Michigan State volleyball fell to No. 14 Purdue Friday night 3-1 after dominating the first set of the match at the Breslin Center.
The Spartans started off strong with the first point of the match and held a solid lead the entire first set for a 25-18 win.
After Purdue took the lead early in the second set, the Spartans were able to strike back and stormed to a 24-22 lead. Then, Purdue rallied for four straight points and took the second set 26-24.
An early lead by Michigan State in the third set did nothing to help the quick overtaking by Purdue. Once the third set was tied at four, the Boilermakers took off with the lead and defeated Michigan State 25-17.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, the fourth and final set of the game did not prove to be any different from the previous two. Michigan State took the initial lead before Purdue struck back early to take the lead, the set, and ultimately the match.
Freshman outside hitter Maradith O’Gorman and sophomore outside hitter Aliyah Moore led the team with 12 kills each — O’Gorman with a .241 hitting percentage and Moore with a .194.
Fifth-year middle blocker Rebecka Poljan had the most blocks for the Spartans with four, and junior libero Nalani Iosia had 23 digs throughout the match—more than anyone on either team.
Michigan State has an incredibly young team, and new Head Women's Volleyball Coach Leah Johnson believes that the key to Michigan State’s success is to strengthen up its mental game.
“When they (opponents) get an advantage situationally, we think it's not working at all, and maybe they just made one good play, or they corrected or adjusted one time. It doesn't mean we need to change everything,” Johnson said. “Being such a young team—that catches up to you a little bit because you start to question what you're doing. I just wanna remind them they deserve (it), they belong. We're clearly competing at a high level, and we just gotta be able to mentally sustain that.”
Michigan State will be back at the Breslin Center Saturday night at 7 p.m. to take on No. 6 Ohio State.
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