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Volleyball Freshman Class Grows to Four

Abby Monson

April 16, 2014

East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State head volleyball coach Cathy George has announced that Abby Monson (Burnsville, Minn) has joined Alyssa Garvelink (Holland, Mich.), Rachel Minarick (Naperville, Ill.) and Holly Toliver (Berrien Springs, Mich.) to form the incoming class of freshmen for the Spartan volleyball team in the fall of 2014.

George, who's staff compiled the seventh-ranked recruiting class in the nation last season, has four Prep Volleyball All-Americans enrolling at MSU for this fall. The Spartans are coming off back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 appearances, and will add this talented class to an already-solid corps of returnees, headlined by All-American libero Kori Moster.

"We just wrapped up a really good spring with our returning players, and I cannot wait to add these freshmen into the mix," said George. "We've added a bit of everything - Abby [Monson] is a standout defensive player, Alyssa [Garvelink] is a talented middle who will add another dimension to our attack, Holly [Toliver] will have a great opportunity to make an impact on the outside, and Rachel is probably the most versatile - she's one of the top setters in this class, but also led her team in kills. We're very excited about their future in our program."

Abby Monson
5-5, Defensive Specialist, Burnsville, Minn. /Lakeville North
Club: Northern Lights

Prior to MSU: 2013 Prep Volleyball All-American Honorable Mention... 2013 Under Armour Watch List ... 2013 Prep Volleyball Senior Ace, 2011, 2012, 2013 Prep Volleyball Defensive Dandy ... 2010 Prep Volleyball Fab 59 Freshmen ... Attended Lakeville North High School in Lakeville, Minn., and earned five varsity letters in volleyball (made the varsity team as an 8th grader) ... AAA state champions her freshman and junior seasons, and a runner-up during her sophomore campaign ... 2010, 2011, and 2012 Section Champions ... High school team was state runner-up her sophomore year...Selected to the 2013 St. Paul Pioneer Press All-Metro Team and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune All-Metro Team in both 2012 and 2013... 2010 Minnesota Breakdown Elite 50 Underclassman (2010, 2011), 2012 Minnesota Breakdown Top Junior, and 2013 Minnesota Breakdown Preseason All-State Team ... Finished high school career with 1,510 digs, 173 service aces ,and 202 assists, while recording 528 digs in her senior season while serving as a team captain ... All-conference and All-State selection her senior year in which her team was conference champions... All-conference honorable mention her freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons ... Played club volleyball for Northern Lights and head coach Adam Beamer ... Finished third at 2010 USJO 14 Club Nationals ... National Champions at 2011 USJO, Earning All-America and All-Tournament honors in addition to being named lIbero of the Tournament ... Finished sixth at USJO nationals in 2012 and seventh in 2013 ... Fifth in AAU 17 open in 2013.



Personal: Born Jan. 5, 1996... Daughter of Kirsten and Ken Nelson ...

Head Coach Cathy George: Abby Monson is a great addition to our 2014 recruiting class. She will bring a great defensive intensity and skill to our gym. We believe she is the perfect fit to round out our team and will make an immediate impact..

Alyssa Garvelink

Alyssa Garvelink
6-3 Middle Blocker Holland, Mich. /Holland Christian
Club: Michigan Volleyball Academy

Rated No. 26 among 2014 Senior Aces ... 2014 High Honorable Mention on the Prep Volleyball All-America Team ... Michigan Miss Volleyball Finalist ... Under Armour Second Team All-American ... Three-year MIVCA All-Conference and All-Region selection at Holland Christian High School ... MIVCA All-State pick as a junior ... Helped Holland Christian to conference championships the last three seasons ... Also earned varsity letters in basketball as a sophomore and junior ... Competed for Michigan Volleyball Academy and coach Mayme Vlietstra ... Helped the team to US Junior Nationals in 2013 ...

Personal: Daughter of David and Susan Garvelink ... Has two brothers, Josh and Matt; Matt is a soccer player at Trinity Christian College ... Enjoys fishing, baking, camping, boating, and golfing ... Aspires to be an elementary school teacher.

