Volleyball Opens 2008 Season with Annual Green & White
Aug. 22, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State volleyball team will host the annual Green & White game on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 4 p.m. (ET) at Jenison Field House. Fans will be able to get their first look at a young and talented roster as the Spartans will participate in a simulated game in front of fans as they prepare for the season opening tournament next weekend at Oklahoma.
"I think that you are going to see some exciting players," said heac coach Cathy George. "You are going to see some exciting futures. You're going to know that there is a lot of potential, and yet you will see that we are not perfect. You will see some areas that still need work. It helps us put them in front of fans, get out some of that nervous energy so when we get to Oklahoma, it will feel like we will have been in a match."
The Spartans enter the season receiving votes the AVCA/CBS preseason poll. With a total of 80 votes, the Spartans currently rank 30th and are one of seven Big Ten teams in the poll. One of the main reasons for the ranking is the Spartans talented youth. Aside from returning sophomore outside hitter Jenilee Rathje (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), the Spartans bring in the seventh-best recruiting class in the nation. Not only will the Green & White game serve as a tune up for the Spartans, but it will give these talented youngsters their first experience playing in front of fans at the collegiate level.
Also returning for MSU will be junior middle blocker Vanessa King (Spring Lake, Mich.) and the Spartans lone senior Heather McDaniel (Madison Heights, Mich.). Each played a key role in the Spartans run through the NCAA Tournament last year and are hoping for similar results in 2008.
Other returning letterwinners include junior middle blocker Mischelle Nelson (Naperville, Ill.), sophomore defensive specialist Allyson Karaba (Muskegon, Mich.), sophomore Megan Schatzle (Monroe, Mich.) and redshirt freshman Vineece Verdun (Spring Lake, Mich.). That group, combined with the freshman class will provide plenty of excitement on the court this season.
"We lost four really good seniors but we have a really good recruiting class coming in this year," Nelson said. "We have been working hard in two-a-days and it is interesting in the preseason because we started to pull things together earlier, like playing six-on-six right away. So we are really excited to see what's going to happen this season."
The Green & White game will also mark the beginning of the final week of practice before the regular season begins. Next weekend, the Spartans will travel to Norman, Okla. to take part in the Nike Hilton Sooner Invitational, hosted by Oklahoma. No. 10 Cal Poly will be on hand along with Oklahoma and Wichita State rounding out the field. Both OU and WSU also received votes in the AVCA/CBS preseason poll, giving the Spartans an early tough test.
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