STORRS, Conn. – Michigan State volleyball snapped the unbeaten streak of Brown on Saturday night at the 2023 Dog Pound Challenge, defeating the Bears 3-1 (29-31, 25-21, 25-13, 25-21) from the UConn Volleyball Center.
MSU improves to 7-3 overall heading into its final non-conference match of the season against Binghamton on Sunday. Brown falls to 8-1 with the Spartans handing them their first defeat. Michigan State has won seven of its last eight matches dating back to an August 27 sweep of Central Arkansas.
“It was good for us to get pushed in set one,” said Michigan State head coach Leah Johnson. “That’s going to feel like being on the road, playing an organized team like they are. Good resilience from our team tonight.”
Junior outside hitter Aliyah Moore set the tone for the Spartans on Saturday posting a career-best 25 kills, hitting .667 on 36 total attacks. It’s the most kills by a Spartan since Sarah Franklin’s 27 on November 6, 2021 against Penn State. Moore also finished the night with eight blocks, a new career high as she combined with fifth year Amani McArthur to build a wall at the net.
“Aliyah lined up her block and decided she wanted a kill every time she touched the ball tonight,” said Johnson. “I challenged our team to do that today in film and Aliyah accepted that challenge with 25 kills.”
McArthur led the Spartans with 10 blocks, one off her career best, while also contributing six kills. Joining Moore with double-digit kills was junior Grace Kelly who had 10. Junior Julia Bishop led the Spartans with 28 assists while freshman Cameron Berger had 19. Senior Nalani Iosia paced MSU with 21 digs. Iosia was one off a double-double with nine assists.
Michigan State out-hit the Bears .338 to .193 and hit over .400 in each of the second and third sets. MSU out-blocked Brown 13-to-7 and finished with 53 digs to Brown’s 42.
The Spartans led Brown by as many as six points mid-way through set one, 17-11, and held set point late, 24-22, but a late surge by the Bears challenged MSU in the first. Brown used a 3-0 run to go on set point themselves as the two sides went back-and-forth into extra points before the Bears came away on top, 31-29.
Michigan State got back on track in set two, taking an early 9-8 lead and never looking back. A 4-0 run put MSU up 12-8 to…