BERKELEY, Calif. – Michigan State (25-10) volleyball lost to Michigan (26-11), 3-0 at Haas Pavilion in the Regional Semifinals on Friday night. The Spartans lost by scores of 25-16, 26-24 and 26-24. Lauren Wicinski led MSU with 14 kills and 16 digs in the match and Alexis Mathewshad six kills and four blocks.
“Tough night tonight, Michigan played very, very well,” head coach Cathy Georgesaid. “We gave it a good shot, kept coming back but it just wasn’t our night tonight. It was tough. We’ve had a great year, we’ve had a great run and I am very proud of my team. I know they fought hard and put a lot of time, effort and energy into the entire year.”
Michigan took set one, 25-16, and led the match 1-0. The Wolverines got out to a quick start and led the opening set 8-3 early on before going on to win game one. The Spartans hit just .073 percent while Michigan hit .300.
Michigan State dropped the second set 26-24 and trailed the match 2-0. The game was a battle from the beginning and neither team led by more than three points throughout the set. Alexis Mathewshad a big kill in the middle, giving the Spartans a 15-12 lead at the media timeout. The Wolverines then responded with a 4-0 run to take a 16-15 lead in set two, forcing a MSU timeout.
The Spartans captured three straight points following the break, capped off by a kill from Lauren Wicinski and led 18-16. Amy Dentlinger had a kill to tie the set at 24 but the Wolverines won the set after a kill from Jennifer Cross and a Spartan error.
Michigan took set three by the same score, 26-24 to win the match 3-0. MSU trailed 13-15 after a 4-0 run by the Wolverines. The Spartans then trailed by one, 16-15 after a kill from Wicinski, her first of three straight for Michigan State. The score was tied 22-22 but an attack error gave Michigan the lead and they went on to take the set 26-24.
MSU hit just .160 percent in the match while the Wolverines managed a .261 mark.
The Spartans end their season in the Regional Semifinals, its first appearance that far in the NCAA Tournament since 2007. Before the season MSU wasn’t picked to finish in the top-six of the conference, but was one of six Big Ten teams to make it to the Sweet 16.
“A lot of people considered us underdogs and didn’t know that we would come together like we did this year,” George said. “I am proud with all the new players we have out there on the floor and the way that we worked together and the chemistry that pulled us together throughout the year. We’ve made great strides and it’s not easy to lose this one. We will continue to build and get stronger.”