EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – On paper, it might seem like Michigan State’s two-match series with No. 1 Wisconsin didn’t have a lot of positives.
After the Spartans were swept on Saturday, Wisconsin took the first two sets on Sunday, 25-10, 25-16. And it appeared MSU was on the verge of getting swept again by the top team in the country.
But the Spartans had other ideas.
With the third set tied at 11, MSU got three straight points, and never gave the lead back. MSU held a 24-21 lead when senior Alyssa Chronowski collected a kill, giving the Spartans a 25-21 set win. It’s just the second time all season Wisconsin lost a set.
“We really liked that our team checked themselves yesterday, because we didn’t play with the kind of heart that we want to,” MSU volleyball coach Cathy George said about her teams improvement from Saturday to Sunday. “I like that the team responded today with a little more fight and basically went toe-to-toe.”
MSU continued the fight in the fourth set and went toe-to-toe again with Wisconsin, despite falling 25-22.
The Badgers held a 13-9 at one point, but MSU rallied to tie things up at 14. Then Wisconsin took a 20-17 lead, but the Spartans rallied again and tied the set at 20, and then at 21.
“Even though we lost, it didn’t feel like it because we made a lot of progress. We fought hard, and we worked on things we needed to,” MSU sophomore outside-hitter, Cecille Max-Brown said. “I think playing high-ranked teams gives us a better chance at getting better in the future, and it shows us where we can really be.”
“I definitely think we can take the message that we took a set, but we can also take more. Especially being closer in the fourth set,” MSU junior middle-blocker, Naya Gros said. “I think that’s a sign that we do have the ability, and we do have the talent to hang with the big-dogs, because we’re the big-dogs too, so I think we can take that and definitely bring that into our game next week.”
With the win, No. 1 Wisconsin improves to 10-0, while MSU falls to 2-7. The Spartans welcome in Illinois next weekend for a two-match series.