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MSU volleyball defeats Michigan 3-1 to claim State Pride Flag

October 19, 2023
<p>The Spartans celebrate winning their match against the University of Michigan at the Breslin Student Events Center on Oct. 18, 2023. MSU secured a 3-1 victory and claimed the "State Pride Flag," an award given to the winner of the MSU vs. U of M volleyball rivalry.</p>

The Spartans celebrate winning their match against the University of Michigan at the Breslin Student Events Center on Oct. 18, 2023. MSU secured a 3-1 victory and claimed the "State Pride Flag," an award given to the winner of the MSU vs. U of M volleyball rivalry.

Michigan State volleyball swept the season series against rival Michigan, defeating them 3-0 on Sept. 22 and 3-1 Wednesday night for the first time since 2006. With the season sweep, MSU received the State Pride Flag inside the Breslin Center.

The Spartans had impressive performances across the board to assist in their victory against the Wolverines. Freshman outside hitter Taylah Holdem recorded 16 kills and seven digs. While Holdem’s 16 kills lead in scoring, senior defensive specialist/libero Nalani Iosia had 20 digs and nine assists, sophomore middle blocker Evie Doezema finished a great night with 10 kills and fifth year middle blocker Amani McArthur ended with a high of eight kills.

MSU began the first set with high energy radiating from the Spartan crowd leading the scoring 6-3. Michigan then went on a 5-0 run putting the pressure on the Spartans. Throughout the set both teams gained points staying on each others heels. After its last time out, MSU tried to push back, but Michigan went on a 4-0 run and ultimately clinched the first set 25-20.

Starting off the second set, both teams were scoring back and forth. Michigan went on a 4-0 run leading the score 17-15 causing MSU's first time out.  Michigan continued applying pressure, but the Spartans used their final timeout for one last comeback effort. 

During MSU's last time out with a deficit of 21-23, Michigan State head coach Leah Johnson said that she wanted to make the team regain confidence and remember their abilities. 

“Well, I talked about how we were actually siding out really well,” Johnson said. “We looked like we didn’t know that, so I wanted to give them some confidence that they just have to trust what they have been doing. When I call a timeout its really nothing I can do its that they just get a quick mental break.”

After the team's last time out, MSU came pushing back with a 3-0 run to grab the lead 24-23. Both teams eventually tied in extra points at 26-26, but MSU came out with the victory of 28-26 for the second set.  

MSU opened the scoring in the third set with a 7-0 run. MSU continued to gain momentum over Michigan with another 7-0 run leading the score 22-10. The Wolverines called both of their timeouts early on in efforts to gain control of scoring. MSU still went on to dominate the third set with a win of 25-13.  

Coming off of their third set win, MSU continued to push Michigan. The Spartans went on a 3-0 run to lead the score of 7-3. Michigan continued to stay close in scoring with a 4-0 run to tie 12-12, causing MSU to take a timeout. After returning back to the floor, MSU gained control, winning the final set 25-16.

With this season series win Johnson said she is proud of her team, and they will continue to work hard going forward. 

“I’m really proud of this group, and we all know that every year is going to be unique and different, and so this is where we’re at this year,” Johnson said. “We’re proud to accomplish what we can in this moment, and I think we have been working very hard to start to elevate ourselves to a level that’s consistent and predictable in our style of play. If our predictability is better than our opponents then we should win those matches and there will be times its not....there will be times it is and tonight it was." 

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