Michigan State’s 12-match winning streak came to a halt on Friday in Iowa City, where the Spartans dropped a 3-0 decision to the Hawkeyes. MSU is now 12-2 on the year and 0-1 in the Big Ten.
Iowa (9-3, 1-0 B1G) had the upper hand from the beginning of the match, with sharp hitting (.290, 42-25-93) and compiling a match total of 11 blocks, five of which came in the opening frame. The Spartans struggled with both hitting errors (21 on the night, a second-straight match with 20+) and eight service errors.
Alyssa Chronowski led the Spartan offense with 12 kills, hitting .455 (12-2-22). Naya Gros had four kills and four blocks.
Taylor Lewis and Cali Hoye led the Hawkeyes with 10 kills each to the win in the Big Ten opener, while setter Brie Orr had 31 assists.
The Spartans are next in action on Sunday at 3 pm ET in Lincoln when the MSU-Nebraska matchup airs live on ESPNU.
“We all know that the Big Ten is a dogfight every night, and while I thought we improved as the match went on, we needed to be much, much sharper than we were. There’s a learning curve for us for many players – and unfortunately, the only way to learn lessons is to make the mistake first. We have a day to prepare for a very, very talented Nebraska team, and that’s what we have to turn our attention to once we arrive in Lincoln. Every aspect of our game needs tightening up.”
– Head Coach Cathy George
STATS AND STORYLINES
• The Spartans’ Big Ten –best winning streak of 12 straight matches .
• MSU’s 15-match winning streak against Iowa came to a halt. Iowa’s last win in the series had come on October 30, 2009.
• The Spartans had won five straight Big Ten openers dating back to 2013.
• SET ONE: The home team started off with seven kills on its first seven swings, and held a 13-9 edge before MSU called its first time out to regroup. MSU was hitting a respectable .333 at the time, with both of its hitting errors blocks by the Hawkeyes. The Spartans were employing a 6- 2 offense for the first game this season, and showed a few kinks that they worked out as the set played on. MSU trailed by as many as five (17-12), but battled back within a point at 19-18. Iowa put together a 3-0 run to push its lead back out to four, and Cathy George called her second time out. The Hawkeyes closed it out of the break, scoring three of the next four points to earn a 25-19 victory. Alyssa Chronowski had seven of MSUs 12 kills, hit .667 and had a block. Iowa had five blocks in the opening set, compared to just two for the Spartans.
• SET TWO: Iowa ran out to a 5-1 lead in the early part of the set with a pair of big blocks before Chronowski stopped the run. The lead became 8-3 after a serve that sailed long, and then out to nine at 13-4 behind four blocks. Everything was going Iowa’s way in the frame – they built a 16-7 lead behind a .615 hitting performance to that part of the frame, with eight kills and four blocks while MSU was struggling with just six kills against seven errors. The Spartans won a challenge that made it 17-10, and trimmed it to five at 19-14. The Hawkeyes went on a 4-0 run that made it a nine-point edge at 23-14, and a net violation gave the home team set point. A second straight MSU error gave the Hawkeyes the victory. Iowa hit .480 (14-2-25) in the set with four blocks, while MSU had nine kills against nine errors.
• SET THREE: With the Spartans back in a 5-1 offense, the teams were within two points as the set progressed, with MSU taking a 16-15 lead before the Hawkeyes scored three straight to take an 18-16 lead. MSU called time out, but the Hawkeyes put down the next two points out of the break for a 20-16 advantage, and the Spartans called their second time out in an effort to regroup. MSU fought back into it to take a 22-21 on a pair of kills by Molly Johnson and two blocks from Johnson and Rebecka Poljan, forcing the home team to call a time out to try to slow the Spartan momentum. The teams traded blocks out of bounds to make it 23-22 MSU, but a nearly five-minute review-and-debate with the Iowa bench ensued before the part was twice more awarded to the Spartans. Iowa scored the next two points to get to match point, but a Shklyar kill made it 24-24. Regan Coyle and Brie Orr closed it out for the home team, as the Hawkeyes took the set 26-24 and the match 3-0. The Spartans produced five of their eight blocks in the set and had a .159 hitting percentage, their highest of any set in the match.
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