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Michigan State volleyball loses early momentum against No. 14 Purdue

The Spartans held the Boilermakers to just 15 points in the first set, but struggled controlling the “ebbs and flows” of the game, losing 3-1.

The Michigan State Spartans volleyball team takes on the Purdue Boilermakers at Jenison Field House in 2018.
The Michigan State Spartans take on the Purdue Boilermakers at Jenison Field House Oct. 6, 2018.
Lauren Gewirtz

If the first set would have been the floor instead of the ceiling for the Spartans Friday, things might have been different. Michigan State (14-5) volleyball fell to No. 14 Purdue (14-3) 3-1 Friday as sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Chronowski led the Spartans with 12 kills.

“I think we were really proud of how we fought yesterday, but the mindset didn’t change” said Chronowski. “Going into each game, you come in with the same mindset of playing the best Michigan State volleyball that we can.”

The Spartans began the game by quickly finding momentum, going on a 12-3 run early in the first set. They took advantage of the Boilermakers slow start and continued to push their effort, forcing a timeout while leading 19-11. Keeping a wide margin, the Spartans took the set 25-15.

Purdue found the energy in the second set that they previously lacked, coming out strong hitting 45.8 percent after hitting 0 percent in the first set. The Spartans were forced to take a timeout after a 3-0 run by the Boilermakers, down 17-9. Out of the timeout, the Spartans still struggled to make a comeback. The Boilermakers took the set, 25-12.

“We let Purdue kind of get onto their game and they started to chip away,” said head coach Cathy George. “Things started to work for them and they’re fourteenth in the country and that’s why, and so, you know, they’re a well-coached team.”

Showing why they are ranked No. 14 in the country, the Boilermakers opened the third set 7-1, quickly forcing the Spartans into a timeout. The Spartans fought their way back into it, getting within three points. However, it was not enough as the Boilermakers won, 25-19.

“We need to make sure we’re stay on the game plan, we’re staying disciplined, we’re doing the things, we’re anticipating what’s going on and we follow that game plan,” said George. “When you get away from it, you start reacting instead of responding and we want to make sure we’re learning to be a little bit more patient and disciplined.”

Momentum was found again for the Spartans as they opened the fourth set on a 3-0 run. The Boilermakers matched them and from that point on it was back-and-forth. The Spartans took a timeout after falling behind 23-17 and the Boilermakers took the final two points.

“In the Big Ten, it’s just another day,” said freshman Rebecka Poljan.

The Spartans will be on the road next weekend, facing Maryland Friday at 7 p.m. and Ohio State Sunday at 1 p.m.