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Posted on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 11:46 p.m.

Michigan State hands Michigan volleyball team its fifth loss in last six matches

By Staff

The Michigan volleyball team had enough trouble with Michigan State outside hitter Jenilee Rathje on Wednesday night.

Giving away 43 points to the Spartans was more than the Wolverines could overcome.

Rathje had 21 kills and 17 digs in the Spartans' 3-1 win in front of Big Ten Network audience and a lively crowd of 3,526 at Jenison Field House in East Lansing.

Michigan (15-6, 3-6 Big Ten) committed 28 attack errors and 15 service errors while losing 25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23. Its the Wolverines' fifth loss in their last six matches.

The No. 21-ranked Wolverines were led by outside hitters Lexi Erwin (15 kills, nine digs, two aces) and Alex Hunt (13 kills, nine digs) and got 46 assists from freshman setter Lexi Dannemiller.

Michigan State (16-5, 5-4) coach Cathy George said the win was an important one for her Spartans' post-season hopes.

"With Michigan ranked ahead of us in both the RPI and in the national rankings, we really feel like this can help us," George told "It's always important to get a win, especially at home against a strong team like Michigan."

With the loss, Michigan remains in ninth place in the Big Ten with a trip to No. 9 Penn State on Saturday marking the midway point of 20-game conference schedule. Nine Big Ten teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year.