EVANSTON, Ill.— Michigan State Volleyball ended the Northwest season on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Wildcats 3-0 (25-20, 28-26, 29-27). The Spartans haven’t lost a set against Northwestern all season, defeating the Wildcats in every match-up. MSU earned its 12th win of the season, improving on its 11th overall win last season.
82 team points is the most single-game points for the Spartans in a three-set game in program history under the 25-point scoring system (set scores of 25, 28, 29).
Michigan State beat the Wildcats .278-.179 and blocked Northwestern 8-4. The Spartan attack was consistent throughout the game as Michigan State hit .300 in the opener, .262 in the second set and .279 in the third. MSU had six service aces, each led by a junior pair Nalani Iosia and graduate Zoe Nunez.
Senior Emma Monks set a new career high in kills at 13th sophomore in her last career away game Aliyah Moore followed Monks into double figures with 12, including the match winner in set three. fifth year Rebekah Polyan and newbie Maradith O’Gorman each had nine kills. Nunez had her 10th double-double of the season with 35 kills and 11 digs. Iosia led the team with 18 digs and is 25 digs away from 1,000 for her career. Monks and O’Gorman each had five blocks for the Spartans.
Michigan State was two points behind late in the first set, 18-16, but the Spartans capitalized on a dominant run late in the set to take a 1-0 lead over the Wildcats. MSU went on a 9-2 run to claim the 25-20 win. Monks finished the first set with five kills while Poljan and Moore each had four kills.
Put up two needed extra points, but once again it was Michigan State that came out on top. The Spartans were three points down mid-set, but a 7-0 run by Spartan gave MSU a four-point lead. Northwestern responded with a run of their own to put a 25-24 lead over Michigan State and hit the set point, but the Spartans responded with a 4-1 run over the final points to take the 28-26 win by one Acquiring Ace of Poljan.
The teams went back and forth in the decider as each side took turns trading points. Northwestern went with a 6-1 run for an 18-15 lead against MSU, but the Spartans responded with a 5-0 run to take a 20-18 lead. The lead returned late in the Wildcats’ favor after they went up to 21-20 with a 3-0 run in the Northwest. Michigan State’s 3-0 run gave the Spartans a 23-21 lead and struggled to reach set point. Forced for extra points again, Northwestern was on target 26-25 before a 4-1 run from Spartan ended the game. It was the newcomers who did it late for the Spartans who killed them Maradith O’Gorman, Evie Doezema and Aliyah Moore.
Temi Thomas-Ailara had 17 kills to lead Northwestern and was helped by Hanna Lesiak’s 13 in double digits. Back in the Wildcat lineup, Alex Rousseau led the team with 39 assists. Megan Miller and Lesiak each had 10 digs for Northwestern.
Next: Michigan State wraps up the regular season at home next week, facing Rutgers on Wednesday, November 23 at 6:00 p.m. and Iowa on Saturday, November 26. The first serve for the game against Iowa is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. against The Spartans, who previously faced the Scarlet Knights on September 25 and lost a 3-2 match. Next Saturday sees the first game of the season between MSU and the Hawkeyes.