gave the Spartans an advantage and won the first set 26-24.

The momentum from the first set carried into the second as the Spartans earned an early advantage going on a 5-0 run. MSU’s offense shined through against the Grizzlies with strong performances from Max-Brown, Franklin and Poljan, finishing the second set 25-13 with a .571 hitting percentage for the Spartans. 

During the third set, the Spartans and Grizzlies went back and forth point for point until the race to 20. A kill from Max-Brown ended the race to 20 as the Grizzlies began to trail further, eventually winning their final set 25-20. 

The Spartans proved that they’re quick on their feet and can make quick adjustments during sets in their weekend opener against the Grizzlies. 

“I think we did a very good job at staying composed that entire game, if something went wrong, or miscommunication, we were right back out the next point,” Franklin said. “I think that’s our focus for the season this year.”

In the second match of the tournament, the Spartans walked away with another three set wins under their belt against the IUPUI Jaguars. 

Spartan performances shined through, overcoming obstacles and a tough second set. Poljan ended the day with ten kills, three blocks and a hitting percentage of .667. Franklin and Gros again were powerful players for MSU as Franklin had eight kills and Gros had five blocks and three kills. 

After a match win against IUPUI, the Spartans began to prepare for their match against Central Michigan later that night. 

In the first set of the final match of the tournament, the Spartans started off slow against the Chippewas as Central took the win during the first set. 

“I thought we started kind of slow, I thought they came out really tough,” Michigan State Head Coach Cathy George said. “... We were just maybe not as collected as we need to.”

MSU gained their momentum back in the second set as multiple players proved themselves to be powerhouses for the team. 

The straight set wins and the ignition of team chemistry allowed for Franklin to have her career best 21 kills, hitting at a .422. Multiple other Spartans broke season records with 11 kills from Gros and 42 assists from Cullen alongside six digs and four blocks. 

“We’re learning to rely on different people at different times, and I think that’s been good,” George said. “This team really has worked on their partner game … but I like the fact that we’re rallying around it and coming back together.” 

The Green & White Classic marked the end of non-conference play and will begin Big Ten play 7-2 this coming weekend at Indiana on Sept. 24 and at Michigan Sept. 26.

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