Spartan Volleyball Hosts Big Ten Season Openers
Sept. 28, 2004
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
HOME AT LAST - After three weeks on the road, Michigan State volleyball (5-5, 0-2 Big Ten) hosts its Big Ten home-opening weekend against Indiana and Purdue on Oct. 1-2. Friday, MSU faces the Hoosiers (6-7, 0-2 Big Ten) in a 7 p.m. match, while the Spartans take on Purdue (9-3, 2-0 Big Ten) Saturday at 7 p.m. Both matches will be televised by Comcast of Lansing. All MSU volleyball matches are broadcast live on the internet at www.msuspartans.com with John Kreger handling the play-by-play.
CAREER-BEST PERFORMANCE - Junior libero Marley Bellwood has broken her previous career bests twice in 2004. She had 22 digs against Arkansas (9/10), and went on to better that performance with 23 digs at Iowa (9/25).
YOUTH MOVEMENT, CONTINUED - Since State played at Wichita State Sept. 10-11, the Spartans have had at least three freshmen in the starting lineup. Against Minnesota, MSU started Maggie Griffin, Tracy Bellwood and Katie Johnson, while those three plus Meghan Schoen started at Iowa. All seven freshman played in at least one of MSU's two matches at South Carolina (9/18-19): Hansen, Griffin, Johnson, Schoen, Tracy Bellwood, Miken Trogdon and Jessica Hohl.
BUILDING BLOCKS - Meghan Schoen, a freshman from Aurora, Colo., is the Spartans' current blocking leader after the first weekend of Big Ten play. Schoen has six block assists in the conference season, good for an average of 0.86 blocks per game. Kim Schram is State's second-best blocker, with one solo and three assists, an average of 0.57 blocks per game.
TOUGH START IN THE BIG TEN - Michigan State began the year with a five-match winning streak and will attempt to end a similar losing streak when it hosts Indiana and Purdue Oct. 1-2. The Spartans have not won a match since Sept. 10 when they took a five-game set from Wichita State. In the five matches since, State has won just three games, and has been swept three times.
LOOKING AT INDIANA & PURDUE
SECOND WEEK IN THE BIG TEN - The Spartans play their 2004 Big Ten Conference home openers Friday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 2. Friday, State hosts Indiana in Jenison Field House at 7 p.m. The Spartans take on Purdue at 7 p.m. Saturday. Indiana and Purdue met to kick off the Big Ten season on Wednesday, Sept. 22, with Purdue taking the win in West Lafayette, Ind., 3-0. Friday, Purdue defeated Illinois, 3-1, while the Illini swept Indiana Saturday.
INDIANA (6-7, 0-2 Big Ten) - 7 p.m. - Friday, Oct. 1
PURDUE (9-3, 2-0 Big Ten) - 7 p.m. - Saturday, Oct. 2
IMPRESSIVE SCHEDULE, IN & OUT OF THE BIG TEN - Before even starting Big Ten play, the Spartans faced five 2003 NCAA Tournament teams, and have a record of 3-2 in those matches. State now takes on six teams in the Big Ten that played in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Seven of those 11 NCAA Tournament teams were ranked in this week's AVCA coaches' poll, including No. 1 Minnesota, No. 3 Washington, No. 5 Penn State and No. 9 Illinois.
THREE'S THE LIMIT, GENERALLY - The Spartans' current five-match losing streak marks just the second time in head coach Chuck Erbe's 11-plus years at the helm that MSU has such a streak. Until the current streak, State had lost four consecutive matches just three times in Erbe's time as the Spartans' head coach: Oct. 1-9, 1999, a year when MSU went on to reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament; Nov. 19-26, 1993, his first season; and Oct. 15-Nov. 6, 1993, an eight-match streak, also in his first season.
DOUBLE-DOUBLES (AND NO, YOU'RE NOT AT IN-N-OUT BURGER) - Four Spartans have posted double-doubles on the season, led by Maggie Griffin's four (all assists-digs). Katie Johnson has posted 10-plus digs and kills in two matches, while Kim Schram and Brooke Langston have each done so in one match.
STREAKING NO MORE - With USC's decision to not travel to the Gamecock Invitational Sept. 17-19, State faced just Notre Dame and South Carolina, going 0-2 on the weekend. Sept. 17, the Spartans fell to Notre Dame, 3-1, snapping a five-match State win streak against the Irish. The Sept. 18 3-2 loss to South Carolina ended State's undefeated (4-0) history against the Gamecocks.
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN - For the third straight year, MSU began its season at 5-1. The Spartans started the season with five wins in both 2002 and 2003 before falling in the sixth match.
GRIFFIN KEEPS ROLLING - Freshman Maggie Griffin is averaging 12.03 assists per game, and has 445 on the year so far, good for third on the all-time freshman records list. Judy Doles (1985) is second at 976, and Vicki Basil (1997) is first with 1,297.
ERBE CLOSING ON CAREER MILESTONE - Head coach Chuck Erbe is just three match victories from his 550th career win, which ranked 14th all-time in the NCAA record books at the start of the season. Erbe's .689 career win percentage was 24th all-time at the start of the year.
ACES, PART I -State had 12 service aces in its five-game loss at South Carolina (9/18), its highest single-match total in 2004. Three Spartans had nine of those 12 aces: Maggie Griffin, Megan Wallin and Tracy Bellwood.
BELLWOOD STEPS UP - Redshirt freshman Tracy Bellwood stepped in to record 20 digs in two matches at the Gamecock Invitational (9/17-18). In a defensive specialist role against Notre Dame, she had six digs, and came back to record 14 against South Carolina in four games as the libero.
FAMILIAR TERRITORY, MIXED RESULTS - State found itself in a position it saw twice in the 2003 season when it trailed South Carolina 2-0 and came back to force a fifth game. In the second match of 2003, MSU defeated Tennessee in the fifth game for the comeback win, but ended its season with a fifth-game heartbreaking loss to Dayton in the NCAA Tournament.
BOUNCING BACK - The Spartans started each match in the Green Mill Restaurant Classic Sept. 10-11 down 0-1, but came back to win in two of the three matches. MSU defeated Arkansas, 3-1, winning games 2, 3 and 4, and won games 2, 4 and 5 against Wichita State.
ROUGH GAME - State's 30-14 first-game loss to Washington (9/11/04) marked its worst single-game loss since the NCAA went to rally scoring in the 2001 season.
ACES, PART II - Michigan State posted 20 service aces in its three matches at Wichita State's Green Mill Restaurant Classic (9/10-11/04), an average of 1.67 per game. Freshman Katie Johnson had seven of those 10, while Marley Bellwood had five.
WALLIN SETS SCHOOL RECORD - Junior middle Megan Wallin set a school record against St. John's, as she posted 13 kills on 14 attacks, with no errors on Sept. 4. Wallin's attack percentage of .929 bettered the former single-match record of .923 (12-0-13) by Corie Richard against Maryland on Sept. 15, 1995.
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER - State's three three-game wins to start the 2004 season mark the second time in the last four seasons that the Spartans have begun the season with three victories in the minimum number of games possible. In 2000, MSU swept Rutgers, Northeastern and Eastern Washington en route to that year's Coca-Cola/MSU Volleyball Classic title.
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