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Women's Volleyball


 
Spartans Open 1997 Campaign with Goff/MSU Volleyball Classic

Aug. 27, 1997

The Michigan State volleyball team opens its 26th season of intercollegiate play this weekend when it hosts the 3rd Annual Goff/MSU Volleyball Classic at Jenison Field House. In addition to the Spartans, the two-day tournament features Duke, Southern California and Xavier. Southern California and Xavier open the tourney on Friday, Aug. 29, at 5 p.m. The Spartans will battle Duke on Friday at 7 p.m. Saturday's schedule includes four matches with Duke and Southern California playing at 10 a.m., followed by Michigan State and Xavier at noon. The evening matches begin at 6 p.m., with Duke and Xavier and the tourney concludes with the Spartans facing Southern California at 8 p.m.

RECORDS The Spartans are coming off a 26-7 record in 1996 and their second-straight Big Ten title. MSU advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals before losing to Florida, 3-1. Duke was 15-12 last season and finished third in the ACC with a 10-6 mark. The Blue Devils return 10 letterwinners and five starters from last season's team. Southern California posted a 21-9 mark in 1996 and tied for third-place in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 record. The Women of Troy advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals where they lost to Stanford in three games. Xavier is coming off a 21-14 season in which it finished fifth in the Atlantic 10 with a mark of 11-9. The Musketeers return 10 letterwinners and three starters from that team.

IN THE POLLS MSU is ranked sixth in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll and No. 7 in the Volleyball Magazine Preseason Poll. The Spartans have been ranked in the top 10 for 30 consecutive weeks dating back to Sept. 19, 1995. MSU broke into the national polls for the first time in program history with the preseason polls of 1995. Since that time, the Spartans have been ranked for 33-straight weeks. USC is the only other team participating in this weekend's tournament to crack the top 25 preseason charts. The Trojans are ranked No. 14 in the Volleyball Magazine Poll and No. 15 in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll.

THE COACHES Michigan State head coach Chuck Erbe is in his fifth season in East Lansing and in his 17th year at the collegiate level. Erbe has guided the Spartans to three NCAA Tournaments and two-straight Big Ten titles. The 1995 Big Ten and National Coach of the Year, Erbe has an 86-47 won-loss record with the Spartans and a career mark of 396-168-3. Erbe, who spent 12 years as the head coach at USC (1976-77/79-88), has guided his teams to postseason appearances in 14 of his 16 seasons in the collegiate ranks. Duke is led by Linda Grensing, who is in her third season with the Blue Devils and in her fifth campaign overall. Grensing has a two-year mark of 22-30 at Duke and a career record of 83-53. Lisa Love is in her ninth season at USC where she replaced Chuck Erbe in 1989. Love has a won-loss record of 158-81 with the Trojans and a 15-year career mark of 357-159. Xavier is guided by eighth-year mentor Floyd Deaton who has a school and career record of 157-94.

SERIES RECORD Friday's meeting with Duke will be the first-ever between the two programs. USC holds a 3-0 advantage in its series with the Spartans. The two teams last met in the UCLA National Invitational in 1980 with Chuck Erbe's Trojans pulling out a 2-1 victory. Xavier and MSU have met just once with the Musketeers taking a 3-2 victory on Sept. 18, 1992.

REUNION MSU's match with Southern California will be Chuck Erbe's first-ever meeting against his former team. Erbe coached the Women of Troy for 12 years (1976-88) and guided the program to four national titles during that period (1976-77-80-81). During his tenure, USC players earned All-America honors 25 times, including the entire starting lineup on the 38-0 squad in 1977.

CAPTAINS Senior Corie Richard and junior Jenna Wrobel will serve as team co-captains in 1997. Richard is an outside hitter from Kentwood who appeared in 30 matches last season. Wrobel is an outside hitter from Naperville, Ill. She is a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection, who was seventh in the Big Ten and 29th nationally with a 4.69 kills per game average.

