No.11 Minnesota takes win over Michigan State


Julia Bishop serves the ball during Michigan State’s 3-set loss to Minnesota on October 9, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Faith Flickinger, Volleyball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING– No. 11 Minnesota had a six-match winning streak over Michigan State before Sunday’s match. The Gophers ended up sweeping the Spartans and walked away with a 3-0 win, extending their streak to seven. 

Right at the start of set one, freshman middle blocker Nil Okur got a kill for the Spartans after the Gophers served. The match started close, but Minnesota picked up momentum and pull away. 

MSU head coach Leah Johnson was pleased with the initial aggression from her team.

“I felt like the team went for it early,” Johnson said. “We were able to run more offense up the middle of the court, which is what our highest hitting percentage had been found.”

MSU had back-to-back kills from sophomore outside hitter Aliyah Moore. The Spartans were unable to hold on due to errors, and the Gophers took the match 25-19.

In set two MSU, started strong taking the first point of the set, again. Once the set was underway, the Gophers quickly started to earn points and dominate over the Spartans. Minnesota took the set with a block from former Michigan State middle blocker Naya Gros.

Gros left MSU in 2022 and joined Minnesota as a graduate transfer. She averaged 1.5 kills and 1.0 blocks per set last year with the Spartans. 

The third and final set opened up with a Minnesota service ace from junior setter Melani Shaffmaster. Minnesota took the lead throughout the set and often had a 10-point advantage over MSU. The Gophers won the third and final set 25-14.

Michigan State is now 1-5 in Big Ten Conference play. Johnson is not intimidated, despite the recent losses against No. 3 Nebraska and No. 12 Penn State. Johnson said, “If we’re going to complain about who’s ranked and who’s not, we need to go to a different league.” 

“They just need more miles under their sneakers to get there,” she said.

The Spartans host in-state rivals Michigan on Friday, Oct.14, at the Breslin Center. The match against the Wolverines is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.