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Sept. 16, 1997

Spartans to Compete in Kentucky Conference Challenge

Sept. 19-20 Kentucky Conference Challenge   Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ken. 

Michigan State, ranked 11th in the country travels to Lexington, Ken. for the Kentucky Conference Challenge. On Friday, Sept. 19, the Spartans will compete against Eastern Illinois at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Challenge continues with MSU competing with Butler at 10:30 a.m. and Kentucky at 7:30 p.m.

Michigan States Chuck Erbe (Cal State Fullerton, 1972) is 90-50 in his fifth season as head coach at Michigan State and 403-171-3 overall in his 17th year as a head coach.

Eastern Illinois Betty Ralston (Plymouth State, 1976) 268-223 in her 15th season and 353-268 overall in 18 years as a head coach. Sharon Dingman (Northern Michigan, 1984) heads the Butler Bulldogs. She entered the 1997 season at 111-64 in five seasons at Butler and 133-77 overall in six years as a head coach.

Kentucky is led by Fran Ralston-Flory (Texas, 1984) who came into this season with a 64-63 record in four seasons at KU and a 96-97 overall head coaching record in six seasons.

Eastern Illinois is 7-2 this season. At a tournament in Dayton, Ohio last weekend, EIU went 3-0, defeating Valparaiso, Eastern Michigan and Wright State by 3-0 scores.

The Bulldogs of Butler currently stand at 11-0. The team won the Kansas Invitational Volleyball Tournament last weekend, defeating Missouri-Kansas City (3-0), Toledo (3-0), Buffalo (3-1) and Kansas (3-1). The University of Kentucky is 8-1 this season. At the Larry COnrath/Kroger Bobcat Invitational in Athens, Ohio last weekend, the Wildcats defeated Middle Tennessee State University, 3-0, and James Madison University, 3-1. The James Madison win included an epic first game win with a score of 22-20.

Eastern Illinois leads the series over MSU, 3-2. In their last meeting on 9/10/88, the Spartans defeated the Panthers 3-2 at the Ball State Invitational.

Kentucky and Michigan State have played each other twice with the Spartans earning victory on both occasions. The teams last met on 9/23/96 with MSU sweeping the Wildcats, 3-0.

This will be the first meeting between Butler and Michigan State.

MSU .500 at UCSB Bellomo Classic
Michigan State put an end to its two-match losing streak by shutting down No. 15 Loyola Marymount, 15-8, 15-8, 15-11 in the morning session on Saturday at the UCSB Bellomo Classic. The Spartans opened the tournament with consecutive losses to South Florida (13-15, 7-15, 12-15) and No. 7 UC Santa Barbara (15-12, 12-15, 6-15, 4-15). Junior Jenna Wrobel, named to the all-tournament team, tallied 77 kills, 41 digs and 13 blocks in the Spartans four matches. Senior Veronica Morales also played well with 56 kills and 54 digs. In its opener, MSU fell to South Florida. Wrobel and Morales led the way with 23 and 15 kills, respectively. Senior setter Kelly Penney assisted 52 times and also had 11 digs. The Spartans were wracked by errors, however, counting 11 service errors, 10 reception errors and six ball handling errors. In the Friday nightcap, MSU met No. 7 UC Santa Barbara. The Spartans won the first game behind the big hits of Morales and Wrobel and the strong blocking of seniors Jenny Whitehead and Lindsey Clayton, but were unable to maintain the momentum, dropping the next three games. Clayton and Whitehead tallied six and five blocks, respectively in the match. Michigan State came out looking like a new team on Saturday morning and proved it, handing No. 15 Loyola Marymount its second loss of the season, 3-0. Wrobel and Morales were on their game, scoring 20 and 10 kills, respectively, while Clayton blocked another four attempts. As a team, the Spartans had their best hitting match of the tournament at .356. Portland State stretched the Spartans in all four of its games, winning the third, 15-13. Wrobel and Morales kept MSU on track with double-doubles in kills and digs (17-14, and 17-18, respectively). Wrobel also chipped in five blocks.

1.  UC Santa Barbara    4-0
2.  Loyola Marymount    3-1
3.  Michigan State      2-2
    Arizona State       2-2
5.  South Florida       1-3
6.  Portland State      0-4
UCSB Bellomo Classic All-Tournament Team
Sarah Noriega, Loyola Marymount
Paula Araujo, South Florida
Terri Cox, Arizona State
Jenna Wrobel, Michigan State
Eavi Shovlin, Portland State
Heather Brown, UC Santa Barbara
Roberta Gehlke, UC Santa Barbara
MVP-Tanja Hart, UC Santa Barbara

WJIM Radio has five live Michigan State volleyball matches on its slate this fall. Sept. 29 vs. Wisconsin, Sept. 28 vs. Illinois, Oct. 3 at Michigan, Nov. 2 vs. Michigan and Nov. 7 vs. Ohio State. All matches begin at 7 p.m.

Michigan State voleyball can be seen live on SportsChannel/Fox on Sun, Sept. 28 for the Michigan State versus Illinois match. Match time is 7 p.m. Four other matches will also be televised this season: November 14 at Illinois (ESPN2); Nov. 16 at WIsconsin (SportsChannel); and Nov. 28 vs. Penn State (ESPN2).


No. 11 Michigan State has a 1-2 record against ranked opponents this season. MSU lost to then No. 15 Southern California on Aug. 30 and fell to No. 7 UC Santa Barbara last weekend. The Spartans victory came against No. 15 Loyola Marymount last Saturday.

Junior outside hitter Jenna Wrobel had 24 kills in MSUs 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 1,147 kills in her three-year career to rank sixth on the all-time chart.

*With her 54 digs last weekend, Veronica Morales moved up two spots to No. 5 on the all-time digs chart with 1,170 career saves. *Morales needs just 35 more kills this season to eclipse the all-time record of 1,669 held by Becky Belanger. Morales has a career total of 1,634.

Spartan head coach Chuck Erbe won his 400th career match against Duquesne in the Michigan State Invitational, 10-15, 15-6, 15-7, 15-5. Erbe, who is in his fifth season at MSU, has a 17-year career mark of 403-171-3. 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 90-50 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).

MSUs 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.

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