Aug. 23, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State volleyball team begins the 2012 season with the annual Spartan Showcase at Jenison Field House. The Spartans open the season on Friday, Aug. 24, against McNeese State, at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Michigan State will face Youngstown State at 12 p.m., and Eastern Kentucky at 7:30 p.m. Michigan State has won the Spartan Showcase in eight consecutive seasons.
| 2012 Spartan Showcase
|| Aug. 24-25
||East Lansing, Mich. | Jenison Field House
| Game 1
||Youngstown State vs. Eastern Kentucky
Friday, Aug. 24, 4:30 p.m. | Live Stats
| Game 2
||Michigan State vs. McNeese State
Friday, Aug. 24, 7 p.m. | Live Stats
| Game 3
||Eastern Kentucky vs. McNeese State
Saturday, Aug. 25, 10 a.m. | Live Stats
| Game 4
||Michigan State vs. Youngstown State
Saturday, Aug. 25, 12 p.m. | Live Stats
| Game 5
||McNeese State vs. Youngstown State
Saturday, Aug. 25, 5:30 p.m. | Live Stats
| Game 6
||Michigan State vs. Eastern Kentucky
Saturday, Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m. | | Live Stats
||2012 Season Preview
||General Admission: $8 | Youth/Senior: $5
| Game Notes
| Social Media
||@MichStVB | Facebook
Scouting Michigan State
Despite graduating five seniors from last season, including All-American Jenilee Rathje, the Michigan State Spartans and head coach Cathy George are poised to build on a second round NCAA Tournament finish a season ago with strong leadership and a cohesive mix of young and veteran players.
Junior Kristen Kelsay and sophomore Kori Moster will be relied on to fill the leadership void and both were voted as captains by their teammates over the spring. The Spartans advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season after beating Arizona, 3-1, before falling to No. 5 Texas, 3-0. MSU will rely on 11 returning letter winners, four incoming freshman and one transfer to make the trip back to the NCAA Tournament.
Scouting McNeese State
McNeese State will be young in 2012, the Cowgirls have only one senior on the roster, two juniors, three sophomore and eight freshmen. McNeese State finished 10-20 last season in the Southland Conference. The Cowgirls led the Southland in digs with 16.69 per set and senior Whitney Ellisor led the team with 3.71 digs per set.
Series History: MSU leads the series, 1-0.
Last Meeting: The Spartans defeated McNeese State 3-0 on Sept. 16, 1989.
Coach: The Cowgirls are coached by Terry Gamble, whom is in his third season at the helm. He boasts a career record of 775-195 after spending 15 seasons in the junior college ranks. He is 24-38 at McNeese State.
Scouting Youngstown State
The Penguins went 5-24 last season and welcome in first year head coach Mark Hardaway to head the rebuilding process. Youngstown State is led by junior captains Casey D'Ambrose and Missy Hundelt, both who started more than 20 matches last season. Hundelt led the conference in aces per set and ranked third in kills per set last season.
Series History: The 2012 match will be the first meeting between Michigan State and Youngstown State.
Coach: Mark Hardaway is in his first season at the helm of the Penguins and most recently was an assistant coach at Bowling Green.
Scouting Eastern Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky finished 14-18 a season ago and six starters and nine letter winners. Junior Ashley Edmond returns after being selected to the all-conference team last year and won the OVC Freshman of the Year award two seasons ago. Edmond led the team in kills with 404 and was second on the team with 51 blocks.
Series History: Michigan State leads the series, 7-4.
Last Meeting: The Spartans defeated Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 4, 1999, 3-0.
Coach: Lori Duncan is in her 15th year as head coach at Eastern Kentucky. She is 112-131 while coaching the Colonel and captured a share of consecutive regular season titles in 2004 and 2005.
Green vs. White Game
Michigan State hosted the annual Green and White game on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Jenison Field House. Co-captains Kristen Kelsay and Kori Moster drafted the teams for the game, the second straight season in this format. Team Kori and the Green came away with a 3-1 win over Team Kristen and the White. Junior transfer Lauren Wicinski led all players with 20 kills on the night.
Pre-Season All-Conference Honors
Junior middle blocker Alexis Mathews was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team announced by the conference on Thursday, Aug. 16.
Mathews is the fourth Spartan in as many seasons to be named to the preseason All-Big Ten team. She led the team in blocks last season with 155 and was fourth in the conference. Currently, she is second all-time at Michigan State in career blocks per set with 1.27.
All-American on the Outside
The Spartans welcome Lauren Wicinski, an outside hitter and transfer from Northern Illinois. She was a two-time All-American for the Huskies and became the first two-time All-American in MAC history. She was also a two-time MAC Player of the Year and led the nation in points (6.18) and kills (5.34) per set, and was third in aces (0.57) last season. She is currently a junior and is eligible to play immediately at Michigan State.
National A2 Program
Michigan State was well represented once again at the
Women's Volleyball National A2 Program. Amy Dentlinger, Alexis Mathews and Lauren Wicinski were each selected to participate.
Wicinski earned a silver medal, competing for the USA Gold team, which lost 3-0 to USA White in the championship match. Wicinski was second on the team with eight kills on 22 attempts in the final match.
It was the second straight season in which three Spartans were invited to the A2 program. Last year, Mathews was joined by Jenilee Rathje and Carli Weiler.
Recapping Last Season
Made it back to the NCAA Tournament and defeated Arizona, before falling to No. 5 Texas in the second round.
Jenilee Rathje was named a Third-Team AVCA All-American and was named to the AVCA All-Mideast Region Team. She was also honored as a Second Team Academic All-American.
Alexis Mathews was named to the COBRA Magazine Midwest All-Region First Team and was fourth in the Big Ten in blocks per set with 1.27.
Kyndra Abron was selected to the All-Big Ten Teams as an honorable mention and was also selected to the COBRA Magazine All-Region First Team.
Jenilee Rathje received multiple Big Ten accolades, as she was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection, a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and an Academic All-Big Ten honoree, both for the third-straight season.
MSU retained the "State Pride Flag" for the second consecutive season on points scored in the season series, 181-179, after splitting the regular season sets won. It is the first time MSU has held the flag in back-to-back seasons since 2000-01.
Jenilee Rathje became the MSU career leader in both matches and sets played. She also is eighth all-time in kills with 1,486.
The Spartans had two members of the volleyball program earn Big Ten Distinguished Scholars recognition, as both Kristen Kelsay and Becca were recipients in 2011.
Seven members of the 2011 team earned Academic All-Big Ten honors from the conference, the most in head coach Cathy George's tenure.
Kori Moster was the lone Spartan to earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors when she received the honor for her defensive efforts the week of Oct. 24.
MSU upset No. 7 Illinois on Nov. 18, 2011, 3-1 in front of one of the largest home crowds of the season. The senior class came up huge and four individuals tallied double digit kills including Jenilee Rathje, Kyndra Abron and Natalie Emro.
Kori Moster was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on three separate occasions by the conference on both Sept. 26, Oct. 24, Nov. 21.
Natalie Emro finished her career ranked fifth all-time in program history with 3,742 career assists.