Michigan State volleyball swept Iowa 3-0 in an intense battle Saturday night.
MSU had a great start in the first set going on a 4-0 run leading the score 7-3. Continuing with their aggressive play, the Spartans remained ahead 12-7. Feeling the pressure about halfway through the first set, Iowa called their last timeout after another run from the Spartans making the score 9-16. Following the Hawkeye timeout, MSU came out with even more intensity going on a 6-0 run with a score of 24-10. Ultimately MSU won the first set 25-11.
Michigan State head coach Leah Johnson said coming into the game the strategy was to get the players more involved and staying aggressive.
“Getting our middles involved and they just set the tone for our whole offense,” Johnson said. “I think our setters do a nice job putting pressure on the opponent by forcing the middles a lot and then it opens us up.”
Starting off the second set MSU went on a 3-0 run leading the score 3-1, but both teams began trading off points following the initial run. Iowa started to put some pressure on the Spartans with only a one-point deficit hanging over their heads with the score 6-7. The Spartans responded to the pressure by going on a 4-0 run bringing the score to 11-6 before Iowa went on a 4-0 of its own run causing the Spartans to call their first timeout.
“I think sometimes we start to give up a few points, we start playing basic instead of remembering what’s working,” Johnson said. So, we just reviewed how each position had scored, what play set we felt was going to be the most efficient and they went and executed.”
Coming back onto the floor, MSU remained calm to close out the set and went on a 3-0 run to win the second set 25-21.
The Spartans opened scoring in the third set with a 2-0 run, but Iowa struck back quick with a 4-0 run taking control leading the score 6-8, forcing MSU take a timeout. The early third set led marked the first set of the match that MSU did not keep an early lead, but the Spartans came back to tie the score 8-8. Iowa continued to put pressure on MSU making the Spartans call their last timeout with Iowa in the lead 14-9. MSU’s confidence came back as they dominated with a 4-0 run tying the score to 14-14. The teams continued to stay close to one another. With a lot of fight MSU clinched the set 25-22.
Johnson said in their last time out she had to remind her team to keep playing hard.
“I asked the question what happens when you’re up 2-0 what does the other team have to do … they have to raise their level of play,” Johnson said. “And this group is playing like all of sudden we are playing poorly; no, they are matching us. So, now we go to the next gear and that’s when we really came out and pressed.”
MSU volleyball will be on the road to take on Ohio State this upcoming Wednesday, Nov. 8.
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