The Spartans traveled to Grand Valley State University to take part in the Lakers first invite of the year. They played four games against in-state rivals CMU, GVSU, SVSU, and also Kent State.
The first match of the day was already the second match-up in this young season against the Chippewas of Central Michigan. The Spartans came out strong and took the first point fairly convincingly after 13 minutes. Some good catches and solid throws led MSU to the early lead. The next point then ended with neither side eliminating the other before the half ended, although CMU had the advantage. Coming out of halftime the Spartans again played strong in a back and forth point. MSU was eventually able to eliminate all of CMU and take a 2-0 lead with only 6 minutes left. Both teams then kicked the slow play to the wall and came out firing for the last six minutes, with neither side eliminating the other again. The game ended with a 2-0 win for Michigan State.
The second game of the day was against the lone out-of-state team at the tournament, Kent State. With several new players, Kent State was outmatched against Michigan State. The Spartans took four points before the half to se up a commanding lead. KSU came out of halftime fire up, however, and were able to take a point. MSU then finished the game by taking one more point to end the game at 5-1.
The Spartans next match was against the team they have never beaten in their program’s history, Grand Valley State. Despite losing 6-0 the previous week, Michigan State showed no fear against the Lakers. Quick eliminations and catches gave the Spartans and early edge over GVSU. MSU then methodically eliminated each Laker to take a 1-0 lead going into halftime, with a couple minutes rolling over. But GVSU was not ready to lose their first game to Michigan State. They came out of halftime ready and took a point with roughly 18 minutes to go, to tie the game at 1. This set up the all-important third point of the match. After several minutes, both sides had eliminated a couple of their opponents. GVSU then made a couple catches and a couple hits to bring the Spartans down to five men and a ten-second shot clock. After surviving a couple more minutes, the Spartans failed to make a legitimate throw and suffered a shot clock violation. GVSU then team threw and eliminated Captain Colin O’Brien along with Ben Polcyn and Dan Grogis soon after with only 2:40 to go. With such little time, MSU tried all they could to try to take a point. The Spartans hit several Lakers and caught even more, but Grand Valley had five players left as the clock expired, giving them the win over MSU 2-1.
Michigan State’s final game of the day was against Saginaw Valley State University. MSU again came out strong and took the first point, making several catches along the way. The second point then turned into a dull, slow game as both sides eventually got down to five players but both seemed content to go into the half with MSU in the lead 1-0. Coming out of the second half, Saginaw Valley turned the script and made some catches of their own, propelling them to tie the game at 1. Saginaw took and early edge in the fourth point, but was unable to eliminate Matt Jones and Rebecca Shappell. With the game tied at 1, both sides prepared for overtime. Michigan State sent Captain Colin O’Brien, Assistant Captain Alex Zajac, Tournament Assistant Captain Charlie Wilshire, Dan Grogis, Noe Galaviz, and Josh Brawley. One minute into the overtime period, SVSU eliminated O’Brien on a great team throw to take an early edge. The Spartans battled back with two eliminations to take a 5-4 edge. A caught MSU throw paired with two good throws by the Spartans left them with a one man lead of 4-3. Following a shot clock violation by SVSU, MSU eliminated a Cardinal player before throwing catch to level the sides at three players each. Saginaw then hit two MSU players as MSU hit a SVSU player in the span of five seconds to give SVSU a 2-1 edge. Following another shot clock violation, this time by sole remaining Spartan Charlie Wilshire, the two remaining Cardinals set their sights on a victory. On the ensuing team throw, Wilshire was able to dodge the first throw before failing to catch the second, sending Saginaw Valley home the winners of a thrilling overtime match.
Michigan State went 2-2 on the day with a one-point loss to the defending champs on their home court and an overtime loss to the defending runners-up. With only nine players present at both of the Michigan State’s first tournaments, the rest of the season looks bright if the Spartans can find a way to put together a full roster.