Michigan State Honor Seniors, Defeat Indiana, 3-1

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Spartans Close Out 2007 Regular Season with a 19-13 Overall Record and 10-10 Mark in Big Ten Play. 


EAST LANSING, Mich. -  On the night when the Michigan State volleyball program honored its four seniors, it was two of those seniors that stepped up their play in the third and fourth game to push the Spartans past Indiana, 3-1 (30-27, 28-30, 30-14, 30-18) tonight at in front of 2,061 Jenison Field House. Classmates Katie Johnson (Brooklyn, Mich./Columbia Central) and Ashley Schatzle (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) combined for 23 kills on a .475 hitting percentage and 17 digs over the final two games for the Green and White. The 89 points allowed are the fourth fewest in a four-game match in Michigan State history, since the change to rally scoring. 


MSU closes out the 2007 regular season with a 19-13 overall record and a 10-10 mark in Big Ten play, and await their postseason fate. Tomorrow night at 8 p.m., the NCAA will announce the field of 64 for the 2007 NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament live on ESPNU. 


Johnson and Schatzle both had 20-kill efforts in the win, as Johnson led all attackers with 25 kills and a .432 hitting percentage, her highest in conference play, and Schatzle posted her 19th double-double of the season with 20 kills and 13 digs. Fellow senior Jessica Hohl (Waterville, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) also had an impressive afternoon on Senior Night, setting a new career-high with eight block assists, while also chipping in seven kills. Freshman Jenilee Rathje (Mount Pleasant, Mich./Mount Pleasant) had her 11th double-digit kill effort of the season with 12 kills and added five block assists. Fellow freshman Lauren O’Reilly (Langley, British Columbia/Pacific Academy) dished out 57 assists, while the fourth senior, Miken Trogdon (Lisle, Ill./Wheaton St. Francis), had a match-high 16 digs on the back line.  


In a sluggish game one, the Spartans took advantage of 17 team errors on Indiana to take the opening game, 30-27. The Hoosiers took the first point, but MSU ran off the next five points for a early 5-1 margin. The Spartans would keep a hold of that lead until Indiana used a 6-2 midway through the game to tie it up at 22-all. However, Michigan State would not let the Hoosiers retake the lead, as three kills by Schatzle closed out the first game, 30-27. Johnson and Schatzle each had four kills in the game, and Hohl posted three block assists. 


Indiana would take game two, 30-28, withstanding a late run by the Spartans. MSU never led in the game as the Hoosiers held a tight advantage throughout the early moments and would use a 10-2 run to open up a 19-10 lead. The Spartans would slowly chip away at the deficit and get within two at 28-26 and eventually at one, 29-28, but a Ashley Benson kill would wrap up the action in game two. Johnson and Schatzle each had seven kills and Rathje added five in the second game loss. 


The Spartans came out with the purpose in game three, taking control early and never trailing, en route to a 30-14 win. The 14 points allowed are the fewest in a game for MSU in conference play this season. With the score at 11-7, two Hohl kills sparked the Spartans to a 5-0 run, opening up a 16-7 lead. Moments later, six unanswered points expanded the advantage to 26-11, too much for the Hoosiers to overcome. MSU hit .500 in the win (17-2-30), paced by eight kills by Johnson. 


Much like game three, MSU never trailed in game four, eventually taking it 30-18. The Spartans used five runs of three unanswered points or more to take control, including a pair of 5-0 runs late in the game to finally put away Indiana. Johnson and Schatzle had six kills apiece, while O’Reilly added four kills on four attempts.