Spartans Open Season at UAB/Samford Challenge
Aug. 27, 2014
Michigan State kicks off the 2014 season at the UAB/Samford Invitational, a five-team tournament which will provide each squad with four games.
This will be the first meeting all-time between MSU and each of its four opponents this weekend.
Live stats for all four matches will be available via Gametracker. The Gametracker program has undergone an upgrade, allowing smartphone and tablet users to utilize it on their mobile devices. Stat links for all four games can be found for the game at www.MSUSpartans.com.
.@MichStVb heads to Birmingham, AL for @UAB_VB / @SamfordVB Invitational. Open with @SLUAthletics at 2 p.m. Friday, play UAB in nightcap.
Spartans play @JSUGamecocks on Saturday (noon), after football teams meet Friday in East Lansing.
All four games on Gametracker; software has been upgraded, now available on cell phones & mobile devices. Follow from links at MSUSpartans.com
.@MichStVb 28-13 all-time in season-opening games, which includes a 7-2 record under current head coach Cathy George.
MSU is No. 16 in @AVCAVolleyball preseason poll, and No. 6 in @B1GVolleyball coaches pre-season survey.
2x B1G Defensive POY and All-America @koriannmoster_1 and @jazzzwhite will serve as team captains.
In the last 20 seasons, MSU is 17-3 in openers, with losses in the curtain-raiser in 1996 (to No. 4 Texas), 2007 (to No. 6 USC), and 2008 (to Oklahoma).
Michigan State appears at No. 16 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national pre-season poll. The Spartans are one of seven Big Ten teams which appear in the pre-season ranking; the Conference sent seven teams to the NCAA Sweet 16 a year ago.
Penn State (No. 1), Wisconsin (No. 6), Nebraska (No. 7) and Purdue (No. 8) are the B1G teams which start the year in the top 10, while Illinois (no. 11), Minnesota (No. 12), and the Spartans round out the Conference teams which appear in the pre-season top 25. Michigan received votes in the poll, while MSU non-conference opponents North Carolina and Duke check in at No. 20 and 21, respectively, and Oregon just missed the top 25 as the top team receiving votes.
Michigan State was selected sixth in the Big Ten preseason volleyball poll. Defending NCAA and Big Ten Champion Penn State was chosen as the conference favorite after claiming its sixth national title last season. The poll is formulated by a vote of the conference's 14 head coaches.
For the the second straight year, Cathy George and her staff have brought in a top-seven recruiting class. The 2013 class was ranked No. 7 by PrepVolleyball.com, and the 2014 edition is No. 6.
MSU will play 11 non-conference games, and starts its home slate next wekeend when it hosts Duke and North Carolina (both of which went 27-4 last year) in Big Ten-ACC Challenge games. The Spartans then travel to the west coast to play Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge games at Oregon and Oregon State. The Spartans will close the pre-Big Ten portion of the schedule with the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational, which will bring 2014 NCAA qualifiers LIU-Brooklyn and UW-Milwaukee to Jenison Field House, along with Western Kentucky, which went 27-6 in 2013 but was upset in the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament. In all, eight of MSU's 11 non-conference opponents won 18 games or more in 2014, and combined for a 63.1% winning percentage.
MSU made its 16th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013, and earned its third consecutive at-large bid to the Championship. The 2003 team was the last one to make it to three consecutive tournaments; MSU made 10 consecutive NCAA Tournament fields from 1994-2003, and made its sixth appearance in the nine-year tenure of head coach Cathy George.
The 2013 Spartans made the program's third consecutive NCAA appearance, and MSU's sixth trip to the Sweet 16 in program history (and third under Coach George.)
Seven Big Ten Conference teams advanced to the Round of 16 in 2013, more than twice the number of any other conference (the Pac-12 had three) and the most of any conference in the history of the NCAA Volleyball tournament. The B1G was guaranteed a National Champion when Penn State and Wisconsin faced off in the final, with the Nittany Lions winning 3-1.
The Spartans finished the 2013 regular season with a 21-11 overall record, and were 10-10 in the Big Ten Conference for a seventh-place finish.
MSU lost four seniors to graduation - setter Kristen Kelsay, middle blockers Kelsey Kuipers and Alexis Mathews, and outside hitter Lauren Wicinski. The class compiled 85 victories over four seasons, matching the most wins for a senior class since 2000, and the most in the Cathy George regime.
MSU went 6-9 against ranked teams in 2013, with four of the losses coming to NCAA finalists Penn State and Wisconsin.
MSU went 11-1 in the pre-Big Ten portion of its schedule in 2013. MSU is 23-1 over the last two non-conference seasons, and owns 18 consecutive non-conference wins on its home floor.
