ATLANTA - The Auburn volleyball team faced No. 17 Michigan State to start day two of the Hyatt Regency Invitational and the Spartans came away with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-20) win in O'Keefe Gym Saturday afternoon.
"We had the mentality and battle today, but we just got beat on the serve and pass," head coach Rick Nold said. "Michigan State served very aggressively and had tough serves all day. We just need to do a better job at handling these situations and we'll come back out tonight ready to play."
Auburn (1-1) was led by senior Macy Reece with seven kills, while sophomore Gwyn Jones had six. Junior Brenna McIlroy and sophomore Shaina White totaled five kills apiece. Senior setter Alexa Filley finished with 22 assists and nine digs. Classmate Jesse Earl led the squad with 13 digs on the day.
Michigan State's (2-0) Holly Toliver had a match-high 12 kills and Alyssa Garvelink led all student-athletes with seven blocks. Setter Rachel Minarick had 26 assists and libero Abby Monson had 17 digs.
The Spartans jumped out to a quick lead to start the match, taking a 6-2 advantage. MSU pushed ahead at 14-5 to force an Auburn timeout and a kill from Reece and a pair of Spartan errors followed to stall the MSU run. Earl picked up back-to-back aces late in the set, but the Spartans finished off the stanza with a 25-16 win.
Spartan errors and a kill from Jones put Auburn ahead early in the second at 4-2 before MSU battled back with a pair of runs, pushing a 7-5 lead. Michigan State held its slim margin throughout the middle of the set until a kill from Reece and a service ace from Karis Beasley brought the Tigers within one, 18-17. The Spartans regrouped and pushed on to win 25-19.
MSU kept its momentum going into the third and forced an early Auburn timeout, 7-1. The Tigers inched back within two at 10-8 on a kill from Filley, but tough Spartan serves helped MSU forge ahead at 22-14. A 6-1 Auburn run brought MSU to a timeout, 23-20, but the nationally-ranked Spartan squad held on for a 25-20 victory.
Auburn's final match of the Hyatt Regency Invitational is set for 5 p.m. CT vs. Furman in O'Keefe Gym.