Spartans Denied by #11 Minnesota

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State volleyball team was defeated in conference-play on Sunday afternoon, falling to No. 11-ranked Minnesota 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-14) in front of a strong crowd at the Breslin Student Events Center.
 
Michigan State (10-7, 1-5 B1G) welcomed fifth-year Zoe Nunez and senior Emma Monks back into the starting lineup on Sunday after each missed several matches due to injury. The Spartans are inching closer to full strength as the team enters the middle of the Big Ten slate.
 
The Spartans were led by freshman Maradith O’Gorman’s nine kills, followed by seven for sophomore Aliyah Moore and six for freshmen Nil Okur and Evie Doezema. Okur was the most efficient, hitting .600 on 10 attempts. Nunez led the team with 19 assists in her first extended action back in the Spartan lineup, also leading the team with seven digs. Senior Emma Monks led MSU with three blocks, two of the solo variety.
 
Minnesota (9-5, 4-2 B1G) out-hit the Spartans .461 to .161 and had eight blocks in the match to Michigan State’s four. Taylor Landfair led all players with 12 kills and was joined by Jenna Wenaas in double-figures (11). Melani Shaffmaster led the team in assists (33) and digs (7), while graduate transfer Naya Gros had five blocks.
 
MSU kept things close in set one, using an 8-4 run to pull within two points late at 21-19. Moore led the Spartans through that stretch with three kills to force a Golden Gopher timeout. Minnesota adjusted out of the break however, scoring four consecutive points to take set one. Minnesota kicked things into gear in sets two and three, hitting .455 and .500 respectively to take the final two sets of the match.
 
Quotable
Michigan State head coach Leah Johnson
“We changed the lineup and only had a day and a half to work on it. I’m trying to demonstrate that we need to take bold risks to get better. We came out with a pretty great gameplan in set one, but once Minnesota adjusted, we couldn’t score points. There’s a fearlessness that we’re trying to bring out in the team and have them trust the gameplan. They just need more miles on their sneakers to get there.”
 
“The team gets it. I think that’s where our culture has been prominent. The question of ‘Why did we wait to score in a way that we said we wanted to?’ for example. They said ‘Okay, we see it now. Let’s go work on it all week in practice.'”
 
Up Next
Michigan State hosts in-state rival No. 23-ranked Michigan on Friday, Oct. 14 for the Battle at Breslin. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. Michigan was also tripped up by a pair of 3-0 losses to Minnesota and Nebraska this past weekend after breaking into the top 25 rankings last week.
 

Battle at Breslin, volleyball, 2022


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