Spartan Volleyball Stuns No. 20 Michigan In Four Games

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Spartan fans came out in force to support Michigan State volleyball in its four-game victory Saturday night over Michigan for the 13th annual Jam Jenison. The Spartans took games one and two before the Wolverines picked up a win, but MSU rallied and stunned No. 20 Michigan in game four for a 3-1 win (38-36, 30-25, 26-30, 30-27) in front of 2,286 fans.

Outside hitter Ashley Schatzle set a career high with 27 kills and tied her career high with 19 digs to earn her 11th double-double of the season. The senior also posted a solid .411 hitting percentage on 56 attempts. Freshman setter Lauren O'Reilly directed the offense with a career high 60 assists.

Freshman middle blocker Jenilee Rathje also had a career night, posting 12 kills on 28 attacks and also tallied nine blocks, all career-high numbers.

Katie Johnson and Vanessa King tallied double-digits in kills, 17 and 11 respectively, while Miken Trogdon put up 16 digs.

With totals of 76 kills and 69 assists, the Spartans set season-high team records in both categories.

Schatzle paced the Spartans through game one with 10 kills and six digs, hitting .396, in what would eventually be the longest game for Michigan State this season. MSU jumped out to a quick 13-8 lead before Jessica Hohl tacked on two aces following a Michigan timeout. The Spartans pulled ahead by six at 27-21 before the Wolverines clawed back, forcing a tie at 29-29. Trading points for through nine rotations, the score tied again at 34-34, O'Reilly sparked the Spartans with an ace, as MSU eventually took the extended game 38-36.

In game two, the momentum carried over for the Spartans, who hit .405 as team, with six Spartans posting kills. MSU came alive at the net defensively and tallied four blocks, led by King's two block assists. Michigan State rolled past Michigan 30-25 in game two, inching closer to the overall victory.

Despite five blocks from Rathje, Michigan battled back with a stronger offense at the net, out-killing MSU 18-11, and forced a fourth game. But Michigan State rallied through the final match, hitting .366 on 20 kills. The Spartans claimed the final game 30-27 and the match 3-1.

Having split the 2007 series, with each team winning at home, the State Pride Flag title returns to Michigan, as the Wolverines outscored MSU 208-193 in the seven games played this season.

The Spartans go back on the road Nov. 2-3, playing 8 p.m. matches at Wisconsin and Illinois, respectively.

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