Rivalry Battle Goes to Michigan, 3-1

Photo courtesy of MSU SID
Photo courtesy of MSU SID

Michigan State fell in a hard-fought battle with archrival Michigan, 3-1 (28-30, 25-18, 17-25, 24-26). The match was MSU's annual Jam Jenison affair, and for the second straight year posted a sellout crowd of 4,900 patrons.

As it always is in this rivalry match, the action was hotly contested on both sides, and featured impressive rallies, strong defensive plays, and big swings. Overall, the match featured 37 tie scores and 16 lead changes between the teams. The first set went to extra points, a frame eventually captured by the Wolverines, 30-28. MSU evened it up with a 25-18 win in the second set, and Michigan won by a similar margin in the third, 25-17. The fourth played much like the first frame, going to extra points where Michigan (20-9, 9-9 B1G) closed it out 26-24.

The Spartans (17-14, 5-13 B1G) put three players in double-digit kills. Maddie Haggerty had her sixth consecutive double-double with 13 each kills and digs. MSU got the most out of its middles in the match, as freshman Naya Gros led all hitters with a .481 hitting percentage, posting 15 kills and a match-best five blocks. Rebecka Poljan had 12 kills and hit .375.

Paige Jones led all scorers with 17 kills and 10 digs for the Wolverines, while Carly Skojdt also posted a double-double with 12 kills and 12 digs. MacKenzi Welsh had 37 assists and seven digs, adding four kills.

Michigan State prepares for the final week of the Big Ten regular season next week. MSU gets a return trip to. Michigan next Saturday (7 pm, Crisler Arena) but will first finish out its home schedule on Wednesday when it hosts No. 4 Illinois at 7 pm at Jenison Field House. The match will serve as MSU's senior night, where it will celebrate Maddie Haggerty in a post-match ceremony.

"I'm proud of how we attacked this match. We never let Michigan run away with it when they put together a little run. We stormed back on them when they did, and it was a battle for every point out on the floor. We went toe-to-toe, but we did have some problems closing them out when we had set point. I continue to be pleased with how much we're improving."

Naya Gros had 15 kills and hit .481 (15-2-27), adding five blocks.
Rebecka Poljan had 12 kills and hit .375 (12-3-24).
Maddie Haggerty had 13 kills, 13 digs, a pair of blocks (one solo) and one service ace.

Maddie Haggerty had her sixth consecutive double-double (13 kills, 13 digs).
Alyssa Chronowski posted four solo blocks, tying her career best. Her five blocks tied for the match high, and she added seven kills and three digs.
• MSU had 10 blocks through the first two frames, and finished the match with 12. It was the 14th match this season where the Spartans had double-digit blocks and the third in the last five matches.
• The Spartans tied their season best with six solo blocks, a total they reached twice this season previously: vs. Alabama-Birmingham and in the first match vs. Rutgers (Sept. 29)
Lauryn Gibbs had eight big digs in the match, and had several sequences with three or more defensive plays in a rally.
• The Spartans have hit .200 or better in each of the last four matches after hitting .200 just four times in its first 14 Big Ten contests.


• SET ONE: Michigan used a 3-0 run to break open a 3-3 score, and despite MSU getting within one twice, the Wolverines found ways – sometimes with help from MSU – to maintain the three-point edge. Trailing 14-11, MSU called time out, and roared back out of the break with a 4-0 run, capped by a second solo block from Alyssa Chronowski, to take a 15-14 lead. With 17's on both sides of the scoreboard, Paige Jones scored back-to-back aces to pull the visitors ahead by two, and MSU called its second time out. MSU used another run out of a time out – this time a 3-0 scoring run punctuated by a Haggerty solo block, MSU's fifth block of the match, to pull ahead 20-19, and Michigan called time out to try to stop the momentum. Michigan scored three of the first four points out of the time out to go up 22-21, but Rebecka Poljan put down a sharp kill on the slide to tie the set at 22. Poljan was set on the next one and she found the seam for a 23-22 lead, but Carly Skjodt got the kill off the block to once again tie the score. The teams continued to trade points – Chronowski and Skjodt tied things up at 24's, and the duo once again were the go-to's to tie things up at 25-25. The teams went back and forth until they were tied at 28-28 after a Haggerty kill; Katarina Glavinic put down one that kissed the back line and gave UM a 29-28 lead, and a hitting error gave the Wolverines the first set, 30-28. The frame featured 16 tie scores and seven lead changes Jones led all scorers with six kills and added three digs and her two aces, and Glavinic had four terminations and a block. For MSU, Haggerty, Gros and Poljan had four kills each, while Haggerty added a pair of blocks (one solo) and six digs. MSU hit .225 to .182 for the Wolverines, and also out-blocked the visitors by a 5-2 margin.

SET TWO: The Spartans opened up a five-point lead in the second set behind a .462 hitting percentage (6-0-13), and posted four blocks – three from Gros and one from Chronowski – to help build that lead. MSU kept coming, and built to a nine-point lead, its largest of the night. Michigan regrouped a bit to put together a 5-1 run, aided by a Cori Crocker kill and a block – to pull within five at 22-17. A Shklyar service ace got MSU to set point at 24-17, and even though the Wolverines fended it off with a kill by Glavinic, Poljan ended a rally with a big kill to seal the 25-18 set victory. Gros and Poljan led the Spartans with four kills each in the set, where MSU hit .355 (14-3-31) with five blocks to give MSU 10 in the match. Gross and Chronowski each had their hand on three blocks in the set, two of Chronowski's of the solo variety. Both Skjodt and Glavinic had four kills for UM.

SET THREE: The teams stayed within a point until Michigan took an 8-6 lead on part of a 7-2 run. Tied at 6-6, a Spartan hitting error followed by a Maddy Abbott ace gives the Wolverines the two-point edge. Michigan extended its lead to six at 14-8, then seven at 20-13. MSU battled back with a Chronowski block and a Haggerty kill to make it 20-15. The Wolverines took back those two points to make it 22-15, and later, Haggerty brought MSU back within six with a tool off the block that made it 23-17. A service error gave UM set point, and a hitting error gave them the third by a 25-17 score. Haggerty had four kills and a pair of digs to secure her sixth consecutive double double; Chronowski also had three kills and a solo block. Jones was Michigan's leader with four kills, and Skjodt three.

SET FOUR: The Wolverines challenge the first play of the frame, but it remained a Poljan kill to start the set. Michigan pulled ahead by a 6-2 margin, forcing the Spartans into a time out. MSU battled back within one at 9-8 on a kill by Haggerty that kissed the back left corner, and then battled with a 3-0 run to take a 15-14 lead. The teams went back and forth, with MSU taking another lead at 19-17 after a Wolverine error and a Midgette ace. Michigan tied it up at 19, 20, and 21, and then took a 22-21 lead on a kill by Cori Crocker. On the ensuing play, a Jones serve was called in for an ace, a play with MSU challenged; the call was overturned to make it 22-22. Crocker put up a block on Haggerty to make it 23-22, but the next two attacks for the Wolverines sailed out of bounds to allow the Spartans to go up 24-23. Michigan called its time out, then came out with back-to-back kills by Glavinic and Jones, forcing MSU to call time out trailing 25-24. The final point went to review, as MSU was looking for a touch on a shot that sailed just out of bounds, but the challenge upheld the call on the floor and the Wolverines took the final set 26-24. Gros led MSU with six kills I the frame, while Haggerty had three and three digs. Jones and Glavinic each had four kills for the Wolverines, who hit .227 (15-5-44); MSU hit .116 with eight hitting errors, the most it had in any set on the night.
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