Arizona Wins 5-Set Thriller On The Road To Eliminate #9 Michigan State

  0 Jared Anderson | December 03rd, 2016 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12

Match Stats

  • Arizona defeats #9-seed Michigan State 3-2 (17-25, 25-16, 25-19, 24-26, 15-10)
  • Arizona moves on to the regional round, where they’ll face #8 Washington
  • Jenison Field House, East Lansing, Michigan
  • Attendance: 2357

Arizona is starting to feel right at home in East Lansing, Michigan. A day after sweeping Cleveland State in the Michigan State facility, Arizona took on the hosts themselves, dispatching the #9 seed in five sets.

Michigan State went up with a win in set #1, but Arizona fought back for the next two sets. A heartbreaker of a 4th set went to Michigan State in 24-26, but the Wildcats rolled to a 15-10 win in the final set. Michigan State becomes the fourth seeded team to lose in the second round, joining #5 Kansas, #11 Florida and #14 Kansas State.

Arizona was led by a devastating offensive effort from Kalei Mau (23 kills) and Kendra Dahlke (22). Both had double-digit digs (10 for Mau, 16 for Dahlke) in double-double efforts. Arizona hit .311 as a team, including a massive .417 in the all-important 5th set.

Michigan State got 20 digs from Abby Monson, plus 17 kills from Autumn Bailey and 15 from Chloe Reinig. The Spartans were on the attack more (162 attempts vs 151 for Arizona), but only hit .252 in the loss.


Press Releases


EAST LANSING, Mich. — Arizona defeated ninth-seeded Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to punch its ticket to the Sweet 16 on Saturday night in MSU’s Jenison Field House in East Lansing, Michigan.

Arizona and Michigan State battled for five nail-biting sets, with the Cats prevailing in the decisive fifth set (17-25, 25-16, 25-19, 24-26, 15-10).

“I was really proud of the way we played,” said head coach Dave Rubio. “It was an unbelievable match. Both sides were terrific. Michigan State gave us everything we could handle. In the first set, we were getting annihilated, and for us to be able to recover from that was tough for us.”

The Wildcats advanced to their eight Sweet 16 in program history and first since 2005.

Arizona hit .311 on 151 attempts on the night. Michigan State was similarly impressive, posting a .252 hitting percentage in the match. Kalei Mau (23 kills, .321 hitting) and Kendra Dahlke (22 kills, .314 hitting) were spectacular for the Wildcats.

The Cats outblocked the Spartans 12.0-7.5. Devyn Cross led the way with six blocks while Katarina Pilepic and McKenzie Jacobson had four apiece.

Penina Snuka (57 assists, 15 digs), Dahlke (22 kills, 16 digs) and Mau (23 kills, 10 digs) all posted doubled for the Wildcats. For Snuka, it was her 22nd of the season, tying Adora Anae for the Pac-12-lead. Because Anae’s Utah Utes were eliminated from the tournament, it is very likely Snuka, the Pac-12 Setter of the Year, will lead – or tie for the lead – in double-doubles all four years in the conference.

After little separation early in the first set, Michigan State went on an 8-1 run to turn a one point lead into an eight-point lead as the Spartans hit a blistering .429 on their way to a 25-17 first-set victory.

The Wildcats responded in dominant fashion in the second set. The Cats hit .538 in the second set, led by seven kills on 10 errorless Kendra Dahlke swings, as UA evened the match with a 25-16 victory.

Arizona brought its block party to the third set, dominating at the net on its way to a 25-19 victory in the third. Arizona had five blocks, including four Devyn Cross, as the Cats led the majority of the way in a 25-19 victory.

In a fourth-set slugfest, the teams went back-and-forth, with neither team leading by more than three points. Arizona could not convert a set point at 24-23 and Michigan State scored the final three points to win 26-24.

Arizona opened the fifth set by scoring six of the first seven points. UA withstood a Michigan State run the brought the Spartans to within two. Arizona won the fifth, 15-10.

UP NEXT:  Arizona advances to the Sweet 16, which will take place in Lincoln, Nebraska on Friday, Dec. 9. The Cats will meet the winner of the Washington/Kentucky round-of-32 match.

