Freshman outside hitter Taylah Holdem recorded a high of 21 kills which tied for the most by an MSU freshman since 2000 Sunday afternoon, when Michigan State’s volleyball defeated North Carolina with a 3-1 victory.
MSU had a slow start in the beginning of set one with a deficit of 2-7 hanging over their heads. Soon after a time out Spartans rejoined the floor with a newfound confidence pulling forward to a 13-11 lead and ultimately winning set one 25-20.
Michigan State head coach Leah Johnson said what surprised her this match was how slow MSU started off in the first set.
“It did surprise me that we started a little cool, like we took a minute to warm up because that has been our nature,” Johnson said. “But what I really liked was how I got on them and they really started pushing.”
While Holdem’s 21 kills lead in scoring, senior defensive specialist/libero Nalani Iosia had her first double-double of the 2023 season with 10 assists and 14 digs. Additionally, sophomore defensive specialist/libero Jayhlin Swain, freshman defensive specialist/libero Makya Clayton and freshman outside hitter Karolina Staniszewska contributed multiple aces for MSU.
Starting off the second set North Carolina and MSU were neck and neck. Neither team fell behind more than three points of each other. North Carolina went on a 3-0 run putting pressure on the Spartans.
“They got us on our heels, and we stopped staying aggressive,” Johnson said. “We were kind of playing safe the minute they put some pressure on us and that can’t become our emotions. We won’t survive the Big Ten like that. This is our moment to change that trademark and I thought they responded decently.”
After their last time out, MSU came pushing back but North Carolina clinched the second set 25-21.
MSU opened the scoring on the third set. Both teams got great looks and scoring tattered back and forth. MSU started gaining momentum over North Carolina with a 3-0 run leading the score 19-14. MSU continued to dominate and won the third set 25-17.
Coming off of their third set win, MSU continued to advance on North Carolina. The Spartans went on an 8-0 run leading the score of 11-2, causing North Carolina to call their last time out. Resuming the match, North Carolina came within five points but MSU brought their energy back up winning the fourth and final set 25-15.
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