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MSU volleyball continues hot streak, rolls over Maryland in sweep

November 4, 2023
<p>The Michigan State University volleyball team celebrates after scoring a point against Wisconsin on Oct. 27, 2023 at the Breslin Center.</p>

The Michigan State University volleyball team celebrates after scoring a point against Wisconsin on Oct. 27, 2023 at the Breslin Center.

Michigan State volleyball continued its hot streak Friday night, sweeping Maryland in three sets (25-14, 25-18, 25-22) at the Breslin Center.

Fresh off earning its most prominent win under second-year head coach Leah Johnson against No. 13 Penn State on Saturday, Oct. 28, MSU picked up right where it left off, triumphing over the Terrapins in dominant fashion.

"We’re playing the best ball we’ve played," Johnson said. "We still gotta clean up a lot of points, but we’re better than we were two weeks ago, we’re better than we were four weeks ago."

The Spartans improve to 15-9 overall and 7-6 in conference play. With the win, MSU earned its most Big Ten victories in a season since 2019.

Freshman Taylah Holdem led the Spartans in total kills (10) and points (11.5), while fifth-year senior Amani McArthur tallied eight kills along with a team-high three blocks and senior libero Nalani Iosia was her usual match-controlling self, picking up 15 digs.

For a relatively young MSU team, Johnson said Iosia and McArthur serve as a reminder that "improvement is the only way."

"When you’re a fifth-year senior there’s not a lot you want to work on ... you just want to go compete, but (McArthur has) taken on this idea of getting better all season," Johnson said. "Same with Nalani – she wasn’t digging the ball down the line the first month of the season. She’s digging every ball down the line now."

The Spartans started the first two sets in early deficits but snatched the momentum and overtook the lead.

Trailing 6-3 in set one, MSU rallied back to nab a 16-9 advantage, prompting a Maryland timeout. The Spartans eventually won the set 25-14 on the back of five McArthur kills. Similarly, MSU found itself down 5-0 in the second set before embarking on a 13-1 run and never looking back, taking the set 25-18.

The third set was neck-and-neck with the teams trading points back and forth. In the end, the Spartans mounted a four-point lead before closing it out 25-22.

MSU’s serving was top-notch. The Spartans finished with eight aces to Maryland’s one.  

"That’s a good team," Johnson said of Maryland. "I thought we served the ball really well. That was a big reason why we were able to be successful."

The Spartans have little time to rest, taking on Iowa on Saturday night. Johnson said she hopes to see fewer errors moving forward after her team made 22 on Friday.

"We just got to quit giving our opponents half the points," Johnson said. "That’s a lot of the youth (and) mismanagement of certain situations, but I know we’re working on it. That’s all I can ask for."

MSU battles the struggling Iowa Hawkeyes, ranked last in the Big Ten at 0-13 in conference play, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Breslin Center. 

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