Oct. 14, 2011
Box Score | Photo Gallery
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: Northwestern 1, Michigan State 3
Records: NU (10-8, 1-6 Big Ten), Michigan State (15-4 4-3 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Saturday, Oct. 15 -- vs. No. 20 Michigan (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 7 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern returned to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Friday night, but the Michigan State Spartans proved to be unwanted visitors as they defeated the Wildcats, 3-1 (27-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20). Yewande Akanbi paced the 'Cats with 16 kills in the match.
The Wildcats had double-digit blocks as a team (10.0), but they attacked at a clip of just .158 offensively. Michigan State was able to outscore NU by 18.5 points total, which would prove to be the difference in the Big Ten affair.
Both teams came out swinging in the opening set and the Wildcats and Spartans traded blows throughout the frame which featured a match-high 12 tie scores and six lead changes. The last tie score came at 24-24 following a ball handling error called on Michigan State. The Spartans netted a kill to take a one-point advantage, but Akanbi (Houston, Texas/Dawson) answered with her third termination of the set to pull even once again. Northwestern then committed a serving and an attacking error to hand the win over to the green and white.
Michigan State came out hot again in the second and opened up an 11-6 lead that prompted NU head coach Keylor Chan to call a timeout. The Wildcats would settle down and chip away, eventually tying the score at 16-16 following a kill from Kathryn Chrystal (Crystal Lake, Ill./Central) and an attacking error on Michigan State. The 'Cats could not get over the hump, however, and the Spartans outscored the home team by enough, 9-6, the rest of the way to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
Katie Dutchman (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines) paced the Wildcats through the second set as the redshirt freshman accounted for a team-high four kills and three block assists.
In the third set it was Northwestern that was able to charge out of the gate and build an early 10-6 lead thanks in large part to three early kills by Stephanie Holthus (Burlington, Ill./Central). As the Wildcats did in the second set, Michigan State clawed its way back in the fight and eventually grabbed the lead at 20-19. Following a timeout, Dutchman hammered down a kill to tie it at 20. Akanbi and Holthus scored big points for NU down the stretch and Chrystal sealed the win with her only kill of the set to give her team a 25-23 triumph.
As it did in the first two sets, Michigan State came out on top early in the fourth and ultimately deciding set. The Spartans built a 10-5 lead and never looked back. The Wildcats scored first in the set on a kill from Dutchman, however, that would be their only lead the rest of the way. MSU would go on to claim a 25-20 set victory, winning the match 3-1.
Akanbi set a career-high for the second time in three matches with 16 kills against the Spartans, eclipsing her previous high by one. Holthus added 15 kills, while Dutchman had nine while committing just one error. Dutchman also added seven total blocks.
The Wildcats will be back in action tomorrow on Alumni Night against the 20th -ranked team in the country, the Michigan Wolverines. Prior to the match that begins at 7 p.m., several Northwestern volleyball alumnae will be celebrated and recognized for their contributions to the program.
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