Volleyball Hosts Spartan Invitational
Sept. 18, 2013
The Spartans host the Auto-Owners Insurance MSU Invitational this weekend to close out non-conference play. MSU welcomes Eastern Michigan, Duquesne, and Cincinnati to Jenison Field House.
MSU is coming off a championship run at the Butler Invitational. The Spartans swept IPFW, Illinois State, and the host Bulldogs to capture the title.
Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational Schedule:
GENERAL TEAM NOTES
Michigan State has won six straight matches and is undefeated in its last 13 sets. The Spartans last dropped a set to No. 12 Oregon on Sept. 6.
The Spartans moved up one spot in the AVCA National Top 25 to No. 14 this week. MSU opened the season at No. 14, and dropped to 20th after a loss to Pacific in the Hokie Invitational on Aug. 31.
The Big Ten has a national-best eight teams in the top-25, seven in the top-16, and three in the top 10. On Sept. 10, the Big Ten made history - it was the first time that nine teams from one conference appeared in the AVCA Top-25 in the same week.
Eight Big Ten teams have one loss or fewer in the non-conference season. Only Ohio State, at 9-0, remains undefeated. Illinois, at 4-4, has the most losses.
MSU has won 15 consecutive non-conference games on its home floor. The streak dates back to September of 2010 - MSU's last home loss to a non-Big Ten team came on Sept. 11, 2010 to Eastern Michigan, 3-2.
The Sept. 6 win over Oregon was head coach Cathy George's 150th at Michigan State. George currently has a record of 519-339 during her 26 years of coaching and is in her ninth year at MSU. She entered the season 29th among active coaches (and third in the Big Ten) in career victories.
All-America Jenna Wrobel `99 was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame last Thursday. She holds eight school records and was a freshman on MSU's 1995 Final Four team. Her induction class included Henry Bullough (football), Kip Miller (hockey), Ryan Miller (hockey) and Morris Peterson (basketball).
Spartan opponents are hitting just .123, which is third in the Big Ten behind Minnesota (.120) and Nebraska (.122)
Fifteen of Michigan State's volleyball games will be televised or streamed live in the 2013 season. Highlighting MSU's television exposure is a game at Minnesota which will air live on ESPN 2 on Oct. 17.
MSU's freshman class was rated the No. 7 recruiting class in the nation, per PrepVolleyball.com. Outside hitter Chloe Reinig, who has yet to make her Spartan debut due to illness, was the No. 4 senior recruit in the country, and earned a spot in MSU's starting lineup before the season.
The team boasted a 3.14 cumulative grade point average with a combined seven 4.0 semesters in 2012-13. Amy Dentlinger, Kristen Kelsay, Chelsey Probst, Stefanie Shiramizu, and Jazmine White earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, while Kelsay also earned Distinguished Scholar recognition for a 3.7 GPA or better in the 2012-13 school year.
MSU was selected fifth in the Big Ten preseason coaches poll. Senior Lauren Wicinski was one of three unanimous selections to the All-Big Ten Preseason team.
MSU's home attendance, 5,347 fans over two home dates, currently ranks 12th nationally; its average of 2,674 per game ranks ninth. MSU's attendance of 33,717 fans in 2012 ranked 17th nationally.
Wicinski was named the Tournament MVP at the Butler Invitational, helping her team to a trio of 3-0 sweeps of IPFW, Illinois State, and the host Bulldogs. She recorded 45 kills on the weekend, (leading the team in kills in each set, averaging 5.0), and had big kills in the late parts of each match to secure wins for the Spartans. She also added three service aces and 11 digs on the weekend.
Wicinski is looking to become just the ninth player in Big Ten Conference history to swing for 2,000 kills. Two other MSU players are on that list: Jenna Wrobel (2,296) and Veronica Morales (2,006). The Big Ten record is 2,798, held by Ohio State's Stacey Gordon.
Wicinski is fourth in the Big Ten in kills/set (4.17) and is third in points (4.98/set).
Wicinski leads the country's active players in several categories. She ranks first among active players in career kills (1,990), kills/set (4.81), total attempts (4,552), and aces (232); she's 10th in attempts per game (11.0), tied for 12th in sets played (412) and tied for 17th in matches played (114).
Senior Alexis Mathews and junior Kori Moster were named to the All-Tournament Team at the Butler Invite. Moster had 41 digs (4.56 per set), while Mathews hit .429 on the weekend, averaging 2.22 kills and 1.22 blocks per set.
Mathews is sixth nationally (and leads the Big Ten) in hitting percentage (.490) and is 70th in blocks per set (1.23), which is seventh in the Conference.
Mathews owns a .340 career hitting percentage, which ranks 20th among active players in Division I volleyball and second all-time at MSU.
Mathews is primed to move into the Big Ten's 500-blocks club. She would become the 36th athlete to join that group, which includes MSU players Angela Moreley (637), Dana Cooke (581), and Val Sterk (575). With 477 blocks, she moved past Vanessa King (458) in the MSU record book and is in sole possession of fourth place.
Moster is third in the Big Ten in digs per set (4.40) She has 1,208 in her career, which is seventh all-time at MSU (Veronica Morales holds the school record with 1,484, which Moster could attain this year as a junior). Moster is poised to become the 56th member of the Big Ten's 1,250 digs list.
Freshman Allyssah Fitterer has the team's best single-game blocking total this season, with nine against Virginia Tech on Aug. 31.
Junior Taylor Galloway hit .382 in the Butler Invitational (29-3-68) and recorded 38 digs over the three matches, getting 14 digs against both IPFW and Illinois State, one shy of her career best. Against Butler, Galloway hit a career-best .476 (11-0-23) against the Bulldogs.
Ryian Hubbard has extended her streak to six straight games with double-digit assists, including dishing out a career-best 17 against IPFW on Sept. 13. Hubbard has assumed setting duties while sophomore (and 2012 Big Ten All-Rookie Team setter) Halle Peterson has been out with injury. Hubbard, who was a setter on four straight state championships teams in high school, had three career assists in her first two seasons at MSU.
Hubbard also contributed four service aces on the weekend at Butler. She ranks sixth in the Big ten in aces/set (0.40). She had three service aces combined in her first two seasons.
Kelsay tied her career high with four service aces against Illinois State. She has eight this season.
Jazmine White's eight service aces finds her third in the Big Ten in aces/set (0.57).
Wicinski is one of 30 candidates for volleyball's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The list will be trimmed to 10 finalists mid-season, and fans will be allowed to cast their votes online.
Alexis Mathews, Kori Moster, and Lauren Wicinski were selected to the US National A2 Team to compete in the USA Volleyball Open National Championships. Wicinski won gold at the event, and Mike Gawlik was an assistant coach.
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