FORMER PLAYERS TO BE HONORED Three former Michigan State volleyball players will be honored prior to Saturday's match with Southern California. Dana Cooke, Courtney DeBolt and Val Sterk will be recognized for their contributions to the Spartan program in a special ceremony prior to the 8 p.m., match.

MILESTONE IN SIGHT FOR WROBEL Junior outside hitter Jenna Wrobel is just 20 kills shy of becoming the ninth player in MSU history to reach 1,000 career kills. She totaled 539 kills in 1996, good for second on the MSU seasonal chart.

HOME COURT Michigan State begins the 1997 season with a 12-match home court winning streak. The Spartans are 33-2 over the last two season at Jenison Field House. After posting a 20-0 mark at home in 1995, the Spartans lost to Texas and Stanford at Jenison to start the 1996 campaign. Since that time, MSU has reeled off 12-straight victories. Overall, the Spartans have posted a 41-14 (.745) record at home since moving to Jenison Field House in 1993.

SEASON OPENERS The Spartans have an all-time record of 13-11 in season-opening matches. MSU will open its season at home for just the seventh time in 25 years of competition. MSU is 4-2 in home openers.

A LONG WAY FROM HOME Freshman middle/outside hitter Maren Witzel had the longest journey of the six freshmen joining the Spartan squad this season. Witzel hails from Palmer, Alaska and based on available information, is the first athlete in the history of MSU athletics to come from the state of Alaska.

ROOKIE QUARTERBACK With the loss of junior Julie Pavlus to career-ending back problems, the setting duties will be handled by freshman Vicki Basil of Bay City. The 5-10 newcomer has shown tremendous potential in the preseason and performed well in MSU's Green & White match last Saturday.

MORALES NEARS RECORD Senior outside hitter Veronica Morales begins the season just 158 kills shy of breaking Becky Belanger's all-time mark of 1,669 kills. Morales has totaled 1,512 kills in her first three seasons, including 416 in 1996.

NEW CONTRIBUTORS With six freshmen on the 1997 squad, there will be plenty of new faces in the lineup this season. Head Coach Chuck Erbe is expecting four of his newcomers to be significant contributors this season. While Vicki Basil is scheduled to start at setter, Sarah Gustin (6-3/M), Christie Landry (6-2/OH) and Jessica Sanborn (6-2/M/OH) will all be vying for starting roles.

HOLY WING SPAN! Nine of MSU's 14 players on the 1997 roster stand six-foot or taller. Sophomore Jenny Whitehead tops the chart at 6-4, while freshman Sarah Gustin is 6-3. During preseason practice, Gustin's wing span was measured at 6-6 1/2!

Volleyball Magazine Preseason Poll
 1. Stanford
 2. Penn State
 3. Nebraska
 4. Florida
 5. Long Beach State
 6. Brigham Young
 7. Michigan State
 8. Washington State
 9. Texas A&M
10. Pacific
11. UC Santa Barbara
12. UCLA
13. Texas
14. Southern California
15. Ohio State
16. Loyola Marymount
17. Washington
18. Notre Dame
19. Arizona
20. Hawai'i
USA Today/AVCA Coaches Preseason Poll
 1. Stanford (58)       1,498
 2. Penn State (2)      1,369
 3. Nebraska            1,354
 4. Florida             1,289
 5. Long Beach State    1,220
 6. Michigan State      1,074
 7. Washington State    1,039
 8. Brigham Young       1,000
 9. Texas               933
10. Pacific             897
11. Hawai'i             802
12. UC Santa Barbara    707
13. Texas A&M           663
14. Ohio State          649
15. Southern California 617
16. Loyola Marymount    613
17. Notre Dame          567
18. Wisconsin           555
19. Washington          485
20. Arizona             402
21. UCLA                254
22. South Florida       195
23. Colorado            166
24. Colorado State      162
25. Arkansas            157
Big Ten Preseason Coaches Poll
 1. Penn State (11)
 2. Michigan State
 3. Wisconsin
 4. Ohio State
 5. Minnesota
 6. Illinois
 7. Michigan
 8. Indiana
 9. Purdue
10. Iowa
11. Northwestern



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