EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – In the blink of an eye, the 2021 Big Ten volleyball spring season has already reached the end of the road.
Michigan State started it’s final series of the season on Friday, at home against Rutgers. The Spartans have played just 13 games this season, seven games have been postponed due to COVID-19 issues, and took a 3-10 record into the final weekend of the season.
All three of those wins have come on the road for MSU, meaning the Spartans were still searching for their first home win of the season.
Rutgers came out and took a close 1st set, 25-23, but then MSU found its groove in sets two and three.
The Spartans trailed 14-10 in the 2nd set, but thanks to a 15-4 run to close the set MSU took the set, 25-18, and tied the match at one.
That momentum carried over for the Spartans, who took a narrow third set, 25-23.
Michigan State had eyes on a win, but could never pull away in the 4th set. The largest lead for either team was four. And the Scarlet Knights put together a 25-22 win to force a fifth set.
It’s just the second time all season, MSU has been in a five set match – the first time was a 3-2 loss to Ohio State, on Feb. 1.
The Spartans fell behind 6-3, but would tie the set at eight. The two teams went back and fourth the rest of the way – MSU took a 14-13 lead, but Rutgers took the next three points to win the set, 16-14, and the match, 3-2.
Of the three sets Michigan State lost, they were by a combined seven points, which left the team feeling optimistic heading into Saturday’s season finale.
“It’s funny, we just ordered our rings and we were able to put a quote on the inside, and I chose ‘Grow Big’ because if I’ve learned anything in this experience it was too have a growth mindset, and always learn. And even in failures, if you’re still learning it’s not a failure if you keep going,” MSU senior outside hitter, Alyssa Chronowski said. “I loved the moments of greatness tonight. I loved the way we fought.”
“I think the attitude, especially when we were stretching, we’re getting this win tomorrow, regardless, for our seniors,” MSU junior Rebecka Polijan said.