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MSU volleyball returns from BYU invitational 2-1

September 8, 2021
<p>The MSU Volleyball team kicked off their season with the Green versus White scrimmage on Aug. 21, 2021.</p>

The MSU Volleyball team kicked off their season with the Green versus White scrimmage on Aug. 21, 2021.

Photo by Thomas Ruth | The State News

Michigan State volleyball traveled to Provo, Utah for the Brigham Young Invitational this weekend, traveling back home with two wins and one loss under their belt. 

The Spartans faced off against Dixie State, Weber State and BYU, taking down Dixie State and Weber State, but fell to the Cougars after getting swept in all three sets.

The team came hot out the gate against Dixie State early on Friday with Sarah Franklin, Cecilee Max-Brown, Biamba Kabengele, Naya Gros, Rebecka Poljan, Celia Cullen and Talia Edmonds as starters. 

Gros tied 5th for MSU’s record for solo blocks in a three-set match with five solo blocks and five block assists. 

Dixie State took the lead early in the first match, but the Spartans slowly crept up, leading for the rest of the match with a hitting percentage of .341 over the course of the three sets. 

Franklin led the team over the match with 13 kills and a career-high of .650 hitting percentage, giving the Spartans the early advantage.

During the second set, the Spartans carried the lead continuously with a final score of 25-17.

The Trailblazers took an early lead in the third set, but the Spartans tied it up 8-8. From here, MSU took the lead with a 3-0 run and finished the third set 25-20 for their third sweep of the season. 

For the second match of the invitational, the Spartans took out Weber State for another 3-0 sweep. The Spartans had multiple career highs as well as team highs.

Poljan scored a career high of 14 kills and a .778 hitting percentage, along with three solo blocks, all while the team ended with an overall hitting percentage of .341. 

Max-Brown completed her second double-double along with 12 kills and a .455 hitting percentage. Franklin and Kabengele both added nine kills and the team had a season best of 53 digs, the most in a match since 2019. 

Despite the strong start to the invitational, the Spartans ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday afternoon as No.13 BYU swept the Spartans 3-0 on the day.

BYU took the lead early in the first set with an 8-2 run that put them at 15-6 over MSU. With a high hitting percentage of .400, the Cougars closed off the first set with a 25-13 win. 

The Cougars started the second set strong with a 16-6 lead over the Spartans, but MSU put up a fight with 11 kills and a pair of blocks with four of the kills coming from Max-Brown. 

The Spartans couldn't crawl out of the hole and fell short to the Cougars in the second and third sets and BYU walked away undefeated in their home invitational.

Originally scheduled to try and bounce back this upcoming weekend against Duke and North Carolina, Michigan State announced that they would be canceled due to health and safety protocols. These games will not be rescheduled.

As a result, MSU will next compete in the Green & White Classic Sept. 17-18 against Oakland, IUPUI and Central Michigan.

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