Head Coach Cathy George: Alyssa is a phenomenal athlete who is capable of playing all three attacking positions. She attended one of our summer camps and we loved what she brought to the floor. Alyssa's competitive nature and talent help her dominate at the net both in her blocking and attacking. Her athleticism is reminiscent of former MSU All-American Val Sterk.

Rachel Minarick

Rachel Minarick
6-2 Setter Naperville, Ill. / Waubonsie Valley
Club: Sports Performance

Rated No. 22 among 2014 Senior Aces ... All-America Honorable Mention in 2013 and First Team pick in 2014 ... 2013 Volleyball Magazine "30 Underclassmen to Watch" list ... 2012 AVCA Phenom List ... Sophomore 79 Elite Honorable Mention ... A four-year varsity starter and three-year captain at Waubonsie Valley ... All-Area Player of the Year and First Team All-State pick as a senior, after she compiled an area-best 377 kills plus 452 assists, 44 aces, 157 digs and 107 blocks to help her school to its first 30-win season ... Won conference championships as a freshman and sophomore an regional championships as a freshman and a senior ... Academic All-Conference and All-Conference pick as a sophomore, junior, and senior ... Naperville Sun All-Arena selection her final three years, and was the paper's selection as Player of the Year as a senior ... Daily Herald All-Area in 2011, 2012, and 2013 ... Beacon News All-Area as a sophomore and a junior ... All-State honorable mention in 2012 ... Chicago Times All-Area First Team in 2013 ... Team MVP as a senior ... Plays club volleyball for Sports Performance and coach Rick Butler ... In 2011, finished third at the JVA World Challenge and the National Junior Classic, and ninth at AAU junior nationals in the All 15-Open Division ... Team Captain for the 16 Elite team which finished third at the JVA World Challenge and fifth at AAU Junior Nationals ... Helped 17-Open team to a fourth-place finish at the National Junior Classic ... 2012 AAU All-American ... 17 Mizuno Team Captain in 2013 ... Finished third and earned All-Tournament Team honors at the National Junior Classic ... Finished ninth at AAU Junior Nationals ... Helped the 18 Elite Team to a first-place finish at the JVA World Challenge ...

Personal: Daughter of John and Deb Minarick ... Has two older brothers, Ben and Zach ... Mother, the former Deb Hunke, was a varsity volleyball player at Nebraska-Omaha in the early 1980's ... Enjoys reading and music ... Plans to pursue a career as a physical therapist.

Head Coach Cathy George: Rachel is one of the top setting prospects in the country. Her natural skill and athletic talent stand out, and her ability to block and attack will make her a force to be reckoned with. She is a natural leader and a great teammate, and we are excited she is joining us next fall.

Holly Toliver

Holly Toliver
6-2, Outside Hitter, Berrien Springs, Mich. / Berrien Springs
Club: Dead Frog Far Out

Rated No. 31 among 2014 Senior Aces ... Michigan Miss Volleyball Finalist ... Prep Volleyball High Honorable Mention All-America Selection ... All-Conference selection all four varsity seasons at Berrien Springs ... All-Region and All-State pick as a sophomore, junior, and senior ... Helped Berrien Springs to a district title as a sophomore and junior, and a Regional championship in 2012 ... Lost to the eventual champion in the state quarterfinals in her junior season ... Standout track athlete in addition to earning four volleyball varsity letters ... Earned All-Conference honors in her freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons ... Qualified for the state track meet her last two seasons, placing fifth in the state in high jump as a junior ... Plays club for Dead Frog Far Out and coach Joe Steenhuysen ... Helped DFFO to a fifth-place finish at Nationals in 2012 ...

Personal: Daughter of Paul and Carolyn Toliver ... Has one older brother, Greg, who played baseball at Kalamazoo County Community College and now attends Purdue North Central ... Father, Paul, played basketball at Hope college for one season before eventually finishing his degree at Michigan State ... Mother, Carolyn, was a basketball and volleyball player ... Enjoys lifting and working out.

Head Coach Cathy George: Holly is a relentless competitor and very talented athlete. Her fire is contagious and will help her transition into the highly competitive Big Ten. She'll present a bit of a different look for us, as she's a lefty and she has a cannon for an arm. Holly's versatility as an attacker will prove valuable at both the right and left side attacking positions. We look forward to seeing what she'll do in Green and White.

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