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Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational On Tap for MSU Volleyball

2017 Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational
Dates/Times    Fri.-Sat., Sept. 1-2
Tournament Schedule    Tournament Central
Location    East Lansing, Mich.; Jenison Field House
Tickets    Purchase Tickets
   Family Four Pack (Fri. Only) | Four Seats, Four Treats Package (Sat. Only)
Live Statistics   Tournament Central
Live Video Streams    Tournament Central
Radio Broadcast    Spartan Sports Network    John Kreger, pxp
   Download the SSN App
Download Game Notes    Michigan State | Marshall | Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Weekly Press Conference    Watch
Promotions    FRIDAY/SATURDAY: Camper Appreciation Weekend (Free admission for kids wearing their camp t-shirt)
   SATURDAY: Free Admission with football vs. BGSU ticket stub
Social Media    @MichStVB   |  Facebook


  • Michigan State opens the home portion of its schedule with the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational this weekend. MSU hosts San Diego State, Marshall, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

  • Gametracker will have live statistics for all six matches, and there will be a video webstream for all six matches in the tournament as well. A complete schedule of games, live stats and video stream links, and more can be found at the tournament website.

  • All six matches will have a live video webstream via BTN2Go.

  • With several home events on campus both Friday and Saturday, fans attending any of the six matches are asked to visit the tournament website to learn about parking lots available and traffic flow.


    • MSU went 2-1 last weekend in its opening action, sweeping both Furman and Auburn before falling to host Georgia Tech (3-1) on Saturday evening. MSU still came away with the Hyatt Regency Invitational title, its fourth pre-Big Ten tournament title in the last five tries.

    • MSU opened the 2017 campaign at No. 17 in the AVCA national poll, and fell to No. 23 after a 2-1 opening weekend. The Big Ten coaches selected MSU fourth in the pre-season B1G survey.

    • The Spartans were one of the top serving teams in the nation in 2016, and that has carried over into the current season. The Spartans lead the Big Ten and rank third nationally in service aces per set (2.70). MSU is ninth nationally with 27 aces through three matches.
       A year ago, Spartans delivered 223 service aces, good for third nationally and fifth in the Big Ten. MSU also ranked fourth with 1.91 aces per set, good for sixth in the B1G.

    • MSU is fourth in the Big Ten and 15th nationally, holding opponents to a 0.096 hitting percentage. Georgia Tech hit .176 in its win over MSU, the high for the three opponents last weekend.

    • The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten in blocks, with 2.90 per set. Illinois leads the pack with 4.2 blocks per frame.
       MSU ranked 40th in the nation in blocks per set a year ago, averaging 2.48 per frame (good for 7th in the Big Ten).

    • The Spartan senior class was the No. 6 recruiting class in the country back in 2014, while the current freshman class was ranked No. 9 this past summer by PrepVolleyball.

    • Head Coach Cathy George enters her 13th season at Michigan State and 31st overall with a 597-389 overall mark and is 232-163 while at MSU. She ranks 22nd among active coaches for total wins in NCAA Division I volleyball.

    • George needs one wins to hit the 600-victory plateau, and 16 to become the all-time winningest coach in Spartan history. Annelies Knoppers won 250 games from 1974-84, and Chuck Erbe was 244-140 in his 12-year tenure (1993-2004). George is 234-164 at MSU.

    • MSU's victory over Furman was the 800th in program history. The Spartans are 801-693-18 (.536) in their 44th season of varsity action.

    • Michigan State shattered single-game and a pair of single-season attendance records last season. MSU had a program best 6,838 fans for Jam Jenison on Nov. 12 vs. Michigan, and ranked sixth in the country in both total attendance (53,895) and average attendance (2,994), both program bests. Before the 2017 pre-season camp began, MSU had established a new program mark with more than 1,000 season tickets sold.

    • The Spartans are one of just three Big Ten programs to finish .500 or better in Big Ten play over the last six seasons -- Penn State and Nebraska are the other two.

    • The Big Ten again promises to be the pacesetter in Division I volleyball this season, despite losing the most 2016 All-Americans (9) to graduation of any conference in the country. The Big Ten returns 17 2016 All-Americans, six more than the Big 12 (11) and seven more than the Pac-12 and SEC (10 each).

    • The Spartans are coming off their 19th overall NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016, and earned their sixth consecutive first round victory in the tournament -- the longest streak in school history.

    • The Green and White owned 18 three-set victories in 34 matches last season. The Spartans went 18-6 in three-set matches overall, 5-0 in four-setters, and were 2-3 in their five-set affairs.

    • The Spartans did a 10-day foreign tour of Italy and Slovenia May 25-June 3. Four of MSU's incoming freshmen enrolled early and were able to participate in the trip, giving MSU both two weeks of practice in advance of the trip and some high-level competition to prepare for the 2017 season.


