EAST LANSING, Mich. -- - Michigan State head volleyball coach Cathy George has announced the 2017 schedule for the Spartan volleyball team, and fans can expect the usual challenging pre-conference slate in addition to perhaps the best collegiate volleyball in the country as part of the Spartans' Big Ten schedule.
2017 MSU Volleyball Schedule: Download PDF
MSU has 10 matches against teams that were in the RPI top 116 before Conference play begins, including NCAA Tournament teams American (Patriot League), Florida (SEC), and Texas A&M Corpus Christi (Southland). The Spartans are among nine Big Ten teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2017, and MSU has 12 Conference matches against the other eight qualifiers.
MSU hosts one pre-Conference tournament over Labor Day weekend, welcoming San Diego State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Marshall to Jenison Field House. MSU took on the Aztecs in last season's season-opening tournament in San Diego. The marquee weekend of pre-conference play for the Spartans sends MSU to Florida to take on the Gators in a rematch of last year's contest at Jenison Field House, and MSU will also take on American (the 2017 Patriot League champion) and UNC-Wilmington.
MSU plays opening weekend (Aug. 25-26) in Atlanta at Georgia Tech along with Furman and Auburn, and the final weekend of pre-Big Ten action in South Bend at Notre Dame's Shamrock Invitational (Sept. 15-16) against Central Michigan, Southern Illinois, and the host Irish.
MSU's one-plays in the Conference schedule include matches at 2017 Final Four participant Minnesota (Sept. 24), Purdue (Nov.24), and Rutgers (Oct. 14), while hosting Ohio State (Sept. 30), Illinois (Nov. 10) and Iowa (Oct.28). MSU has home-and-home series with six Big Ten teams: Wisconsin, Maryland, Nebraska, Penn State, Northwestern, and Michigan.
"We feel we've got a competitive schedule that will prepare us for the high-level grind of the Big Ten, but also looking to that preparation to serve us well when it comes to the post-season," said head coach Cathy George. "We're fortunate that we had some practice before our foreign tour as well as those four matches that allowed us to really take a look at our personnel and how some of our new roles may be established or evolve. It was a really productive time with the freshmen involved.
" No one ever has an `easy' Big Ten schedule, but we face a pretty tall task in the opening three weeks with getting Wisconsin twice, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Ohio State," noted George. " Our Conference keeps getting better, upping the level of play and the quality of the competition, night-in and night-out. So many teams have improved from last year, and taking any match lightly is not advised. We want to be ready and prepared for the task at hand, and we are excited to attack each week of our schedule."