MSU snaps 12-match losing skid with win over Northwestern


Jack Moreland

Avery Horejsi and teammates celebrate after a point 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 has ended its 12-match losing streak after a clean, three-set sweep over Northwestern. 

MSU is now 42-37 in the all-time series against Northwestern.

The first set began in Northwestern’s favor. The Spartans had a slow start and were down eight points at one time. But after a long rally that ended with a kill from freshman outside hitter Evie Doezema, MSU was fired up. 

MSU then tied it 22-22, after trailing the entire set, with a block from freshman outside hitter Maradith O’Gorman and senior middle blocker Emma Monks. MSU closed out the set with a handling error from junior libero Grace Reininga. The Spartans won the set 25-23. 

“We were able to pull that tight finish which was the first time we’ve done that,” said head coach Leah Johnson.

After the first set win, MSU was ready. The Spartans began the second set 8-0 and had strong defense over the Wildcats. MSU built up nine-point leads over Northwestern. Northwestern didn’t have the lead once, and graduate student setter Zoe Nunez got MSU to set point. The Spartans took the set 25-16.

In the third and final set, MSU started shakily with a service error from freshman defensive specialist Jayhlin Swain. The Spartans were able to slide right back into their rhythm and built up a ten-point lead on the Wildcats, 24-14. 

Monks swung for a kill in the last play of the set, but it was called in Northwestern’s favor. MSU challenged the call for a touch and won the challenge, and match, 25-14. 

“We’ve been training and getting better and better so that the win should be ours now,” Johnson said. “But we weren’t letting ourselves trip over our own toes in certain situations. And so to get out of your own way. Now, you’ve climbed to this point to earn a win. And I was excited to see them let themselves succeed.” 

The Spartan’s next match is at Illinois on Nov. 18 at 8:00 p.m.