May 27, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State has compiled the No. 6 recruiting class in the country, according to the top-30 ranking released by PrepVolleyball.com over the Memorial Day weekend. The Spartans, who also boasted a top-10 class in 2013 (No. 7), are among the four Big Ten teams which appear in the top 10.
"All along, we have been very excited about our incoming class," said head coach Cathy George. "It's nice that they, and our program, are getting the recognition. We have to take it in the proper context, though. Our real excitement lies in getting these players on campus and getting them working with our returning players and integrating them into our system.
"We had a veteran team last year, but still played our freshmen a fair amount," continued George. "Now, we will be even younger - we welcomed six newcomers last year and redshirted two of them. Our goals are bigger than being ranked in the preseason - we want to prepare, execute and perform to our capabilities to compete in what I believe is the toughest conference in the country. There are excellent teams with excellent incoming talent that promise to make the Big Ten another dogfight this season."
Alyssa Garvelink (Holland, Mich.), Rachel Minarick (Naperville, Ill.) Abby Monson (Burnsville, Minn) and Holly Toliver (Berrien Springs, Mich.) form the incoming class of freshmen for Spartan volleyball. With the addition of four PrepVolleyball.com All-America selections to the 14 returning players, the Spartans focused on adding to their physicality, skill and experience.
Minarick, a two-time AVCA All-American, is the No. 21 Senior Ace by PrepVolleyball.com and looks to make an impact as a blocker and attacker as well as run the offense with her smooth delivery as a setter. Middle-blocker Garvelink is ranked as the No. 26 Senior Ace and was a second team AVCA All American as a senior; she has the physicality and power to excel in the Big Ten Conference with a deadly one-legged attack and imposing blocking ability. Toliver, an outside hitter, is a three-time All-State selection and Detroit Athletic Club Michigan Athlete of the Year finalist who compiled 984 kills in her senior campaign alone. The No. 31 Senior Ace also possesses a devastating jump serve. On the defensive side of the ball, the Spartans added Monson, a vocal, aggressive libero who is a four-time winner of the Prep Volleyball Defensive Dandy award, a first-team All-State selection, and an Honorable Mention All-American in 2013.
Penn State compiled the No. 1 class, followed by USC, Purdue, Florida, and Washington. Michigan follows MSU at No. 7, and Oregon, Cal and Long Beach State round out the top-10. Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 have four teams in the top 10; Nebraska appears at No. 11, Northwestern (No. 18) and Minnesota (No. 19) give the Big Ten seven top-20 recruiting classes. The B1G tied its all-time best with eight teams in the NCAA tournament and a record seven advancing to the Sweet 16. Big Ten teams compiled a 23-7 record in the 2013 tournament, breaking the all-time win total for the conference of 19 set in 2010 and 2012. Penn State captured its sixth national title when it defeated Wisconsin in the National Championship match.