Following MSU football’s 45-7 statement win against Jacksonville State Friday night, MSU volleyball looked to handle Jacksonville State today at the UAB/Samford Invitational tournament.
And in the end, this Jacksonville State team was game for the Spartans.
The first set was even 7-7 until the Spartans pulled away with five straight points, due to four straight set assists by Rachel Minarick, which forced Jacksonville State to take a timeout. Minarick and outside hitter Holly Toliver kept plugging away and MSU won the first set. Minarick finished the first set with 10 set assists, while Toliver tallied five kills.
In the second set, MSU pulled away early again, 10-4. The Spartans pulled away with an 11-point defeat in the second set, 25-14. At this point, the Spartans had a kill percentage of .309.
In the final set, Jacksonville State led early, 4-3. After a few attack errors by the Gamecocks and kills by MSU, the Spartans started to pull away 7-4 and Jacksonville took another timeout, which appeared to be the theme of the game.
It was 17-10 in the final set and, led by kills by Chloe Renig and Maggie Halloran, MSU won eight points in a row to win the last set, 25-10, and sweep the Gamecocks. Kristen Muir had seven-straight setups in the point streak, and kills were dispersed between Allyssa Fitterer and Megan Thompkins.
MSU used all of its 16 traveling players in the game, and led in every category except for serve, block and handling errors. Minarick finished with 28 set assists and 12 digs, while Fitterer quietly had 10 kills and Tolliver finished with eight kills.
MSU head coach Cathy George and the Spartans will try and cut down on errors in the final game of the Invitational at 8 p.m. tonight versus Samford.
Alex Scharg is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Michigan State University Volleyball