EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – In a normal year, the Big Ten volleyball season would have happened in the Fall, and Michigan State would have welcomed in Michigan to a jam-packed Jenison Field House.
Also know as ‘Jam Jenison.’
The annual event brings in thousands of fans from both teams. Making it the MSU’s biggest home match of the season.
However, due to COVID-19, just immediate family members, and media members were allowed to attend.
On Wednesday, Michigan made the trip to East Lansing and left with a 3-1 win over the Spartans, it’s first win of the season.
“It seemed kind of quite in here,” MSU volleyball coach, Cathy George said. “We needed that energy and we needed that crowd support for sure. We’re in the COVID world so we’ll just have to deal with it.”
“Obviously we missed the crowd. We do have our parents up there cheering a little bit so that helped,” MSU freshman setter, Celia Cullen said. “The Jam-Jenison atmosphere that we have was missing a little bit here, but we have to work with what we got. This is just what happens with the times right now. Our parents did a great job I thought.”
Michigan took the first set, 25-22. The Spartans trailed 17-11 at one point, and then rallied to tie the set at 22.
The match went back and forth until the end. After MSU took the second set, 25-20, the third set left those in attendance on the edge of their set.
“We had moments there where we were right in the match,” George said. “We were surging, and then we just didn’t close it out. I think there was some really good moments from us and we followed game plans, and then we kind of got away from them.”
The Spartans carried over their momentum from the second set, by opening the third set on a 6-1 run. Down the stretch MSU held a 20-15 lead, but allowed the Wolverines to tie it at 21. The two teams traded points until Michigan got the two it needed to win the set 28-26.
Michigan led from the opening point in the fourth set, winning 25-19 to take the match.
“We went in guns-blazing as a team unit trying to work together,” MSU sophomore outside hitter, Biamba Kabengele said. “There was little points that we lost, but overall it was a good game. We came out and fought.”
Kabengele had a match-high 17 kills for MSU, one shy of a career-high. Freshman Sarah Franklin added 15 kills to the Spartans total, and Cullen led MSU with 37 assists.
Paige Jones led Michigan with 16 kills.
Next up for MSU is two home matches with No. 1 Wisconsin.