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Sept. 22, 1997

MSU Takes on Wisconsin, Illinois

Sept. 26    Wisconsin   Jenison Field House, East Lansing, Mich. 
Sept. 28    Illinois    Jenison Field House, East Lansing, Mich.

No. 13 Michigan State opens its Big Ten schedule at home this weekend, hosting No. 12 Wisconsin on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. and Illinois on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. Sunday's game will be broadcast by SportsChannel/Fox with Steve Kashul on the play-by-play and former Penn State player Angie Kammer as color commentator.

Michigan State's Chuck Erbe (Cal State Fullerton, 1972) is 93-50 in his fifth season as head coach at Michigan State and 406-171-3 overall in his 17th year as a head coach.

Wisconsin's John Cook (San Diego, 1979) is 110-66 in his sixth year as the Badgers' play caller and overall as a head coach. Don Hardin (Illinois, 1982) is 22-16 in his second year at Illinois and 214-92 in his tenth year as a head coach.

Wisconsin is 9-1 this season. Last weekend, the Badgers defeated the University of Texas, 15-9, 17-15, 15-0 at home in the opener of the Wisconsin Volleyball Classic but lost to No. 5 Nebraska on Saturday10-15, 9-15, 12-15 in their first defeat of the season. Amy Lee leads the attack with 3.5 kills per game while Colleen Neels is Wisconsin's setter at 12.9 assists per game.

Illinois is also 9-1 this season. The Illini defeated Arkansas 15-12, 16-14, 16-14 in their last outing on Sept. 19. At 3.4 kills per game, Mary Coleman and Tracey Marshall lead the team while Melissa Beitz sets them up at 12.2 assists per game.

Wisconsin leads Michigan State 23-14 in the series. In the teams' last meeting on Nov. 22, 1996, MSU won, 3-0.

Illinois is up 28-10 in its series with MSU. In their last meeting on Nov. 15, 1996, the Spartans were victorious, 3-0.

Michigan State won the Kentucky Conference Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 20 with a decisive 15-4, 15-9, 15-11 win over host Kentucky in a tournament featuring teams from the Southeastern Conference, the Ohio Valley Conference, the Big Ten and the Midwestern Collegiate Conference. Tournament MVP junior Jenna Wrobel had 15 kills on .300 hitting while senior Veronica Morales tallied 19 kills and 10 digs in the win. MSU dispensed with the Butler Bulldogs, 15-10, 15-6, 15-7 in the morning match on Saturday. Game one proved the most challenging for the Spartans with Butler knotting the score at four points and again at seven. Senior Corie Richard held serve for the final six points, including three aces, to sew up the game for State. Freshman Sarah Gustin was a major factor in the Spartan victory with 10 blocks and three kills. In Michigan State's tourmament opener, senior Lindsey Clayton hit a career high .625 along with five blocks and five digs to lead the Spartans to victory over Eastern Illinois. Wrobel had 15 kills and 11 digs while Morales notches six kills and 18 digs.

MVP Wrobel tallied 45 kills, 25 digs and 10 blocks. Also named to the all-tournament team were Clayton and freshman Sarah Gustin. Clayton, playing on two bad ankles, saw action in only two matches but still managed to total 19 kills, seven digs and six blocks. Gustin was instrumental in MSU's victory over Butler with ten total blocks and three kills on .400 hitting.

Senior Veronica Morales had another solid tournament, including a hitting percentage of .621 (19-1-29) in the Spartans' win over Kentucky. Morales also tallied 10 digs in the match.

1.  Michigan State      3-0
2.  Butler              2-1
3.  Kentucky            1-2 
4.  Eastern Illinois    3-0


Jennifer Kintzel, Butler
Amy Pickett, Butler
LaTanya Webb, Kentucky
Lorri Sommers, Eastern Illinois
Sarah Gustin, Michigan State
Lindsey Clayton, Michigan State
MVP-Jenna Wrobel, Michigan State

Michigan State volleyball can be seen live on SportsChannel/Fox on Sun, Sept. 28 for the Michigan State versus Illinois match. Match time is 5 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).

Freshman Sarah Gustin totaled nine block assists (10 total blocks) against Kentucky on Sept. 20, tying her for seventh on the all-time single-match block assists record list. Her ten total blocks is tied for 14th on the all-time single-match total blocks list.

Senior Lindsey Clayton hit a career high .625 (12-2-16) to held MSU defeat Eastern Illinois on Sept. 19. Her previous best of .571 came against Northwestern on Sept. 22, 1995.

Junior Jenna Wrobel was named to her third all-tournament team last weekend. Wrobel earned MVP honors at the Kentucky Conference Challenge. Previously, Wrobel was named to the all-tournament team at the UC Santa Barbara Bellomo Classic, the Michigan State Invitational and the Goff/MSU Volleyball Classic.

MSU Season Notes

No. 13 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. MSU faces No. 12 Wisconsin on Friday.

*With her 33 digs last weekend, Veronica Morales moved up two spots to No. 4 on the all-time digs chart with 1,203 career saves. *Morales needs just five more kills this season to eclipse the all-time record of 1,669 held by Becky Belanger. Morales has a career total of 1,665.

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 406-171-3. 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 93-50 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).

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 1,192 kills in her three-year career to rank sixth on the all-time chart.

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