Michigan State fell in its final home match of the season, dropping a 3-1 decision   (25-21, 21-25, 16-25, 16-25) to No. 4 Illinois.  Illinois wins its 13th straight match and improves to 27-3, 16-3 on the year.

MSU (17-15, 5-14 B1G)  honored senior Maddie Haggerty after her final home match, acknowledging her role not only in the guidance of a young team as a senior captain in 2018, but also for her strength through the adversity of missing the entire 2017 season with an injury.  Haggerty led her team once again on her senior night, putting down a match-high 16 kills, hitting .231, and adding a pair of aces, two blocks (one solo) and six digs.  Freshmen Naya Gros and Molly Johnson each had seven kills, and Lauren Swartz led the Spartans with three blocks.

For Illinois, it placed three in double figures – both Beth Prince and Megan Cooney posted 13 kills, while Ali Bastianelli had a match-best seven blocks to go with eight kills and hit .429.  Jordyn Poulter had 44 assists, nine digs, and four blocks.

The Spartans stunned the fourth-ranked Illini in the first, taking control early with a 5-0 lead and maintaining an edge throughout as the visitors committed 12 errors (-.025) as MSU took the first set, 25-21.   Illinois took the second set by the same margin, and then was in control from start to finish in the third, a set it won 25-16.  In the fourth, MSU trailed by as many as six points early (13-7) before MSU rallied to tie it at 13’s on a scoring run by senior Maddie Haggerty.  It was all Illinois from there, closing it out on a 12-3 run.

Michigan State turns its attention to the regular-season finale at Michigan on Saturday.  The match begins at 7 pm and will be played at UM’s Crisler Center

  QUOTABLE 
“We let the third set get away, with too much of a deficit to overcome for our late surge.  They controlled the fourth the way we did in the second, so I was glad to see us be aggressive in the fifth to close it out.  We are going to have to clean up the errors we made tonight before facing Michigan this weekend.”

  TOP PERFORMERS 
•    Maddie Haggerty posted 16 kills, hitting .231 and adding six digs.  She had a solo block (two total) and posted a pair of aces.
•    Lauren Swartx had a team-best three blocks, one solo.
•    Both Naya Gros and Molly Johnson had seven kills.  .

 STATS AND STORYLINES 
•    Haggerty’s stretch of six straight matches with a double-double was snapped, as she finished four digs shy.  She was two kills short of her season best, however – she put down 16 in the match to lead all players.  Both of her aces came in the fourth set as MSU rallied from a six-point deficit on her serving run.
•    MSU hit .135 overall on the night, with nine errors in the fourth set helped by six Illini blocks.  .
•    Four of MSU’s seven blocks on the night were solo stuffs.
•    Jamye Cox had 13 digs, one shy of the match high.
•    Elena Shklyar ha 23 assists and four digs, while Maggie Midgette had 16 assists and three digs.

  GAME REPLAY 

•   SET ONE:  Michigan State ran off to a 6-0 lead, and Illinois was forced to call an early time out. Illinois was hitting 0-5-8 to that point (-.625). MSU extended its lead out to 13-5, capitalizing on nine Illini errors; the visitors put together a 3-0 run to trim the deficit, but MSU got the side out with a kill by Haggerty.  With the Spartans holding a 15-10 lead, the ensuing play was whistled as a touch by Illinois that would have re-established MSU’s six point edge, the bench challenged the call and it was overturned, whittling the Spartan lead down to four (15-11).  The Spartans didn’t allow the challenge rattle them, scoring three of the next four points to go back up by six.  With its deficit at 21-14, the Illini called their second time out; MSU came back with two straight points out of the break, on kills by Swartz and Poljan.  Illini kills by Bastiaelli and Quade, followed by a block by the duo, fueled a 5-0 run that trimmed the Spartan lead back down to four at 23-19.  Swartz got MSU to set point at 24-19,  and after the Illini fended it off twice and a MSU time out, the Spartans went to Haggerty, who found a sweet spot in the back right corner to seal the 25-21 win.  Haggerty led MSU with five of MSU’s 11 kills, while Beth Prince had three of Illinois’ 11.  The visitors had 12 hitting errors in that first set for a -.025 hitting percentage, while MSU was marginally better with eight (.077).  Both teams had 16 digs and three blocks.

•   SET TWO:  The teams traded points to 4-4, and the Spartans used a 5-2 run to pull ahead by a 9-6 margin.  An MSU error followed by a Prince kill allowed the visitors back within a point, and they pulled ahead 12-10 after a pair of MSU errors and a kill by Cooney.  Overall, it was a 6-1 run for the Illini that gave them the lead, and they slowly built it out to a five point edge at 18-13.  Illinois did so by cleaning up their errors – in building that lead, they committed just one error against 12 kills on 20 swings (.540).  MSU wasn’t going away, however – the Spartans got it back within two on a big block by Haggerty and Gros that made it 19-17.  Illinois tried to run away with it again, going up 22-18, but MSU kept fighting back into it.  Haggerty and Molly Johnson went back-to-back to make it a two-point edge, but the Illini closed it out on a 3-1 run – capped with a dump by Poulter on set point – to even the match at 1-1 with a 25-21 victory

•   SET THREE:    Illinois tried to establish control early in the third, and took a 6-2 lead.  MSU battled back to within one at 7-5, as Poljan blocked Poulter on a dump for the second time in the match.  A 6-1 Illini run allowed the visitors to pull ahead by six, (12-6), but the Spartans challenged the final point in that run and the call was overturned, making it 11-7 in favor of UI.  The call seemd to fuel the Illini, who went on a 5-1 run to pull ahead by eight (16-8), and then 10 (19-9).  Trailing 21-11, the Spartans got on a little run, pulling within eight at 24-16 on a kill by Swartz and two from Haggerty.  A block on the senior by Ashlyn Fleming and Cooney sealed the 25-16 set three victory to take a 2-1 match lead.  MSU hit .200 in the frame (10-5-25) but the visitors put up 15 kills and four blocks, distributing their offense nearly equally between four players ; Bastianelli had three kills and three blocks, and Cooney added four kills and a pair of stuffs.  For MSU, Haggerty added four kills, while Johnson had two.  The Spartans had just one block to four for Illinois, but had 12 digs to just eight for Illinois.

•   SET FOUR:    Tied 3-3, a service error and an Illini block gave the visitors a 5-3 lead, but MSU tied it up on a kill by Gros and a block by Haggerty.  Illinois then scored four straight on a pair of kills by Prince, a block by Bastianelli, and a service ace to go up 9-5.  MSU called time out to try to halt the momentum, and played even to 11-7.  A pair of kills pushed Illinois; lead to 13-7, but MSU came back with a kill by Haggerty to put the senior on the service line.  A trio of UI errors sandwiched around a Haggerty ace brought the Spartans within one at 13-12, and Illinois called time out.  A second Haggerty ace tied things at 13, but the visitors got the sideout on the ensuing rally that started a 9-0 run that put the Spartan deficit at 22-14.  The Illini scored three of the final five points to close out the set 25-16.  Both Prince and Fleming had four kills in the set, with Fleming adding four blocks.    Haggerty had three kills and two aces and a block in the frame to lead MSU.

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