Covering the Land of Lincoln

Spartans Fall to Illinois in Close Battle

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11/12/2022 | 7:00 p.m

Nov 12 (Sat) / 7:00 pm

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State volleyball fell to Illinois in a close battle on Friday night at the Breslin Center, losing 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-22) by just a combined seven points across three sets. The match featured 28 tied instances and 11 lead changes.

MSU was led by sophomore Aliyah Moore’s match-high 13 kills, while freshman Evie Doezema added nine. Graduate student Zoe Nunez tallied her seventh double-double of the season with 29 assists and a match-best 17 digs. Her 17 digs were the second most she has recorded this season. Junior Nalani Iosia added 10 digs and seven assists in an all-around effort, and senior Emma Monks finished with five blocks to tie for the match high.

The Spartans hit .126 for the match and were bested by Illinois who hit .229 for the match. Illinois was led by a 13-kill effort from Brooke Mosher, followed by 11 kills from Raina Terry. Diana Brown led the match with 32 assists and Caroline Barnes had 13 digs. Three Illini players finished with five block assists.

A back-and-forth first set saw the teams exchange leads up until the set was tied at 23-23 on an Illinois service error. The Fighting Illini would side out to take the lead on the next point as back-to-back kills by Rylee Hinton won the set for Illinois. Moore had five kills for the Spartans in set one on eight swings.

Michigan State trailed early in set two as Illinois held a 6-3 lead. The Spartans followed with an impressive run of playing, using a 15-4 run to build an 18-10 lead over the Illini. Moore once again had five kills for the Spartans in the second set. Illinois was quick to respond however, using an 11-3 run to tie the set at 21-all. The teams once again found themselves tied at 23-23 before Illinois closed out the set.

In another close set, the Spartans held a 13-11 lead mid-way through the third to force an Illini timeout. Illinois responded well out of the break going on a 4-0 run to flip MSU’s advantage. Michigan State stayed with a one-point deficit of the Illini late, trailing 18-17 following one of senior Rebecka Poljan’s five kills of the night. Illinois would then pull away from the Spartans for good using a 6-1 run that put them on match point. A successful Spartan challenge on match point brought some life to MSU who scored three straight to make things interesting, however a late Illini timeout stopped the Spartan momentum.

up next: Michigan State hits the road for its final road trip of the season next weekend, seeking rematches against Illinois and Northwestern. The Spartans first travel to Champaign, Illinois to meet the Illini at 8:00 pm ET on Friday, Nov. 18. After a travel day on Saturday, Michigan State is set to play Northwestern at 2:00 pm ET on Sunday, Nov. 20

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