Volleyball Sweeps Oakland in Return to Breslin Center

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State volleyball returned to the Breslin Center on Friday night, defeating Oakland 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-14), in its first match of the Green & White Classic. The Spartans hit .475 (47-9-80) as a team in the sweep, narrowly missing a top-five slot in the program record book for single-match hitting percentage.

“I liked our quick start,” Michigan State head volleyball coach Leah Johnson said. “We had been struggling the last few matches with starting a little slow, so I was pleased to see us jump in, get started quickly and keep that urgency all night.”

Get started quickly they did as the Spartans opened set one on a 10-3 run to force an Oakland timeout. Big first set performances from seniors Emma Monksand freshmen Maradith O’Gorman spirit Evie Doezema kicked the Spartans. Monks hit 1,000 for the set (5-0-5) while Doezema added four kills to O’Gorman’s three.

“I loved the aggressiveness that Maradith O’Gorman played with tonight,” Johnson said. “I think she took her game to another level, wanting to get seen a lot more.

Doezema paced all Spartan hitters in the match with 12 kills on 18 attempts, hitting a season-best .556. Sophomore Aliyah Moore joined Doezema in double figures with 11 kills on 19 attempts, hitting .474. Monks finished the match with eight kills on 11 attempts to tie her previous career-best in hitting percentage at .727.

Graduate student Zoe Nunez distributed a match-high 37 assists in the win and was honored with a commemorative ball pre-match for surpassing the career milestones of 4,000 assists and 1,000 digs during Michigan State’s opening weekend. Junior Nalani Iosia led with 10 digs, reaching double-digit digs for the eighth time in nine matches.

Zoe Nunez distributed the offense well with multiple players hitting over .400,” Johnson said. “Our passing put us in that position. I thought we committed to a team system well.”

The Spartans hit .475 as a team, while holding Oakland to a .113 hitting percentage. Michigan State trailed just once in the match, when Oakland took a 1-0 lead in the second set. The Golden Grizzlies kept things interesting through set two as Michigan State held just a 15-13 lead mid-way through. A 3-0 run for the Spartans with kills from Nunez, Moore and freshman Nil Okur gave the Spartans some breathing room up 18-13. MSU added four points via Oakland miscues in the final moments of set two as O’Gorman put down the set-winning point on her seventh kill of the night.

Michigan State opened up set three in dominant fashion taking a 14-4 lead before Oakland called timeout. Maradith O’Gorman served six straight possessions before Oakland was able to break things up. The Spartans continued to extend the advantage late into the set using strong performances from Doezema (five kills) and Moore (four kills). Making her Spartan debut, sophomore Aubrey O’Gorman entered on match point, sending a ball to the back left corner of the court for her first career kill.

Up Next: Michigan State continues play at the Green & White Classic on Saturday, September 16, meeting Chicago State and Evansville from the confines of the Breslin Center. The Spartans open day two with a 10:00 am match against the Cougars of Chicago State, before wrapping up the weekend against the Purple Aces of Evansville at 5:30 pm

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