No. 15 Michigan State Defeats Illinois State 3-0
Brooklyn Hlafka
Brooklyn Hlafka

Sept. 14, 2013

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Under the tutelage of head coach Cathy George, a former Illinois State player and teammate of legend Julie Paska, the Michigan State volleyball team (7-1) defeated Illinois State (6-3) in a straight-set sweep (25-17, 25-20, 25-20) Saturday. The Redbirds were led by Ashley Rosch with 9 kills and 10 digs, while senior Brooklyn Hlafka added 8 kills.

The match began with three Illinois State errors in the first set which put the Spartans up, 4-0. Keyed by the efforts of captain Stacey Niao, the Redbirds fought back to cut into the deficit, 10-8. Despite great defense by Emily Orrick, who had four digs in the set, the Spartans found a rhythm, getting four kills from Lauren Wicinski and eventually cruising to a 25-17 win.

The second set started exceptionally well for Illinois State, as three Niao kills and another by Hlafka put the `Birds out in front, 5-1. Kills by Wicinski and Allyssah Fitterer helped right the ship for the Spartans however, and they eventually tied things up 13-13. After a fierce exchange of points by both sides, a service ace by Kristen Muir gave the Spartans the lead, 17-16, which they never relinquished. Another Wicinski kill eventually locked up the set, 25-20.

With their backs against the wall, and down 4-0 to start the third set, the Redbirds demonstrated resiliency and fought their way out of the hole. Hlafka, Rosch and LeighAnn Hranka all recorded kills, and ISU tied the match at 7-7. Multiple Redbird errors helped the Spartans gain a substantial edge once again, as seven consecutive points by MSU gave them the lead, 14-7.

The Redbirds, led by Rosch and Kaitlyn Early, once again answered the call, going on a 7-1 scoring tear and eventually narrowing the gap, 15-14. The aggressive offense of Wicinski and Michigan State was too much in the end, as multiple MSU kills locked up the set, 25-20, as the Spartans recorded their seventh win of the season.

The Redbirds will next face Indiana University-Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW) at 2 p.m. (CT) in the final match of the Butler tournament for Illinois State.

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