Volleyball Announces 2009 Season Schedule
June 19, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State volleyball program released its 2009 schedule today, which is highlighted by 15 opponents who appeared in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, and six who were ranked among the nation's top-20 in the final Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches poll. In addition, the Spartans will play host to the sixth annual MSU Showcase, which will feature Southern California, North Carolina and Albany, who all qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.
"We are very excited to start the season as we have an incredibly competitive schedule in 2009," head coach Cathy George said. "Our schedule leading up to the Big Ten is extremely challenging as we compete against five teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. That level of competition will prepare us for the rigors of volleyball in the Big Ten Conference where we will have 10 matches against tournament teams. A schedule that is as exciting as this one will make this season a challenge and something that I look forward to as coach."
The Spartans will open the regular season on Aug. 28-29 with the sixth annual MSU Showcase, which will feature three NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, including USC, who finished 2008 as the nation's No. 13 team. Also on hand at the two-day event will be Albany and North Carolina, headlining one of the most competitive MSU Showcases in recent memory. Both USC and UNC advanced to the second round of last year's tournament while Albany was ousted in the first round by Stanford.
Following the MSU Showcase, the Spartans will hit the road for three tournaments, starting with the Cleveland State Invitational on Sept. 4-5. Along with Cleveland State and MSU at the tournament will be Syracuse, a team that the Spartans swept at last year's Asics Delaware Invitational. MSU will then head to the University of Illinois-Chicago from Sept. 11-12 for the UIC Invitational. Also competing at that tournament will be Georgia State and Duquesne. The final tournament before the Spartans open Big Ten play will be hosted by Clemson University where the Spartans will clash with Clemson, Furman and Prebyterian on Sept. 18-19. Both Clemson and Furman were NCAA Tournament teams in 2008.
MSU will open Big Ten play with an Indiana road trip that will include stops at both Purdue and Indiana on Sept. 25 and 26, respectively. The Spartans will then return home after nearly a month on the road to play both Illinois and Northwestern on Oct. 2-3. The Spartans were swept by the Illini in the season series in 2008 and split with Northwestern. The Spartans will return to the road during the following weekend to play Wisconsin on Oct. 9 and Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the team's first Sunday match of the year on Oct. 11.
The Spartans will then have three-straight matches at home, starting with Ohio State on Oct. 16. The three-match home stand becomes more interesting from there as defending national champion Penn State comes to Jenison Field House on Oct. 17. Following the Penn State match, the Spartans will face arch rival Michigan in a mid-week match on Oct. 21. The Spartans split the season series with Michigan last season, highlighted by a 3-1 win over the Wolverines at the Breslin Center. The Spartans will round out the first half of Big Ten play at Minnesota on Oct. 23.
The second 10 matches of Big Ten play will begin on Halloween weekend, starting with a home match against Iowa on Oct. 30. The Spartans will then face Wisconsin the next night in a Halloween rematch between the two teams that went five sets in Madison, Wis., last season. The Spartans won that match, splitting the season series with the Badgers. MSU will then make a road trip to the state of Illinois to square off against Northwestern (Nov. 6) and Illinois (Nov. 7).
Both of Indiana's Big Ten teams will make their way to East Lansing the following weekend as MSU will face Indiana (Nov. 13) and Purdue (Nov. 14) before traveling to Ann Arbor for another mid-week match against Michigan on Nov. 18. Senior night will be held on Nov. 21 against Minnesota before the Spartans close the regular season with matches on the road at Penn State (Nov. 27) and Ohio State (Nov. 28).
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