CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Michigan State Spartans continued their unbeaten start to the season by defeating the College of Charleston, 3-1 (24-26, 25-17, 25-9, 25-25) and winning the Holiday Inn Charleston/Mt. Pleasant Tournament on Saturday night at TD Arena.
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.
Darcy Dorton notched her ninth double-digit kill match of the season, leading the team with 14 kills. Sloane White made seven kills on the match, and Emily Shelton finished with 21 digs.
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.