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MSU Returns to Action at Notre Dame Shamrock Invitational

Sept. 13, 2017

Shamrock Invitational at Notre Dame
Dates/TimesFri.-Sat., Sept. 15-16
ScheduleTournament Central
LocationSouth Bend, Ind.; Purcell Pavilion
TicketsNotre Dame Ticket Office
Live Statisticsvs. Notre Dame (Friday, 7 pm)
vs. Central Michigan (Saturday, 10 am)
vs. Southern Illinois (Saturday, 4:30 pm)
Cathy George Weekly Press ConferenceWatch
Social Media@MichStVB Twitter Icon | Facebook Facebook Icon


  • Michigan State heads to South Bend, Indiana to particpate in Notre Dame's Shamrock Invitational. The Spartans will be joined by the host Irish, Central Michigan, and Southern Illinois in the two-day event.

  • Live statistics for all Spartan matches will be available via Gametracker, and MSU's Friday evening match against the host Fighting Irish will air on ACCNetwork Extra. All live stats and video webstream links are available on, and also on Notre Dame's Tournament Central


  • MSU has not had a match in more than a week, as all three matches at the Active Ankle Challenge in Gainesville (Sept. 8-9) were wiped out due to Hurricane Irma. This cost MSU three matches: vs. American, UNC-Greensboro, and most notably, No. 2 Florida.

  • MSU's last action was its home tournament Sept. 1-2, where it swept all three opponents (San Diego State, Marshall, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) to claim the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational.

  • Notre Dame had its schedule altered by Irma as well, as it instead played a home-and-home with No. 24 Ohio State, each team winning in its home gym. The Irish's 3-1 Sunday win was Notre Dame's first over a ranked opponent since 2012.

  • Currently at 7-1, the Irish are undefeated at home (4-0) with their only loss coming to the Buckeyes. Jenna Yeadon leads the way with 3.96 kills per set, while Meg Morningstar (1.32 blocks/set) and Sam Fry (1.21) give the Irish a one-two punch at the net.

  • The Spartans own a 8-4 record in the all-time series, most recently winning a 3-0 decision last year at the Spartan Classic.

  • Central Michigan is under the tutelage of second-year coach Mike Gawlik, who previously spent 11 years on Cathy George's staff at MSU before moving on to his first head coaching position.

  • Gawlik has his Chippewas at 7-2 through three weeks of action, led by senior Jordan Bueter who averages 4.91 kills per set and is hiting .253. Taylor Robinson (2.36), Lyza Myers (2.29) and Paige Carey (2.12) are all averaging better than two kills per set, and Megan Kern is chipping in 4.29 digs per frame.

  • MSU trails the all-time series vs. CMU, 20-29-2. All but the last three meetings came prior to 1998; the Spartans have won five straight in the series and dropped only one set in that stretch. The Spartans downed CMU in last year's Spartan Invitational, 3-0.

  • Saturday will be the fourth all-time meeting with Southern Illinois, a team the Spartans defeated 3-0 last September in the first meeting since 1980.

  • The Salukis are 0-7 on the season, and earned their first win of the season against Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday. Under the tutelage of first-year head coach Kari Thompson. Andrea Estrada is averaging 2.75 kills and 2.79 digs per set, while Maggie Nedoma is hitting .300 with 2.59 kills per frame.

  • MSU dropped two spots to No. 23 in the AVCA poll this week after a week without any matches. MSU opened the 2017 campaign at No. 17 in the AVCA national poll.

  • 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 both the Big Ten and Division I volleyball in service aces per set (2.37).

  • MSU is holding opponents to a .103 hitting percentage, which ranks first in the Big Ten and third nationally. Corpus Christi hit .211 in MSU's most recent match - the high for the six opponents MSU has faced.

  • The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten (and 20th nationally) in blocks, with 2.84 per set. Illinois leads the B1G with 3.44 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.

  • Cathy George celebrated her 600th career victory with the 3-0 sweep of San Diego State (Sept. 1), and needs 13 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 237-164 at MSU.

  • George becomes the third Big Ten head coach to amass 600 wins, along with Penn State's Russ Rose (1,218) and Wisconsin's John Cook (632). She ranks 22nd among active coaches in coaching victories.

  • All five of MSU's victories this season have come by 3-0 scores. 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 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).

  • 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 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 five of six matches this season, the Spartans have gone 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. In the game vs. Corpus Christi, sophomore setter Maggie Midgette got the nod, helping MSU to it's first .400 hitting performance as a team and dishing out a career-best 38 assists in a 3-0 sweep of the Islanders.

  • Brooke Kranda was named Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational MVP, hitting .439 and averaging 3.33 kills, 1.22 blocks, and 0.78 assists per set on the weekend. Joining her on the All-Tournament team was Autumn Bailey, who averaged 3.22 kills, 3.11 digs, and 0.44 blocks per set without a hitting error on the weekend, hitting .433. Alyssa Garvelink made her second straight All-Tournament Team appearance, averaging 1.56 blocks and 2.33 kills per set with a .548 hitting percentage.

  • Kranda is one of four Spartans who average between 2.58 and 2.94 kills per frame. The Westfield, Ind. native is hitting .330 on the season (second on the team), and averaging 2.58 kills, 0.47 aces, and 1.05 blocks per set. The fifth-year OH/RS led MSU in 2016 with 49 service aces, (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.

  • Garvelink has two straight All-Tournament Team selections to her credit this season, as she was also named the Hyatt Regency Invitational at Georgia Tech MVP.

  • 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 in both block assists (396) and total blocks (442); her 1.20 blocks per set career average is fifth in school history.

  • Garvelink currently ranks second both nationally in the B1G in blocks per set (1.89).

  • Autumn Bailey had a weekend of near-perfect volleyball - she had 29 kills on 67 swings with no hitting errors, and averaged 3.22 kills, 3.11 digs, 0.44 blocks, and 0.56 assists per set while adding at least eight digs in every match, with a weekend-high 12 vs. Marshall. In the finale, she led MSU with 16 kills on 29 swings (no errors).

  • Bailey currently leads the Spartans with 2.94 kills per frame, is hitting .285, and is averaging 3.33 digs and 0.33 aces per set. She ranks 11th in the Big Ten in digs per set.

  • Rachel Minarick averages 9.91 assists (10th, B1G), 0.75 aces (first, B1G), and 1.75 digs per set. She is currently sixth all-time at MSU with 3,566 career assists. She needs 176 to move past fifth-place Natalie Emro (3,742, 2008-11), and 207 to catapult into third place all-time - Courtney DeBolt had 3,773 (1992-95).

  • Minarick and Holly Toliver are among the national leaders in service aces - Minarick leads the country (0.75/s), while Toliver is third in the league and sixth nationally with 0.67 per frame. Brooke Kranda is fourth in the B1G with 0.47 aces per set.

  • Holly Toliver ranks third on the team with 2.83 kills per set, and has also added 2.17 digs and 0.44 blocks per set over the first six matches. Her four blocks against Auburn (Aug. 26) tied her career best.

  • Abby Monson has started 40 consecutive matches at libero, and is averaging 4.21 digs per set , good for eighth in the Big Ten in that category. In 2016, she averaged a team-best 3.47 digs per set, 11th in the Big Ten.

  • Senior middle Megan Tompkins is averaging 0.83 blocks per set (good for third on the team), and also chipping in 1.39 kills per frame.

  • Three 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 opens Big Ten play next week on the road, opening at No. 5 Wisconsin before a Sunday matinee vs. No. 1 Minnesota that will air live on ESPN.



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