Michigan State: 25, 17, 17, 22
Penn State: 22, 25, 25, 25
What began as a seemingly favorable game for MSU, winning the first set 25-22, ended in favor of Penn State.
Michigan State made it to the Sweet-16 in back-to-back seasons and fell in both. Last year, it was to Michigan.
The Spartans are losing a major senior class who, according to coach Cathy George, have brought their program a long way in their four years at MSU.
“There’s a strength in that class that has allowed us to accomplish what we have accomplished,” George said.
All of the senior class played in their final game for the Spartans, with co-captain Kristen Kelsay earning 23 sets and eight digs. Lauren Wicinski had a double-double with 11 blocks and 16 digs. Alexis Matthews tallied five kills and two blocks, while Kelsey Kuipers had five kills, two digs and one block.
“I’m very proud of where they’ve come, but I surely will miss them,“ George said. “I’m looking forward to what they will do in this world.“
Luckily for MSU, their freshmen class has shown they are ready to take the place of that elite group of seniors.
Allysah Fitterer led the team with 18 kills and a hitting percentage of .441, gaining career highs in kills and attempts. Chloe Reinig has also shown great potential this season, tallying 10 kills and two blocks against PSU.
“While no one ever wants to see their see their season end, I’m very proud of what they accomplished and the way they competed tonight,” George said.
“We took on a very good, aggressive Penn State team that has their eyes on a National Championship.”
The Spartans finish the season with a 23-12 overall record. No. 2 Penn State will move on to the NCAA National Semifinals against No. 7 Stanford in the chase to be National Champions.
Jennifer Swanchara is the host of Bump, Set, Spike for Impact Sports.
Photo: Rey Del Rio, MSU Athletic Communications