Michigan State:

No. 15 Michigan State fell to Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night at Jenison Field House, falling in five sets to the Wildcats (25-17, 16-25, 19-25, 26-24, 10-15). MSU concludes its 2016 season with a 25-9 overall record, and 15-3 mark in its home venue. It was the third straight season that MSU’s campaign comes to an end with a loss to a Pac-12 team in the second round of the tournament.

It was a back-and forth match that featured 20 tie scores and 12 lead changes, and the Wildcats held the edge in hitting percentage (.311-.252), blocks (12-7) and service aces (7-4) – areas that are usually areas of strength for the Spartan squad. MSU fell to 2-3 in five-set matches on the year, with the only other two losses in five sets to No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Minnesota.

MSU’s seniors certainly gave their all in what ended up being their final match in the Green and White – Chloe Reining had 15 kills and hit .355, good for second behind Autumn Bailey’s 17, while Allyssah Fitterer had 10 terminations, hit a match-best .381, and had a team-best four blocks. Defensive specialist Kristen Brashear, a transfer to MSU for her final season, tied her MSU career best with 10 digs.

For the Wildcats, Kalei Mau had 23 kills on a match-high 56 swings, with Kendra Dahlke right behind adding 22 kills and two blocks. Devyn Cross did her damage at the net, posting a match-high six blocks along with six kills. Setter Penina Snnuka had a double-double with 57 assists and 15 digs, adding three blocks.

Arizona advances to the regional semifinal next weekend, which will be hosted by Nebraska.