    • The Spartans return three AVCA All-America selections: Seniors Alyssa Garvelink (Second Team, 2016), Autumn Bailey (Honorable Mention, 2013, 2014, 2016), and Rachel Minarick (Honorable Mention, 2014).

    • In all three matches last weekend, the Spartans went with an all-senior starting lineup: OH's Autumn Bailey, Brooke Kranda, and Holly Toliver, MB's Alyssa Garvelink and Megan Tompkins, setter Rachel Minarick, and libero Abby Monson.

    • Garvelink was named the Hyatt Regency Invitational MVP, averaging 3.10 kills and 2.20 blocks per set on the weekend.

    • Garvelink was a Second-team All-American in 2016, and is likely to graduate as one of MSU's top blockers in school history. She currently ranks sixth all time in block assists (382) and eighth in total blocks (428); her 1.20 blocks per set career average is fifth in school history.

    • Garvelink currently ranks second both nationally and in the B1G in blocks per set (2.20), and is 17th among NCAA Division I athletes with 22 total blocks (three behind Big Ten leader Ali Bastianelli of Illinois).

    • In 2016, Garvelink ranked second in the Big Ten with 1.40 blocks per set, good for seventh all-time in a single season at MSU. Her 145 block assists and 160 total blocks, rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in the MSU single-season record book. She also ranked seventh in the B1G with a .359 hitting percentage in 2016, which is seventh in a single season in the MSU annals.

    • Joining Garvelink on the All-Tournament team was Rachel Minarick, who averaged 9.8 assists, 1.0 aces, and 1.9 digs per set over the three matches. She tied her career best with four aces against Furman.

    • Minarick is currently sixth all-time at MSU with 3.505 career assists. She needs 237 to move past fifth-place Natalie Emro (3,742, 2008-11), and 268 to catapult into third place all-time - Courtney DeBolt had 3,773 (1992-95).

    • A 2016 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection, Minarick led the Spartans and was eighth in the Big Ten with 10.34 assists per set last year. She also ranked fourth in the Big Ten (and third on the team) with 0.33 service aces per set. She ranks 10th in assists (9.8/s) in the Big Ten through the first weekend of play, and is first in the B1G and fourth nationally in service aces (1.0/s).

    Autumn Bailey earned Honorable Mention All-America honors for the third time in her career last December. After missing the 2015 season with an ACL tear, Bailey returned to the court to earn Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors. She is third on the team, averaging 2.67 kills per set and adding 3.56 digs per frame.

    • Freshman Meredith Norris made an impressive debut in Atlanta, averaging 2.0 kills, hitting .474, and added 0.60 blocks and 2.40 digs per set in five sets.

    Brooke Kranda averaged 1.9 kills and 0.9 blocks per set in the opening weekend at Georgia Tech. She was a part of the Big Ten foreign tour this past summer, and is poised for a strong senior season. The fifth-year OH/RS led MSU in 2016 with 49 service aces, averaging 0.56 per set (good for the top spot in the B1G and sixth nationally). She contributed 2.12 kills per set and 0.62 blocks per frame.

    Holly Toliver ranks second on the team with 2.89 kills per set, and also averaged 0.78 aces per set over the first three matches - good for second in the Big Ten and 11th nationally. Last year, She ranked second in the B1G in aces per set (0.36) while averaging 1.95 digs per frame, good for third on the team. Toliver averaged 2.56 digs and 0.67 blocks per set. Her four blocks against Auburn tied her career best.

    Abby Monson started all 34 matches at libero a year ago, and averaged a team-best 3.47 digs per set, good 11th in the Big Ten. She averaged 4.7 digs per set on the weekend at Georgia Tech, and currently ranks second in the Big Ten in that category.

    • Three 2017 Senior Aces are among the five freshmen on MSU's 2017 roster. Alyssa Chronowski (No. 30), Jamye Cox (No. 40), and Meredith Norris (No. 25) all enrolled at MSU in January and already have a semester of college courses under their belts. Julia Hatcher and Bella Legarza round out the Spartan newcomers. In addition, redshirt freshman Lauren Swartz will see her first collegiate action this fall after redshirting a year ago and earning the team's Most Improved Award.

    • MSU has two 2017 graduates who are pursuing their graduate degrees at other universities and playing beach volleyball during their fifth year of collegiate eligibility: Allyssah Fitterer will play at Hawaii, and Chloe Reinig will play this spring at Loyola-Marymount in Los Angeles.

    • MSU heads to Gainesville for the Active Ankle Challenge next weekend, and will take on American University, UNC-Greensboro, and the host No. 3 Florida Gators.



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