Michigan State volleyball returned to East Lansing Sunday following a road loss to No. 5 Wisconsin to take on U-M in the annual Jam Jenison. The Spartans lead the all-time series 54-47-1, but fell short to the Wolverines in a 3-0 sweep at a sold out Jenison Fieldhouse.
During all three sets the Spartans came hot out the gate but fizzled out as Michigan’s remained a force to be reckoned with.
“I think our blockers were getting in place, I thought they just really scored on it,” Michigan State volleyball Head Coach Cathy George said during the post-game press conference. “We know that we left it alone a little bit more than we were supposed to or should have.”
Beginning with the first set MSU took off in a 5-1 run but U-M soon followed with a 5-0 run as the Spartans fell behind with multiple attack errors. The set continued back and forth between the two teams, tying up at 9-9 and eventually with 21 points each.
Despite falling short in the first set 25-23, the Spartans showed spark with Kabengele hitting .714 and five kills from sophomore Sarah Franklin.
Franklin noted that the team needed to be more aggressive and assertive while sticking to their game plan while playing against their rivals.
“I feel like we kind of lost touch of that in the end of the first set and through the second set as well,” Franklin said.
Going into the second set the Spartans took off with a 3-0 lead but a 7-3 run from Michigan put the Wolverines ahead, gaining them momentum for the rest of the set. With a few more errors coming from the Spartans, the Wolverines were able to take the second set 25-20.
With a 2-0 lead for U-M and multiple strong performances from the Wolverines, MSU fell short in the final set 25-15 with a 7-2 service run and nine straight points from Michigan.
George noted the differences Michigan shined on during the match, ultimately giving them the upper edge. Strong performances from U-M senior Paige Jones and sophomore Jess Mruzik utilizing a strong back court attack played a role in the Spartans’ defeat.
The Spartans will stay on their home turf to face off against Illinois and Northwestern Nov. 26-27 for their final matchups of the season.
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