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MSU Hosts Three Teams at the Spartan Invitiational

Sept. 1, 1997

The sixth-ranked Spartan volleyball team plays host to its second-straight tournament this weekend with the Michigan State Invitational, Sept. 5-6.

The Spartans welcome Drake, Duquesne and Bowling Green to the two-day tourney at Jenison Field House. Play begins on Friday, Sept. 5 with Bowling Green and Duquesne facing each other in a 5 p.m., match and the Spartans taking on Drake at 7 p.m. Four matches are on the slate for Saturday beginning with Drake and Bowling Green at 9 a.m., and MSU and Duquesne closing out the morning session at 11 a.m. The evening session opens at 5 p.m. with Duquesne and Drake, while the Spartans tangle with Bowling Green at 7 p.m., to close out the tourney.

The Spartans, who were ranked sixth in USA Today/AVCA Coaches preseason poll and seventh in the preseason Volleyball Magazine poll, are 2-1 overall.

MSU finished second in its own Goff/MSU Volleyball Classic last weekend after defeating Duke (3-2) and Xavier (3-0) and losing to No. 15 Southern California (3-1) in the championship match.

Bowling Green opened its season last weekend by capturing the Western Michigan Invitational with a 3-0 record. The Falcons breezed to the championship with 3-0 victories over Marquette and Valparaiso and a 3-1 win over the host Broncos.

Drake opened the 1997 season with four-straight losses in the Gazette Times Classic in Corvallis, Ore. The Bulldogs suffered 3-0 losses to Oregon State, No. 14 Ohio State, Maryland and Kent.

Duquesne was blitzed by second-ranked Penn State on Aug. 29, 15-3, 15-2, 15-0. The Dukes took an 0-1 mark into the West Virginia Invitational, Aug. 30-31.

Spartan head coach Chuck Erbe enters the weekend needing just two victories to record his 400th career win. Erbe, who is in his fifth season at MSU, has a 17-year career mark of 398-169-3.

Erbe has guided the Spartans to three-straight NCAA Tournaments and back-to-back Big Ten titles. The 1995 Big Ten and AVCA National Coach of the Year, has a record of 88-48 at MSU.

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. He won four national titles with the Trojans, capturing three AIAW Championships (1976, 1977, 1980) and the first-ever NCAA Championship (1981).

Bowling Green's Denise Van De Walle is in her 15th season with the Falcons and carries a 271-165 career and school won-loss record.

Martie Larsen, a 1984 graduate of Minnesota, is in her ninth season with Drake. She has a career and school coaching record of 119-120.

Duquesne mentor Kerry Miller is in her third season with the Dukes and in her fourth year at the collegiate level. She took a school won-loss record of 33-31 into last weekend's tournament at West Virginia. Miller has an overall collegiate coaching mark of 44-44.

Friday's match will be the first-ever meeting between MSU and Drake. The Spartans and Duquesne have met just once, with the Spartans capturing a 3-0 win on Sept. 18, 1985.

MSU holds a slim 4-3 advantage in its series with Bowling Green. The teams met two years ago with the Spartans claiming a 3-0 win in the Goff/MSU Volleyball Classic on Sept. 2, 1995.

The Spartans dropped a four-game match to No. 15 Southern California in the championship match of the Goff/MSU Volleyball Classic, Aug. 29-30, at Jenison Field House.

The Trojans, who hit .273 as a team, dominated the Spartans at the net, totaling 15 team blocks. Junior Alaina Kipps did the most damage with 11 total blocks, while tourney MVP Jennifer Kessy pounded out 25 kills.

Junior middle Lindsey Clayton, an all-tournament team selection, was one of the few bright spots for the Spartans. She paced MSU with a career-high 13 kills and five blocks. Sophomore Jenny Whitehead hit .304 with 10 kills and three blocks, while junior Jenna Wrobel added 11 kills en route to earning all-tournament team honors.

The Spartans opened the season and the tournament with a come-from-behind five-game victory over Duke. The Blue Devils took a 14-12 advantage in the deciding fifth game before a Clayton kill tied the game at 14-14. The Spartan junior then teamed up for consecutive blocks to propel the Spartans to a 16-14 win.

Wrobel paced the Spartans with 24 kills, 18 digs and five block assists, while Clayton ended the match with seven kills and six block assists.

Freshman setter Vicki Basil contributed 55 assists and eight digs in her first collegiate match. Rookie Christie Landry also started for the Spartans and served up two aces and added 14 digs.

MSU easily defeated Xavier, 15-1, 15-9, 15-4, in the second round of the Goff Classic to extend its home winning streak to 14 matches.

Landry led the Spartans by hitting .526 with 11 kills and just one error in 19 attempts and adding five digs. Sophomore Tammy Vonderheide took advantage of her first start of the season at outside hitter by contributing eight kills, five digs and two aces.

Rookie Sarah Gustin also showed why she was a Volleyball Fab 50 selection, putting down six kills in 11 attempts and contributing a match-high six blocks (3 BS/3 BA).

  • Megan Irvine, Duke
  • Janice Mounts, USC
  • Jasmina Marinkovic, USC
  • Jenna Wrobel, Michigan State
  • Lindsey Clayton, Michigan State
  • Jennifer Kessy, USC (MVP)

1. Southern California (3-0)
2. Michigan State (2-1)
3. Duke (1-2)
4. Xavier (0-3)

Junior outside hitter Jenna Wrobel had 24 kills in MSU's win over Duke to reach the 1,000-kill mark in her career. Wrobel, who is the ninth player in Spartan history to reach that plateau, has totaled 1,015 kills in her three-year career to rank ninth on the all-time chart.

Senior middle Lindsey Clayton took advantage of her starting role over the weekend, averaging 1.08 blocks per game. Clayton, who played behind All-American Dana Cooke for three years, also contributed 1.83 kills and 1.33 digs per game en route to earning all-tournament team honors for the first time in her career.

In the loss to Southern California, Clayton hit .345 with a career-high 13 kills, six digs and five total blocks.

Coach Erbe opted to rest starters Corie Richard and Jenna Wrobel in MSU's win over Xavier, giving the starting nod to sophomore outside hitter Tammy Vonderheide and freshman middle Sarah Gustin. Vonderheide, who normally is a back row player, took advantage of the opportunity, hitting .353 with eight kills, five digs and two aces.

Gustin was impressive as well, hitting .545 with six kills, four digs and six blocks.

With the match in hand, Erbe was able to reward several hard-working walk-ons with playing time. Late in the third game, Kelly Penney, Chris DeJarlais and Bridget Gurtler saw their first action of the season.

Penney made the ninth appearance of her three-year career, while DeJarlais, a senior and a native of Perry, made her Spartan debut.

MSU's loss to USC snapped a 14-match home winning streak for the Spartans. MSU is tough at Jenison Field House where it has posted a mark of 35-3 (.921) since 1995.

After posting a 20-0 mark at home in 1995, the Spartans went 13-2 in the old barn in '96, losing to Texas and Stanford in a season-opening tournament.

Overall, the Spartans have posted a 43-15 (.741) record at home since moving to Jenison Field House in 1993.

Freshman setter Vicki Basil made her collegiate debut last weekend for the sixth-ranked Spartans. Basil was thrust into the starting position after returning setter Julie Pavlus retired from volleyball shortly before preseason camp opened.

The Bay City native averaged 9.58 assists and 1.50 digs per game in last weekend's three matches.

Volleyball Magazine Preseason
 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
 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



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