Michigan State has now lost five straight after dropping both Big Ten games versus Maryland and Ohio State at Jenison Fieldhouse last weekend.
The Spartans opened their two game home stand against the Wisconsin Badgers, the No. 3 team in the nation. Wisconsin is in second place in the Big Ten, with its only loss on the season coming from Maryland, Michigan State’s opponent on Saturday.
The Spartans were swept in three sets, the closest margin being five points in the first. Wisconsin’s defense stifled Michigan State’s offense, forcing 30 attack errors and putting up nine blocks on the night — graduate student Dana Rettke was credited for six of the nine. Sophomore Sarah Franklin led Michigan State’s offense with nine kills and sophomore Celia Cullen continued to rack up stats, notching 18 assists and 11 digs on the night.
The Spartans were neck and neck in the first set, but after breaking a 12-12 tie, the Badgers gained control of the match and secured a comfortable five-point victory.
Wisconsin dominated the second match, possessing the lead the entire way as they cruised to a 25-10 win. Michigan State didn’t go down without a fight, rallying throughout the final set to stay within reach of Wisconsin, but the Badgers eventually pulled away, securing a seven-point victory and completing the sweep.
Michigan State’s loss to Wisconsin was its fourth straight and Wisconsin is the fourth straight ranked opponent they have faced.
Saturday, the Spartans looked to bounce back against Maryland but lost a close match in four sets. It was a hard-fought battle, but errors plagued Michigan State early on and followed them throughout the match.
The Spartans won the first set 25-18 despite their four service errors. They relied on their offense led by Franklin who ended the night with 20 kills. Senior Naya Gros also racked up 11 kills and Cullen had 48 assists and nine digs on the night.
Despite their early victory in the first set, momentum gradually shifted toward the Terrapins. Although both teams fought hard to stay on top, Maryland emerged victoriously and used that energy to take the next two sets as well, handing Michigan State their fifth straight loss.
“I think we started off really well and we followed the game plan and we did what we needed to do as the match went on," Michigan State Head Coach Cathy George said on the loss. "We just started making a lot of unforced errors and things that really hurt us at critical times.”
Franklin emphasized the importance of avoiding these errors.
"I feel like we could have performed a lot better in areas obviously like playing in tough points where you have to make those plays and just little errors like that," Franklin said.
Michigan State looks to snap their losing streak on the road when they take on Purdue Wednesday, Oct. 20.
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