Michigan State improved to 13-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten with a 3-0 victory over No. 13 Ohio State on Sunday afternoon (27-25, 25-23, 25-23). Ohio State suffered its first loss of the season, and holds an identical 13-1 overall mark and is 1-1 in conference play.
For MSU, both Lauren Wicinski finished with 12 kills, and Reinig hit a career-best .556 (12-2-18). Kristen Kelsay had 19 assists, and Halle Peterson had 18. Senior Alexis Mathews recorded her 500th career block, the 36th athlete in Big Ten history and fourth at MSU to accomplish the feat. She also had nine kills in the match.
The Spartans open 2-0 in Big Ten play for just the fourth time in school history, (1995, 1996, and 2008); it’s the second time that MSU has accomplished the feat in two road contests.
Ohio State took an early 11-8 lead, but Chloe Reinig put back-to-back kills on the board and an OSU error e the Spartans to tie the game at 11. When Ohio State opened up its largest lead at 18-14, the Spartans called a timeout to regroup, and went on a 9-0 run (all served by Fitterer, which included three aces) to pull ahead 20-18 and forced Ohio State into a pair of timeouts during the run. OSU countered with a 4-0 run after its second timeout, regaining the lead at 22-21. The teams ended up tied at 23 and 24, and the Spartans fought off two OSU set points; Taylor Galloway got a big kill to put MSU at its first set point, and Wicinski delivered the first-set win with an ace. MSU battled through six service errors in the opening set, but balanced it out with five aces. MSU hit .333 in the opening set as well; Wicinski paced MSU with five kills, While Reinig and Mathews each had four.
In the second set, MSU twice had four-point leads, and the Buckeyes battled back into it, last using a 4-0 rally to knot the score at 16-16. However, three errors and a Chloe Reinig kill found the Spartans leading 20-17 when OSU called a time out. The teams battled point-for-point from there, with OSU pulling within a point at 22-21. Lauren Wicinski got the kill to once again push the Spartan lead to two, then got a big kill from Kuipers to give MSU set point. Taylor Sandbothe staved off an MSU win with a kill at the left pin to pull the home team back within two points, but then her service error handed MSU the second-set victory, 25-23.
MSU built a four-point lead early in the third set, and maintained a lead between two and four points until building its largest lead of the day at 20-15, forcing an Ohio State timeout. The Buckeyes fought back within a point, which pushed MSU to take a timeout with its lead at 21-20. MSU was able to close it out on Wicinski and Mathews kills and an OSU error, and Wicinski polished off the 3-0 victory by dealing an ace on match point.
The Spartans are back in action next Friday when they host Illinois in their home Conference opener. MSU will also welcome Northwestern to town for a Saturday tilt.