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Michigan State Volleyball Falls in Four to No. 11 Purdue, 3-1


EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State volleyball team (17-7, 6-6 Big Ten) dropped a tough match to No. 11 Purdue (20-3, 9-3 Big Ten), 3-1 (14-25, 25-19, 25-28, 25-22), on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Jenison Field House. Senior Jenilee Rathje paced the Green and White with a team-best 17 kills against the Boilermakers.


MSU came out hot in the opening set, hitting a strong .615 in the 25-14 advantage. The Spartans went out to the 2-1 lead, and never looked back. The Green and White put the lead to six at 14-8, forcing the Boilermakers to call their first timeout. Purdue called its final break of the set with the score 19-12. Michigan State remained in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the set, growing its lead to 11 at 25-14. Senior Kyndra Abron paced the Spartans in set one with five kills, while freshman Kori Moster led all individuals with four digs.


The Spartans took the 2-1 lead in set two, but could not overcome the hurdle and claim the set prior to intermission. The Boilermakers posted their first multi-point lead at 8-6 and forced MSU to call its initial timeout at 18-14. Purdue’s largest lead of the set occurred at 21-15, but the Spartans pulled back within four at 22-18. The Boilermakers only allowed the Green and White to score one more point before taking set two, 25-19. Rathje led the Green and White in kills with six. Moster, once again, paced the Spartans with six digs for the defense.


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The Green and White looked to get back on the winning side of things in set three, however they only led after the initial point of the set. Purdue got to the 2-1 and never looked back. The Boilermaker lead became five at 10-5 to force the Green and White to call the first timeout of the set. The advantage grew to seven as MSU called another timeout, trailing 16-9. Purdue posted its largest lead at 22-14 before claiming set three, 25-18. Abron posted a set-high six kills, while Moster chipped in six digs.


Michigan State looked to square the match at 2-2, but trailed for the duration of the final set. Purdue jumped out to the early 4-1 lead, and maintained that advantage at the first break in action with MSU calling a timeout, 14-11. The Boilermaker’s lead grew to five as the Spartans called their final timeout of the match at 19-14. Following the break, MSU took the next three points to pull back within two, 19-17, to force a Purdue timeout. The Boilermakers remained strong by closing out the match, 25-22. Rathje led the Spartans in kills for the second set of the night with five. Moster tallied a team-best five digs to close out the match.


Abron joined Rathje in double-digit kills with 16. Abron also led the Green and White in hitting percentage with a .393 mark. Defensively, Moster recorded her 18th double-digit dig mark of the season with 21. Sophomore Alexis Mathews led all individuals in blocks with her six (1-5). In ball distribution, sophomore Kristen Kelsay quarterbacked the Spartans with 25, while senior Natalie Emro added 20 to the tally.


MSU returns to the road for the first of four straight contests away from East Lansing next weekend. The Green and White first travels to Iowa City, Iowa for a match against the Hawkeyes on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. ET. The following night, the Spartans will face Nebraska at 8 p.m. ET in Lincoln, Neb.