Michigan State volleyball falls to Illinois


Jack Moreland

Aliyah Moore spikes the ball during Michigan State’s match against Illinois on November 11, 2022. / Photo Credit: Jack Moreland/WDBM

Faith Flickinger, Volleyball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State and Illinois met at the Breslin Center Friday night for a  Veterans Day matchup. MSU lost its 10th game of the season against the Fighting Illini. 

Illinois won the three-set match and walked away extending their four-match win streak over the Spartans. 

Head coach Leah Johnson said, “We’ve got that seat for missing in action and prisoners of war…all fallen and lost soldiers and so we’re certainly here to pay tribute.” 

The match began competitively, with multiple lead trade-offs. Neither team truly held a large lead in the opening set. 

Illinois Senior middle blocker Ryle Hinton got the Illini to set point and would close the set with a kill for Illinois, 25-23.

At the start of set two, Illinois took control and built a lead over MSU. The Spartans responded willfully as sophomore outside hitter Aliyah Moore kept MSU alive. MSU was able to build a lead over Illinois by as much as eight points thanks to a kill from fifth-year senior middle blocker Rebecka Poljan. After a timeout, Illinois came out and earned points to close the gap. 

A block from redshirt freshman setter Brooke Mosher and senior middle blocker Kennedy Collins vaulted Illinois to tie it 21-21. The teams remained level, but MSU ultimately fell short with an attack error from freshman outside hitter Maradith O’Gorman.

Illinois, again, began to dominate in set three. MSU was able to pull into the reach of Illinois’s lead and tied it at 11 with a kill from senior middle blocker Emma Monks. Back-to-back errors from the Spartans allowed the fighting Illini to regain control. Illinois gained a match point after a service error from Poljan, but a call reversal kept MSU alive. 

The Spartans fought to the wire but Illinois ultimately took the third set and match 25-22. 

“It’s the most consistent three sets we’ve played to date,” Johnson said. “The errors came from us, not points earned from them.”

The Spartans will play Northwestern on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Breslin Center.