Dec. 1, 1997

MSU Battles Butler in First Round of NCAA Tournament

WHO'S NEXT?-

NCAA First Round- Dec. 5 vs. Butler Lincoln, Neb. 8:30 p.m. EST

NCAA BOUND-

The Spartans advance to the NCAA tournament for the fourth-straight year. MSU will play Butler in the First Round on Dec. 5 at Lincoln, Nebraska. The winner plays Nebraska on Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m.

Last season the Spartans went 2-1 in the tournament. After a first round bye, MSU hosted Texas A & M in the second round, winning, 3-0. The Spartans went on to defeat Long Beach State, 3-1, at the Central Region Semifinal in Gainesville, Fla., before losing to Florida, 3-1, in the Central Regional Final.

In 1995, Michigan State went 3-1 in the tournament, advancing to the National Semifinal before losing in five games to Nebraska. MSU went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1994, where the team lost in the first round to Texas A & M, 3-1.

THE COACHES-

Michigan State s Chuck Erbe (Cal State Fullerton, 1972) is 108-58 in his fifth season as head coach at Michigan State and 418-179-3 overall in his 17th year as a head coach.

Butler s Sharon Dingman (Northern Michigan, 1984) is 139-70 in her fifth season as the Bulldogs head coach and 161-83 in her sixth season overall as a head coach.

REMATCH-

Michigan State s first-round opponent has a familiar look. The Spartans have already played Butler once this season, defeating the Bulldogs, 3-0, in the first round of the Kentucky Conference Challenge on Sept. 20. Butler claimed the No. 1 seed at the MCC Tournament and used it to capture its first Midwestern Collegiate Conference Championship since 1987 and its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Leading the way for the Bulldogs is MCC Player of the year, setter Jennifer Kintzel. She led the MCC in service aces and became Butler s and the MCC s all-time assists leader this season. Heather Cox, a second-team All-MCC selection led the conference in digs per game and is second on the Bulldog team in hitting percentage and kills.

SERIES RECORDS-

Michigan State leads the series 1-0 after its 3-0 win over the Bulldogs on Sept. 20 in the teams first-ever meeting.

BLOCK PARTY- The Spartans tied the MSU all-time team record with 34 block assists versus Indiana on Nov. 29. Michigan State has recorded 34 block assists two other times, vs. Ohio State on 10/9/94 and vs. Illinois on 10/16/82.

SAME BLOCK, DIFFERENT RECORD-

MSU has tallied 389.5 total team blocks this season. That total is the most in the Michigan State record books (statistics since 1981). In 1996, the Spartans recorded 363 blocks, then the highest total ever.

No. 2 PENN STATE DEFEATS MSU, SPARTANS WIN OVER INDIANA-

Penn State captured at least a share of the Big Ten title with its win over Michigan State, 15-5, 15-4, 15-5, on Friday night in Jenison Field House. The Nittany Lions showed their muscle in game one with three or more kills from five different players, while the Spartans hit only .065. MSU s Veronica Morales tallied five kills in game two but could not combat a .395 Penn State hitting percentage. In game three, Michigan State managed to hold off match point four times before succumbing to the Lions. Morales was the only MSU player in double figures with 16 kills and 10 digs. Jessica Sanborn added two kills, nine digs and five blocks while Sarah Gustin hit four kills for the Spartans. Saturday night was senior night at Jenison Fieldhouse, and outgoing senior Veronica Morales decided to make it extra-special by rewriting yet another Spartan record. Going into the night, the four-year starter needed only 15 digs to overtake the MSU career dig record of 1,466, held by Jill Krumm. MSU won in four games, 15-8, 15-10, 13-15, 15-8, over visiting Indiana. It took all four games for Morales, but when the night was over, she had 16 digs, giving her 1,467 career digs and yet another Spartan career record. Michigan State came out strong in game one, hitting .405 as a team against Indiana's .130. The Spartans won 15-8, and recorded six team blocks. They continued their strong net play in game two, recording .324 against the Hoosiers' .118, and winning 15-10.

Game three saw Indiana fight back. Behind Amanda Welter's staggering .625 hitting, the Hoosiers forced a game four with a 15-13 victory. Jenna Wrobel had 11 kills in game four, while four Spartans tallied two blocks apiece. This, along with Morales's record-setting six digs in game four was too much for Indiana, which lost 15-8 to Michigan State.

WHO'S HURT?-

Sophomore middle hitter Jenny Whitehead was lost for the season on Oct. 9, suffering a non-union fibular fracture in her right leg. She underwent surgery on Mon., Oct. 13.

Veronica Morales.

RECORD BREAKER-

Veronica Morales added another chapter to a story book career by breaking the Michigan State all-time digs record with her 1,467th dig against Indiana on Nov. 29. Earlier this season, Morales also claimed the all-time kills and all-time attempts records at MSU.

THE BIG 30-

Jenna Wrobel tallied 30 kills in MSU s victory over Indiana on Nov. 29. It marks the second time this season that Wrobel has hit the 30-mark and the third time in her career. On Nov. 2, she scored 32 kills in the Spartans win over Michigan. Wrobel set her career high with 34 kills vs. Purdue on 9/28/96. She is only the fifth player in MSU history to have 30 or more kills in a match.

WROBEL, MORALES LEAD BIG TEN-

Jenna Wrobel and Veronica Morales lead the Big Ten in two categories. Wrobel is tops in the conference in kills per game at 5.48. Morales is averaging 3.58 digs per game to place her first in that category.

MSU VERSUS TOP 25

Michigan State has a 2-6 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 on Sept. 12. On Sept. 26, MSU lost to No. 11 Wisconsin. The Spartans victories came against No. 15 Loyola Marymount on Sept. 13 and No. 25 Illinois on Sept. 28. MSU lost at No. 1 Penn State on Oct. 25. On Nov. 16, the Spartans fell to No. 5 Wisconsin, 3-1. MSU was defeated by No. 2 Penn State on Nov. 28th, 3-0.

20-KILL RECORD

Jenna Wrobel holds the MSU single-season record for 20-kill matches with 19. She broke the record on Nov. 8 vs. Purdue (21 kills). Wrobel had been tied with teammate Veronica Morales who had the previous record of 14 20-kill matches, set in 1994.

RECORDS WATCH

*Jenna Wrobel is in third place on the all-time kills chart with 1,609 career kills after totaling 36 kills last weekend. She needs 62 kills to move into No. 2, currently held by Becky Belanger with 1,669. *Wrobel also holds the No. 3 spot on the all-time attempts chart with 3,875 career attempts, after tallying 89 last weekend. She needs 497 attempts to move into the No. 2 spot, currently held by Becky Belanger with 4,371.