While receiving votes in the most recent AVCA Top 25 poll, the Spartans (12-0) had only lost one set heading into tonight's match. College of Charleston (6-5) had dispatched Georgetown and Presbyterian prior to running into the physical Spartan attack.
After losing the first set, Michigan State broke a 15-15 tie in the second set with a 10-2 run and only allowed nine points in the third set.
"I thought we played very aggressively for a game and a half," head coach Jason Kepner said. "But then Michigan State asserted their physicality and I thought we didn't respond well. Tonight will be a good learning experience for us to keep being aggressive rather than taking a step back."
The Spartans hit .358 as a team and held the Cougars to just .075 hitting. Lauren Wicinski was named Tournament MVP after she paced the squad with a match-high 23 kills and five blocks. The Spartans' Kori Moster (18 digs) and Alexis Mathews (10 kills, seven blocks) were named to the All-Tournament team.
College of Charleston's Melissa Morello earned All-Tournament honors after finishing the weekend with 35 kills and 32 digs. She landed 12 kills on Saturday night against MSU. Junior Taeler Davis was also tabbed to the All-Tournament team as she made 34 assists on Saturday night and finished with 138 for the weekend.
The Cougars jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the first set by taking advantage of several MSU errors. The Spartans eventually tied the set at 18 and took their first lead at 20-19 on a block from Mathews and Amy Dentlinger. A CofC timeout spurred a 3-0 run with two Dorton kills and a Davis ace, but MSU tied the game back up at 23. Another Cougar timeout righted the ship as two kills from White and a final kill from Morello gave the Cougars the first set, 26-24.
The teams battled to a 15-15 tie in the second set when the Spartans seized control of the momentum and went on a 10-2 run to win the set, 25-17.
That momentum continued to the third set as MSU opened up a 10-5 lead and then raced to a 20-8 advantage. Michigan State hit .435 in the set while the Cougars made seven attack errors and only five kills. A service error from Kelly Kolich gave MSU a 25-9 set victory.
College of Charleston could retain the emotional edge in the fourth set as Michigan State used four CofC attack errors to build an 8-2 lead in the outset of the game. The Spartans didn't allow any room for a comeback as they made 16 kills with just one error and CofC was not able to string any rallies together, eventually losing 25-15 in the fourth set.
College of Charleston will stay in the Lowcountry for a road match at Charleston Southern on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.