EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State Volleyball team hosts its second home tournament of the season when it welcomes Albany, Georgia and IPFW to Jenison Field House for the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational, Sept. 7-8. The Spartans will face IPFW on Friday, Sept. 7, and both Albany and Georgia on Sept. 8. Former Spartan Kyndra Abron
will be recognized before the match against Georgia for her All-American efforts in 2009.
| 2012 Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational
|| Sept. 7-8
||East Lansing, Mich. | Jenison Field House
| Game 1
||Georgia vs. Albany
Friday, Sept. 7, 4:30 p.m. | Live Stats
| Game 2
||Michigan State vs. IPFW
Friday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m. | Live Stats
| Game 3
||IPFW vs. Georgia
Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m. | Live Stats
| Game 4
||Michigan State vs. Albany
Saturday, Sept. 8, 12 p.m. | Live Stats
| Game 5
||Albany vs. IPFW
Saturday, Sept. 8, 5:30 p.m. | Live Stats
| Game 6
||Michigan State vs. Georgia
Saturday, Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. | | Live Stats
||Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational Preview
||General Admission: $8 | Youth/Senior: $5
| Game Notes
||Michigan State | IPFW | Georgia
| Social Media
||@MichStVB | Facebook
A Look at the Spartans
The Spartans went on the road and competed in the University of Connecticut Classic last weekend and won the title, sweeping Fairfield, Dartmouth and Connecticut. Sophomore Kori Moster was named tournament MVP and also received Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors after averaging 5.8 digs per set over the weekend.
Michigan State swept Fairfield in the opening match, 3-0, on Friday, Aug. 31. Sophomore Taylor Galloway led MSU with 10 kills on the night, besting her career high.
Michigan State volleyball broke the school record for fewest points allowed in a three-set match, giving up just 35 in a 3-0 win over Dartmouth in their second match at the UConn Classic on Saturday morning. Junior Lauren Wicinski recorded a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs.
Michigan State defeated Connecticut, 3-0, in the championship match. Libero Kori Moster was named MVP of the UConn Classic and juniors Alexis Mathews and Lauren Wicinski both garnered all-tournament honors.
Kyndra Abron will have her All-American banner revealed in the Jenison Field House rafters before the match against Georgia on Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Abron became MSU's first sophomore All-America honoree when she was tabbed as an AVCA Honorable Mention selection in 2009. She is also a two-time All-Big Ten Team honoree and ended her career with 1,172 kills at Michigan State.
The Mastodons bring a five game win streak and a 6-1 record into East Lansing, IPFW's only loss on the season was to Cleveland State and they won the UIC Invitational this past weekend. Sophomore Emily Spencer leads IPFW in kills on the season with 4.91 per set. Tessa McGill, a senior libero, leads the team with 7.00 digs per set. Megan Steenhuysen tops the team in assists with 12.36 per set.
Series History: The Spartans lead the series, 1-0.
Last Meeting: Michigan State defeated IPFW on Aug. 25, 2006, 3-1, in a neutral site game.
Coach: Kelley Hartley Hutton is now entering her 14th season at the helm of the women's volleyball program at IPFW. Her 271 career wins from 1999 to 2011 makes her the winningest coach in program history.
A Look at Albany
Albany is 2-4 on the season and has faced one of the toughest schedules in the country thus far. The Great Danes have lost to No. 8 Hawai'i, No. 6 Stanford and No. 16 Minnesota early on this season. Albany has three players that average close to two kills per set in Sara Pipe, Dunja Prgomet, and Traci Vandergrift. Sofia Furlong leads the Great Danes with 7.26 assists per set.
Series History: Michigan State leads the series, 1-0.
Last Meeting: The Spartans defeated Albany, 3-0, on Aug. 29, 2009 at Jenison Field House.
Coach: MJ Engstrom is in her fourth season as head coach of Albany and led the Great Danes to their sixth America East Conference championship title last season.
How about the Bulldogs?
Georgia is 5-1 on the season and went 2-1 at the FSU Invitational last weekend. The Bulldogs took two matches from Florida International and Florida A&M before falling to eighth-ranked Florida State. Junior Elena Perri owns a team and SEC-leading 29 blocks on the season, including six solo stops.
Series History: MSU trails 0-2 in the series against Georgia.
Last Meeting: Georgia beat Michigan State, 3-1, back on Sept. 6, 1986.
Coach: Lizzy Stemke is in her second season at the helm of the Bulldogs. In her first season, Georgia went 11-19 overall and finished tied sixth in the league with a 7-13 record in the SEC.
Player of the Week Honors
Sophomore Kori Moster garnered Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors on Monday, Sept. 3. It was Moster's second defensive player of the week honor during her career and was recognized last season on Oct. 24, 2011. Moster collected MVP honors at the University of Connecticut Classic and notched 5.8 digs per set and also had seven service aces.
Junior Lauren Wicinski recorded two more double-doubles over the weekend at the UConn Classic. Wicinski had 10 kills and 11 digs against Dartmouth and 17 kills and 10 digs against Connecticut, giving her three double-doubles on the season.
Leading the Big Ten
Michigan State leads the conference in both opponent hitting percentage and service aces this season. Opponents are hitting just .111 against the Spartans and MSU is averaging 2.32 aces per set.
Individually, Lauren Wicinski leads the Big Ten in kills, service aces and points. Wicinski is averaging 4.68 kills per set, 1.11 service aces per set and 6.24 points per set.
Fewest Points Allowed
Michigan State broke the school record for fewest points allowed in a three-set match for the second time this season. At the UConn Classic, MSU gave up just 35 points in a 3-0 win over Dartmouth. The previous record of 39 was set this season against McNeese State at the Spartan Showcase on Aug. 24. MSU won by scores of 25-9, 25-17 and 25-9 vs. Dartmouth.
Before this season, the previous record was 43, set a year ago against North Florida.
Career-Highs at the Showcase
Juniors Kelsey Kuipers and Kristen Kelsay both set career-high marks at the Spartan Showcase two weekends ago. Kelsay recorded 46 assists in a 3-1 win over Youngstown State, besting her previous high of 44. Kuipers had 14 kills against Youngstown State, improving on her previous career high of 10.
Big Shoes to Fill
Michigan State lost All-Americans Jenilee Rathje and Kyndra Abron to graduation, along with Natalie Emro, Becca Zlabis and Carli Weiler. The five seniors accounted for 72 percent of the kills from a season ago and MSU will rely on a mix of young and veteran talent to fill the void.
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 second in the Big Ten in kills per set with 5.70 and is first in the conference in aces per with 1.30.
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.