The Spartan volleyball team opened up the 2015 Big Ten season against the Indiana Hoosiers at Jenison Fieldhouse on Friday evening, sweeping IU 3-0 to improve to 9-3 on the season. The 1995 championship team was honored throughout the evening as well, which set the stage for what would end up being a dominating performance from Michigan State.
The first set was taken by MSU 25-21. Brooke Kranda ended with 6 kills, as Indiana’s right and back court was completely exposed. The second set was much of the same, as the Spartans took it 25-20. They survived a late charge by Indiana and had to take a timeout while leading 20-19, but held off the Hoosiers to take a commanding lead in the match. Kranda continued her dominance, improving her kill percentage to 50% (9-18).
Set number three was all Michigan State, as they cruised to sweep Indiana 3-0 and opening a big weekend in East Lansing with a decisive victory. Kranda ended the match with 10 kills for the Spartans.
Head coach Cathy George was pleased with the performance, but was looking for more as they prepared to face Purdue. “I don’t know that we were in rhythm as much as I’d like to see us […] you’ve gotta get back to business real quick.”
After a good start to Big Ten play, the team could not keep the momentum going as they lost to Purdue 3-1 Saturday night.
The Spartans had a great start to the game by winning the first set 25-18. Their strong offensive attack, led by redshirt sophomore Kranda who had four kills in the first set, forced the Boilermakers to take two timeouts. They never recovered, and MSU was energized going into the second set winning 25-18.
Purdue Head Coach Dave Shondell must have motivated his team during the break because they came out and took a 3-0 lead in the second set. This ultimately led to MSU needing a timeout being down 7-2. Purdue took control of the set, led by senior Annie Drews, who had 12 kills in the game. The highlight for the Spartans was the hustle of freshman Sarah Washegesic, who came in with a spectacular dig. However, this was not enough as Purdue took the set 25-14.
In the third set the Spartans showed more life by making things tighter. Kranda once again led the charge with four kills; however Purdue’s sophomore Danielle Cuttino showed fight as she brought her team back from a five point deficit near the end of the set. MSU tried to rally and win after leading, but the play of the Boilermakers was too much as they won 26-24.
The fourth set was not much better for MSU as they started out down 4-1. The Spartans could not cover the middle of the court as Purdue senior Sam Epenesa took over and finished the game with 16 kills. Much of these were set up by teammate Ashley Evans, who finished with 47 assists for the game. MSU sophomore Abby Monson tried to keep the Spartans close as she had 17 digs, but it was not enough as Purdue took the set 25-23, thus winning the game.
Kendra finished with 19 kills and 21 total points on the game. With this loss the Spartans are now 9-4, and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
By Davey Segal and Zane D’Souza