No. 15 Michigan State Closes Out Butler 3-0

INDIANAPOLIS – No. 15 Michigan State defeated Butler on Saturday night to win the 2013 Butler Invitational championship match 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-18). The Bulldogs were highly competitive in each set, but the nationally ranked Spartans were able to close out the close sets to earn the 3-0 sweep.

Belle Obert and Brooke Ruffolo were named to the All-Tournament Team for Butler. Obert recorded 11 kills and three digs against the Spartans and Ruffolo led the team in digs with 18.

Morgan Peterson nearly recorded a double-double vs. Michigan State with a match-high 31 assists and eight digs. Another Bulldog impacting the MSU match was senior Maggie Harbison who tallied seven kills to go along with four blocks.

Michigan State was led by tournament MVP Lauren Wicinski who led all players with 17 kills. Alexis Mathews and Kori Moster joined Wicinski on the All-Tournament Team. Mathews went for nine kills and Moster was solid defensively with a team-high 12 digs.

The first set was the most competitive as Butler used a pair of 3-0 runs to keep the contest close. The Bulldogs tied the score at 14-14 during the first run and the second got them back within one at 19-18. Butler stayed within one point as Obert moved the score to 23-22, but a kill from Autumn Christenson got the Spartans to set point. Head Coach Sharon Clark used a timeout down the stretch, but the Spartans stayed calm to pull out a 25-23 win off the kill by Mathews.

Obert and Wicinski each got off to great starts for their respective teams by recording six kills each. The hitting percentages also mirrored each other as Butler hit .222 compared to .229 from MSU.

The attack percentage drastically changed in the second set however as Butler hit .219 compared to .414 for the Spartans. Wicinski recorded six more kills in the second set and senior Maggie Harbison stepped it up for Butler matching her with six kills of her own.

The second set was once again close to the very end as a two point run by the Spartans out of an MSU timeout moved the score from 20-20 to 22-20. Obert cut the lead down to one with a kill, but back-to-back kills from the tournament MVP, Wicinski put Michigan State at set point. The match ended with a service ace giving the Spartans a 2-0 lead at the break.

Michigan State ended the match in three sets by coming up clutch in the final moments of the game. A 4-0 run from Sparty broke a 15-15 tie and that would seal it as Butler was unable to pull off the comeback. Taylor Galloway led Michigan State in the final set with six kills, and Wicinski was her usual self going for five kills and a pair of digs.

The Bulldogs will rest during the week to prepare for another tournament the weekend of Sept. 20-21 as they host the Butler Classic at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Butler Invitational All-Tournament Team
Lauren Wicinski (MVP) – Michigan State
Alexis Mathews – Michigan State
Kori Moster – Michigan State
Belle Obert – Butler
Brooke Ruffolo – Butler
Brooklyn Hlafka – Illinois State
Emily Schneider – Illinois State
Jen Milligan – IPFW