MSU shattered its home attendance record in 2013, with 43,368 fans over 15 home matches. MSU brought nearly 10,000 more fans to Jenison Field House last year than it had in 2012. The 43,368 was 11th nationally in 2013; its average of 2,891 per game was also 11th. MSU's crowd of 6,183 for the Michigan match on Oct. 23 set an attendance record for the volleyball program at Jenison Field House.
The Big Ten coaches selected a pre-season all-conference team, and senior libero Kori Moster was one of six unanimous selections among the 15 players selected to the 2014 preseason squad. The two-time defending Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and two-time All-American captains the Spartans this season for the third year in a row.
The Spartans will be led in 2014 by two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and All-America selection Moster, who toured China as part of the USA Volleyball US Collegiate Team back in June. The team features three other seniors: MB/OH White, OH Taylor Galloway, and DS Ryian Hubbard. In addition, sophomore Chloe Reinig was a Big Ten All-Freshman selection, and Allyssah Fitterer made the NCAA All-Regional Team.
Moster is the only player in program history to be named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and she has now done it in back-to-back seasons. She led the Big Ten in 2013 in digs per set (4.70), her career-best average and good for third in the MSU single-season recordbook.
Moster became MSU's all-time digs leader on Nov. 8, 2013 vs. Northwestern. She surpassed Veronica Morales, who held the school record since 1997 (1,484). Moster currently boasts 1,668 career digs, which ranks 14th all-time in the Big Ten.
Moster ranks among the top 10 active NCAA players in career digs (1,668). Moster recorded 602 digs in 2012, good for second in MSU's single-season record book, and her 2013 total of 592 ranks third. Moster's 474 digs as a freshman was sixth in a single season in school history.
Sophomore Allyssah Fitterer was named to the All-Regional Team in Lexington last December, which capped an impressive freshman season where she averaged 1.88 kills, 0.74 blocks, and 0.47 digs per set. She played in all 35 matches for MSU, appearing in 120 of a possible 126 sets - the most of any non-senior, and the sixth-most for any freshman in program history.
Fitterer hit .278 in 2013, good for third on the team, while ranking second in blocks, third in points, and fourth in kills. She recorded 82 blocks assists and 88 total blocks, good for sixth and ninth, respectively, in the MSU freshman record book
Fitterer set an MSU record when she hit .786 (12-1-14) at Northwestern on Nov. 8, 2013. The previous four-set record in the MSU record book was .708 (17-0-24) by Cheryl Histed against Eastern Michigan in November 1983.
Fitterer hit a team-best .387 in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 3.87 kills, 0.64 digs and 0.45 blocks per set in the post-season.
Chloe Reinig was named to the 2013 Big Ten All-Freshman team, giving MSU an All-Freshman Team selection in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history - Halle Peterson was selected in 2012.
Reinig finished her first collegiate season ranked second on the team with 2.60 kills per set and was tied for third in blocks with 0.69 per set. Her kills per set ranked eighth all-time in MSU's freshman record book, while her attempts per set (6.6) was tenth.
MSU welcomes four newcomers, a freshman class ranked No. 6 in the country by PrepVolleyball.com. Alyssa Garvelink, Rachel Minarick, Abby Monson, and Holly Toliver form the incoming class; Minarick, a two-time AVCA All-American, is the No. 21 Senior Ace by PrepVolleyball.com and last summer was the MVP at club nationals where she led Sports Performance to a National Championship. Minarick (No. 22), Garvelink (No. 26), and Toliver (No. 31) appeared in the rankings by PrepVolleyball.com of the nation's top seniors, while Monson was an Honorable Mention.
GREEN & WHITE NOTES
The Green team rallied from a deficit of as many as seven points in the third set and earned a 2-1 victory over the White team. Green won the opening set by a commanding 25-12 advantage, and White turned the tables with a 25-23 win in set two. In the third and final set, the White team jumped out to a 9-2 lead, built it to 17-11 before the Green team fought back with a 5-0 run to cut it to a one-point game. In all, the Green team had a 10-point run to erase a significant deficit and scored 14 of the final 15 points of the set to take a 25-18 win in the final frame to earn a 2-1 match victory.
Ryian Hubbard had four service aces .
Allyssah Fitterer led all hitters (.261), and had four kills in each of the first two sets, and had two in the third to finish the match with 10 kills and five blocks.
Freshman Holly Toliver led all scorers with 11 kills on 41 swings, and added six digs, a service ace, and one block.
Freshman setter Rachel Minarick had 25 assists, five digs, and two service aces.
For the White team, Taylor Galloway had four of her six kills in the second set, adding nine digs.
Redshirt freshman Brooke Kranda had six kills, two blocks, and two digs,
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