The Hoosiers (15-13) played a four-set match 26-24, 25-21, 26-24, 25-20 to top the Spartans (14-13) for the first time since 2013 inside the walls of University Gym.
“This win was definitely coming,” junior setter Taylor Lebo said. “An upset was beaming off us for sure it was just a matter of time. We know we are capable of big things like that it was just about time we came out and showed what we’re made of.”
Early on Michigan State pulled away from IU, 11-8, but that lead didn’t last long when the two teams tied at 14-14. IU Coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan said IU has really been working on closing gaps to not allow their opponents to go on long runs where it decreases IU’s ability to come back.
The two teams remained tied all the way until 24-23, when Michigan State took the set point.
Senior middle blocker Awele Nwaeze scored a kill to take back the set point from the Spartans allowing the Hoosiers to snag the first set win, 26-24, sending the gym into an uproar.
“It started with our serving,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “Then we really started to make adjustments with our blocking throughout the match. I thought we got a lot more block touches and transitions with kills which was really important.”
IU came back out during set two to take an early lead with a service ace by Lebo. Later on back-to-back service aces by junior outside hitter Allison Hammond gave IU a four-point advantage.
Michigan State came back with four straight points to tie with IU during the set and later pulled away to take the second set win, 25-21.
Set three of the match started and finished almost identical to the first. Both teams were tied up until the Hoosiers took the set point and made a kill to win the third set, taking the match lead 2-1.
In the final set of the night IU fell behind Michigan State midway through the set but came back to take a five-point lead and win the match, 3-1.
“I thought we took some chances and risks tonight and it paid off,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “We had them out of system over 50 percent of the time. We had 13 aces and eight errors which is incredible playing against a team like Michigan State.”
Speed was imperative to the Hoosiers’ ability to get the Spartans out of system, Dunbar-Kruzan said, where the Hoosiers in set three had a .303 hitting percentage compared to the Spartans .167.
That speed allowed the Hoosiers to have a whole team effort on the court with 58 kills, 50 assists and an overall total of 150 team attempts.
“It was a whole team effort,” junior outside hitter Allison Hammond said. “There wasn’t one point in the match where I doubted this win. We were all just going for it and we worked together.”