It was a career night for many members of the Michigan State (14-4) volleyball team as they beat Indiana (11-5), 3-2. However, every single record was earned as the Hoosiers did not go down without a fight.
Sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Chronowski led the Spartans with 25 kills, beating her previous career high of 20 set last weekend against Rutgers. Freshman Elena Shkylar had 63 assists, beating her previous record of 48, also set against Rutgers. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Swartz had a career high 9 kills, beating her previous record of 5 set last season.
“I wasn’t looking to go for a career night,” said Chronowski. “I was for 20 kills last week and I was kind of disappointed with the amount of errors I made, so I was just looking to come out here and manage ... and Elena was putting me in great situations, so when I liked it I took it, but if not I was ready to make a shot that was smart and hopefully got the other team out of system.”
From the beginning of the match, it was clear that the Spartans were bringing the energy. There was an effort that was lacking last weekend against Penn State and Rutgers, but it was in full show Friday night.
Kills were exchanged in the first set until an explosive kill by freshman Naya Gros put the Spartans up 15-12, followed by a timeout by the Hoosiers. The Spartans went on a 4-0 run late in the set to take it, 25-20.
The second set started out with a quick 3-0 run for the Spartans, but was quickly matched by the Hoosiers. Mirroring the first set, the Spartans began gaining momentum again, leading 15-12 before another timeout by the Hoosiers. The Spartans continued on a 5-0 run before being answered and forced to take a timeout, leading 19-18. The Hoosiers took the edge out of the timeout and won the set, 25-23.
“We’ve struggled kind of all season with finishing, so we put that at the top of our heads,” said senior offensive hitter Maddie Haggerty, who finished with 14 kills. “We’re going to finish this game, we’re on our home court, our fans, so we just kind of all stuck together and looked each other in the eye and said ‘We’re going to get this done.’”
With nearly identical hitting percentages of 27.8 for the Spartans and 26.5 for the Hoosiers, set three was a constant back-and-forth. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Swartz had a game-sealing kill — her sixth of the set — giving it narrowly to the Spartans, 25-23.
The Spartans’ energy diminished in the fourth set. The Hoosiers took advantage of the lack of effort and earned their largest lead of the game, 23-18, advancing to win the set, 25-19.
The final set followed suit of sets two and three, giving neither team a clear-cut edge. With the crowd on their feet, the Hoosiers had a service error and the Spartans took the final set 15-13.
The Spartans will finish their four-game home stand against No. 14 Purdue Saturday at 7 p.m.
“We’ve got to be really assertive against Purdue,” said head coach Cathy George. “They’re tremendously talented and well-coached. You know, they’re a top-20 team and we’re going to have to be really aggressive. We cannot let up, you know, and we have to keep going for it.”