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Tuesday, Nov. 28
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

IU ends MSU’s perfect season

The IU volleyball team put another Big Ten win on the board against the Michigan State Spartans on Friday night, winning in four sets (25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 25-20).

The team’s main goal Friday was to take command early and record another Big Ten win, and that’s exactly what they accomplished.  

“One of our biggest goals is to always win the first set,” IU coach Sherry Dunbar said. “Once we hit point 20, we want to be on the attack instead of hoping Michigan State would make errors.”  

In the first game, the team displayed a strong desire to meet that 20-point goal. Sophomore outside hitter Taylor Wittmer shined with 10 kills for the match at a .476 hitting percentage.

The team’s defensive skills and teamwork also came together throughout the entire first game, with solid play from freshman middle blocker Lexie Woodson and several solid digs by freshman defensive specialist Caitlin Cox and junior outside hitter Kelsey Hall.

The team started strong and kept that fire throughout the entire first set. Once the second set came around, however, the wind started to change in the direction of the Spartans, who took the second frame 23-25.

“We came out dominating in the first set,” Wittmer said. “We thought we would just crush them again, and we let them play with us a little. We needed to keep the same intensity, and it went down a little bit.”

Although the team lost the set, the Hoosiers recorded several rallies, including a tough pancake from Cox and a strong recover by Hall which forced her into the stands to bring the ball back in play.

The intensity of the attending crowd helped IU refocus and gain the will to win right back, said senior co-captain and middle blocker Erica Short. IU brought that intensity to the third set, and Woodson started off with a block to win the first point and pushed the ball over the net to record a joust for the second point to start them off at 2-0.

Teamwork was strong again in the third set, with long rallies and tight defensive work.
In the fourth and final set, IU started at 0-3, losing the first point on a shanked pass. Soon after, however, the Hoosiers got back on track, and finished the set 25-20.

“We fought, we never gave up,” Short said. “Even though the fourth set we were down by three points, we came back and let them make errors, and we followed the game plan exactly.”

After seeing the overall performance by the Hoosiers, Dunbar was proud of the end result. 

“I think we knew Michigan State as well as they knew themselves,” Dunbar said. “We practiced hard the last two days, and I felt like they really carried the game plan out.”

Michigan State was undefeated until the Hoosiers came around, and Wittmer said she hopes this momentum will carry over to the rest of the Big Ten matches.

“It feels amazing, because we needed that win so bad,” Wittmer said. “It makes it even more awesome to know that they were undefeated. Going in, we just said, ‘We’re going to win. We’re not going 0-4 in the Big Ten.’”

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