Sept. 12, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State volleyball team wraps up the pre-conference slate with the Holiday Inn Charleston/Mt. Pleasant Invitational on Sept. 14-15 in Charleston, S.C. The Spartans will face Presbyterian on Friday, Sept. 14, and both Georgetown and College of Charleston on Sept. 15.
A Look at the Spartans
The Spartans (9-0) are coming off its third tournament title of the season after winning the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational this past weekend. Michigan State defeated IPFW, Albany and Georgia to remain undefeated on the season. The Spartans were lead by an MVP performance from junior Lauren Wicinski, her second tournament MVP of the season. Kori Moster and Amy Dentlinger were both named to the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational All-Tournament Team.
MSU held off a tough IPFW team in the first match, winning 3-2 against the Mastodons. Four different Spartans notched double-digit kills and junior Lauren Wicinski led the way with 25. Freshman Halle Peterson had 27 assists and 12 digs, claiming her first career double-double.
The Spartans swept both Georgia and Albany, 3-0, and Lauren Wicinski had 13 kills in the match against Albany and the Spartans hit .488 percent in the match. Against Georgia, Wicinski added another 15 kills and Kristen Kelsay had 25 assists in the match.
Presbyterian is 2-9 on the season and is coming off a 1-2 record at the UNF Classic. The Blue Hose defeated Davidson, 3-2, before losing to both UNF and Florida A&M, 3-0. Presbyterian is led by sophomore Rachel Hall with 3.18 kills per set and sophomore Ashtin Frank averages 10.55 assists per set.
Series History: MSU leads the series, 1-0.
Last Meeting: Michigan State defeated Presbyterian, 3-0, on Sept. 19, 2009.
Coach: Chris Belshe is in his seventh year as the head coach of the Presbyterian College volleyball program and has a career record of 67-96.
A Look at the Hoyas
Georgetown is 6-3 this season and fell to Delaware, 3-0, in its last match. The Hoyas are led offensively by sophomore Alex Johnson, whom averages 4.09 kills per set. Junior Haley Lowrance averages 11.53 assists per set and sophomore Dani White is averaging 1.31 blocks per set.
Series History: The Spartans lead the all-time series against Georgetown, 3-0.
Last Meeting: MSU defeated the Hoyas 3-0, at home on Aug. 30, 2002.
Coach: Arlisa Williams enters her seventh year as the head coach and the Hoyas have finished above .500 in two consecutive seasons, going 14-13 overall in 2011.
A Glance at College of Charleston
College of Charleston is 4-4 on the season and is coming off a 1-2 record at the Jayhawk Invitational. The Cougars defeated Wyoming, but fell to Kansas and Arizona State. Red-shirt junior Darcy Dorton, a Penn State transfer, leads College of Charleston with 4.00 kills per set and senior Emily Shelton averages 5.16 digs per set.
Series History: Michigan State has never faced the College of Charleston.
Coach: Jason Kepner enters his sixth season as head coach with an overall record of 125-44, including a 74-10 mark in Southern Conference play.
Quick Out of the Gate
Michigan State at 9-0, is off to its best start since the 2009 season when it began 12-0. The Spartans are off to the fifth best start in school history, the best being a 19-0 mark in 1975. It is the second best start during head coach Cathy George's tenure.
Matches on BTN.com
In addition to two road matches that will be aired on the Big Ten Network, MSU will also have three home matches that will air on BTN.com. The Spartans will be featured against Ohio State on Oct. 20, Minnesota on Nov. 9 and Wisconsin on Nov. 10.
Michigan State will be on the Big Ten Network on Sept. 26 at Nebraska and Oct. 5 at Wisconsin.
Freshman Making an Impact
Setter Halle Peterson had a great weekend at the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational and recorded her first career double-double with 27 kills and 12 digs in a 3-2 win over IPFW. Peterson has notched more than ten assists in seven of nine matches this season.
Fifth Different All-Tournament Honoree
Senior Amy Dentlinger and Kori Moster were both named to the All-Tournament team at the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational and Lauren Wicinski added MVP honors. Dentlinger was the fifth different Spartan to earn all-tournament honors this season, joining Kelsey Kuipers, Alexis Mathews, Kori Moster and Lauren Wicinski.
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 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 .138 against the Spartans and MSU is averaging 2.07 aces per set.
Individually, Lauren Wicinski leads the Big Ten in kills, service aces and points. Wicinski is averaging 4.67 kills per set, 0.87 service aces per set and 5.88 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.
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 leads the team in blocks this season with 30 and is fourth in the conference in hitting percentage at .460. 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.