June 19, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State volleyball program released its 2013 schedule today, as announced by head coach Cathy George. The Spartans, coming off a trip to the NCAA Regional Semifinal, will face eight teams that appeared in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, including three of the National Semifinal teams. In all 24 of their 32 matches will be against teams that posted winning records last season.
"Although this year's schedule is once again challenging, it is providing us great opportunities to play against the best to become the best," said George. "This schedule features 13 teams that advanced to postseason play just a year ago. Adding a two-year series with Pac-12 opponents Oregon, who was last year's national runner-up, and Oregon State, will give us an early idea of our strengths and weaknesses while preparing us for our rigorous Big Ten schedule."
Fans will get their first chance to see the 2013 Spartans on Sat., Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. for the Green and White Match at Jenison Field House. Admission is free.
The 2013 season gets underway on the road, as Michigan State heads to Blacksburg, Va., for the Hokie Invitational on Aug. 30-31. The Spartans open with St. Francis (Pa.) on Friday at 10:30 a.m., before facing Towson at 5 p.m. The Tigers went 25-4 last season and won the Colonial Athletic Association's regular season title. On Saturday, MSU faces Pacific, who went 20-11 in 2012, at 2:30 p.m. and tournament host Virginia Tech at 7 p.m.
The home schedule begins in grand fashion, as the Spartans welcome national runner-up Oregon to Jenison Field House on Fri., Sept. 6. The Ducks ended the year No. 2 in the AVCA poll and posted a 30-5 record. The next day, Michigan State will host Oregon State. It will be the Spartans' first meeting with both programs.
The following weekend, Michigan State will take part in the Butler Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind. On Sept. 13, the Spartans face IPFW at 2 p.m. The Mastodons, who went 25-7 last year, advanced to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Summit League Tournament. The tournament concludes with matches against Illinois State at 11 a.m. and Butler at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14.
Michigan State will host the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational on Sept. 20-21. On Friday, the Spartans open with Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m., and conclude with Duquesne at 12 p.m. and Cincinnati at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
The Big Ten Conference schedule begins on the road for the Spartans, traveling to Penn State on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. and Ohio State on Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten last season at 19-1, while advancing to the NCAA National Semifinals and posting a 33-3 overall record. The Buckeyes were fourth in the conference at 13-7 and finished No. 22 in the final AVCA poll after reaching the NCAA Tournament second round.
Michigan State returns for a four-match home stand, beginning with Illinois on Oct. 4 and Northwestern on Oct. 5. The next weekend, Iowa comes in on Oct. 11, before Nebraska visits on Oct. 12. The Huskers advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals last season, going 26-7 overall and 15-5 in the Big Ten to tie for second. Nebraska finished the year No. 7 in the AVCA poll.
The Spartans will face another NCAA Regional Finalist team in Minnesota on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. ET in Minneapolis. The Gophers tied the Huskers for second in the conference at 15-5 and were eighth in the final AVCA poll at 27-8 overall. The road trip continues with an Oct. 20 contest at Wisconsin, set for 2 p.m. ET.
Another four-match home stand follows for the Spartans. MSU hosts in-state rival Michigan on Wed., Oct. 23 to begin the stretch. The Wolverines advanced to the NCAA National Semifinals and finished the year fifth in the AVCA poll with a 27-12 record, after tying MSU for sixth at 11-9 in the league.
Indiana comes to Jenison Field House on Oct. 26 for the lone meeting of the season between the two schools. The next weekend, Ohio State visits on Nov. 1 and Penn State comes to town on Nov. 2.
The next four matches will be on the road for the Spartans with trips to Northwestern (Nov. 8, 8 p.m. ET), Illinois (Nov. 9), Nebraska (Nov. 15, 8 p.m. ET) and Iowa (Nov. 16, 8 p.m. ET).
The final home matches for the 2013 senior class will be on Nov. 22 and 23, as Michigan State hosts Wisconsin and Minnesota, respectively.
A return trip to Ann Arbor will occur on Wed., Nov. 27 at 7 p.m., before the season-ending match at Purdue on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. It will be the only meeting between MSU and Purdue this season. Last year the Boilermakers advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals and went 23-11 to finish No. 15 in the final AVCA poll.
The Spartans return six of their seven starters off last year's team that went 25-10 overall and advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinal for the first time since 2007. MSU tied for sixth in the Big Ten with an 11-9 mark. Included in the returners are two All-Americans - senior Lauren Wicinski and junior Kori Moster. Wicinski was a second team selection, while Moster, who was also named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, was an honorable mention choice.
Spartan volleyball season and single-game tickets go on sale on July 1. Tickets can be purchased at MSUSpartans.com or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-GO STATE or 517-355-1610.