KU Falls To Michigan State In Five Game Set
Aug. 31, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. –
The University of Kansas volleyball squad fell to Michigan State in a dramatic five game set (16-30, 30-26, 22-30, 30-19, 4-15) Friday night in the Spartan Invitational. With the loss, <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas evens its record to 2-2 while MSU improves to 2-3. Kansas’ head coach Ray Bechard remains just win away from history as he needs just one more victory to become the winningest coach in KU volleyball history.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
Sophomore Brittany Williams led the Kansas offense with 13 kills, while senior Caitlin Mahoney swung for a team-best .500 hitting percentage.
Libero Melissa Manda dug up a team-high 11 digs. Emily Brown helped on defense going up for seven blocks during the match.
Game one started as a back-and-forth battle that featured five tied scores in the first 14 points. MSU’s Katie Johnson used her dangerous serve to help the Spartans go on an 8-0 run and give MichiganState a 20-12 advantage. Kansas did its best to answer back piecing together some strong hits, but the Spartans always seem to be in the right spot at the right time.
Kansas came out with a renewed poise in game two and used a great defensive showing that included 13 blocks to top MichiganState 30-26. The Jayhawks took an early lead with a kill by Natalie Uhart and a block by Brown and Uhart to make it 7-4. A few points later, Flavia Lino tallied a kill and forced the Spartans into a timeout with Kansas ahead 12-8. The break did little to the Jayhawks’ momentum as they held on to their lead for the remainder of the game. MSU threatened with a comeback trailing by one at 27-26, but Kansas took advantage of three Spartan errors to notch the win.
The teams hit a mirrored .222 hitting percentage in game three, but the Spartans’ early lead stuck as KU fell 30-22.
Heading into game four, Kansas was down two games to one but certainly not out. Midway through the game, the Jayhawks had control with a healthy 19-14 lead which they continued to extend 23-17, and then 27-17 on a five point rally. A huge block by Brittany Williams and Brown gave the Jayhawks 29, and Brown grounded a set from Katie Martincich for game point to force a game five.
The Spartans took advantage of nine KU hitting errors in game five to take the game and the match.
“I was disappointed at the level we played at in game five,” said Bechard. “We didn’t respond like we needed to in a competitive environment.”
There were many positives though,” Bechard went on to say. “I thought Emily [Brown] and Brittany [Williams] had some good stats. Our blocking was one of our highlights tonight, too.”
Kansas will have two more chances to put Bechard in the record books with a pair of games on Saturday. KU takes on Florida State 10 a.m. (CST) and will wrap up the Spartan Invitational against MissouriState at 4 p.m. (CST). Livestats are available for both games by logging on to http://kuathletics.cstv.com/sports/w-volley/sched/kan-w-volley-sched.html.