  • SET ONE: MSU took a two-point lead as the teams both got their first four kills without an error. Arizona called its first time out after MSU pulled out to a 12-8 lead, and was forced to call its second when MSU extended its lead to 16-9 after back-to back terminations by Reinig and Bailey, which pushed MSU’s hitting percentage at that point to .733 (11-0-15). Conscutive blocks by Bailey (solo), Minarick and Fitterer made it 19-10 in favor of the home team, but the Wildcats got the sideout with a tool off the block. MSU took its largest lead at 22-11, but a 4-1 Arizona run made it 23-15. Garvelink’s sharp-angle shot from the left side got MSU to set point, but a Spartan hitting error, followed by a Wildcat ace, allowed Arizona to twice stave off set point. MSU closed it out with Autumn Bailey’s eighth kill of the frame – a back row attack that ricocheted off the arms of McKenna Painton – to secure the first set win. Bailey hit .533, and added a dig and a solo block to her eight terminations, while Reinig had three kills on five swings. For Arizona, Kendra Dahlke had five kills and three digs. 
  • SET TWO: MSU took a 2-0 lead, and Arizona called its first time out. The teams were tied 5-5, and a Kalei Mau kill gave Arizona its first lead of the night, 6-5, and the Wildcats pulled ahead 8-6 after a Spartan hitting error. MSU called time out after a Dahlke kill pushed the visitor lead to 10-7. Garvelink got the sideout with a kill out of the break, but the visitors countered with consecutive kills to make it a four–point advantage, 12-8. Kills by Reinig and Bailey cut it back to two, and it went back and forth between a two-and four-point advantage for the Wildcats. Arizona’s largest lead came at 18-12 after consecutive MSU hitting errors – just their third and fourth of the frame – that saw Arizona take an 18-12 lead, and MSU called its second time out. A 4-2 Wildcat run out of the break gave them their largest lead of the night at 22-14, and a Spartan error, followed by an ace, got the Wildcats to set point, 24-14. A Kranda kill staved off set point, and Megan Tompkins entered and immediately served up an ace to get MSU to 24-16. A Dahlke kill ended the second set at 25-16 in favor of the visitors, evening the match at one set apiece. Dahlke had seven kills in the frame on 10 swings without an error, while Kalei Mau had five on nine attempts, helping the Wildcats to a .538 hitting percentage in the frame. For MSU, both Kranda an Bailey had three kills each, but MSU hit just .172. 
  • SET THREE: MSU held a 6-4 lead, but a 4-0 Arizona run – capped with a kill and a block by the 6-7 McKenzie Jacobson – flipped it to a two-point lead for the visitors. The Wildcats held that two point lead until Mau kissed the right back corner on a big swing that made it three points, 11-8, and MSU called time out. Consecutive blocks by the visitors allowed Arizona to increase its advantage to 13-8, but Reinig came back with a kill to get the sideout. Arizona maintained a lead of four to five points, leading 18-13 after a big Jacobson swing, and pushed their lead out to 20-13 on a Spartan error and a Dahlke kill, her 14th of the night. The duo of Dahlke and Mau combined for 27 kills and hit .400 through this point of the match, with just three errors between the two, helping them build a commanding lead. MSU came back to cut it to four at 21-17 on a block by Krand a and Garvelink, at which point the Wildcats called time out. A block by Devyn Cross ended the third set 25-19, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead in the match. The Wildcats compiled five blocks and hit .265 in the frame, getting six more kills from Mau. Fitterer and Reinig each had three kills to lead the Spartans. 
  • SET FOUR: Arizona took a 6-4 lead in the fourth, but MSU stormed back with a 4-0 run, capped off with a Fitterer kill and Monson ace, to make it 8-6. MSU’s largest early lead came at 9-6 after the break, and MSU kept going to Fitterer to maintain that three-point advantage. Arizona tied it up at 13-13 on a pair of Spartan miscues, which forced the Spartans into calling their time out. Another MSU error allowed the Wildcats to take a 14-13 lead, but Reinig came right back with a tool off the block to knot it back up. MSU and the Wildcats took turns posting consecutive points, as Michigan State would take a two-point lead, and Arizona would tie it back up. Toliver gave MSU a 20-19 edge with a nasty kill from the right side, and Fitterer pushed it to 21-19 on a kill that forced Arizona into its second time out. The Wildcats went on a 4-2 run that saw them pull ahead on back-to-back kills from Mau, the second one a tip over the block that gave the visitors a lead and forced the Spartans into a time out. Reinig got the tool off the block out of the break to once again knot the score, but Devyn Cross came back with a kill to get the Wildcats to match point, 24-23. Reinig tied it at 24-all, and the next two miscues cost the visitors dearly, as Arizona was in the net to allow MSU to take a 25-24 lead, then had a back row block to hand the set to the Spartans, 26-24. MSU got five kills each from Fitterer, Reinig and Toliver, who had 15 of MSU’s 19 kills in the frame where the Spartans hit .357. Mau and Cross had four kills each for Arizona. 
  • SET FIVE: Arizona jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Toliver stopped the run with her sixth kill of the night, but the Wildcats got the next two to make it a four-point advantage, 5-1. After MSU got the sideout to cut it to 6-2, a Fitterer solo stuff allowed MSU back within three, but Mau’s 21st kill of the night sliced through the block. A touch kall on another Mau attempt gave Arizona the lead at the crossover. MSU hit .000 n the first half of the set (1-1-11). Once back on its home side after the crossover, MSU went on a 5-2 run to trim it to 10-8, and the visitors called time out after back-to-back kills by Reinig and Garvelink. The teams traded points out of the break, but a Dahlke kill and Spartan error made it a 13-9 edge for the visitors, and MSU called time out. Dahlke gave Arizona match point at 14-9, but Garvelink kept MSU alive with a kill, her eighth of the night. Dahlke connected for the 22nd time in the match to secure the match win for the visitors with the 15-10 win in set five.TOP PERFORMERS
  • Alllyssah Fitterer had 10 kills, hit a match-best .381, and had a team-high four blocks.
  • Chloe Reinig had 15 kills, adding two digs and hit .355.
  • Autumn Bailey had 17 kills and eight digs, adding two blocks.STATS AND STORYLINES
  • Michigan State has lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight season, falling to a Pac-12 team all three years..
  • The Spartans own a 2-5 record all-time against the Pac-12 in the NCAA Tournament. MSU Is now 1-1 vs. the Wildcats in NCAA Tournament play, and 2-3 overall.
  • The Spartans finish with a 2-3 irecord n five-set matches this season.
  • Abby Monson had 20 digs, extending her streak to eight straight matches with double-digit digs.
  • Rachel Minarick had 53 assists and seven digs, adding a pair of blocks.



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