Spartan Volleyball Hosts Big Ten Season Openers

Sept. 28, 2004


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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 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.


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
A LOOK AT INDIANA - Indiana is in the midst of a five-match losing streak, with its last win coming against IPFW on Sept. 14. The Hoosiers were swept in each of their league-opening matches, falling to Purdue on Sept. 22 and at Illinois on Sept. 25.
Katie Pollom is averaging 3.94 kills on .352 hitting for Indiana, while teammate Christina Archibald leads the squad at 3.98 kills per game. Archibald also has 118 digs on the year (2.41 dpg). Setter Tasha Arsenych has 616 assists on the season, an average of 12.57 per game. Mandy Eberle leads IU's blocking efforts at 1.31 per game, with 64 total blocks on the season.
As a team, Indiana posts a .252 attack percentage and averages 15.82 kills per game. The Hoosiers average 13.63 assists, 1.37 service aces, 13.35 digs and 2.26 blocks per game.
HEAD COACH: Katie Weismiller (Texas-Arlington, 1988) is in her 12th year at Indiana, and has posted a 177-180 record in that time. She owns a 227-204 overall record.
ALL-TIME SERIES:MSU leads the all-time series with Indiana, 31-24, including a 17-5 advantage in East Lansing.
THE LAST 10 YEARS: State lost to Indiana just twice in the last 20 meetings between the teams, in 1998 and 2002. Both losses came at Indiana.
LAST YEAR: Michigan State defeated Indiana in Bloomington, 3-1, on Oct. 11, as the Spartans lost the first game, but bounced back to take games 2, 3 and 4. In East Lansing, MSU swept the Hoosiers.

PURDUE (9-3, 2-0 Big Ten) - 7 p.m. - Saturday, Oct. 2
A LOOK AT PURDUE - Purdue was ranked among the AVCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll earlier this season. The Boilermakers swept Indiana to open their Big Ten season, and then defeated then-No. 13 Illinois in Urbana-Champaign on Friday, Sept. 24, 3-1.
Leah Wischmeier and Kim McConaha lead the Purdue offense, with averages of 4.30 and 4.36 kills per game, respectively. The two are hitting better than .325 on the season. Setter Renata Dargan averages 13.45 assists per game, and has 76 digs on the season. Purdue has one player - McConaha - who averages more than 1.00 blocks per game.
HEAD COACH: Dave Shondell is in his second year as the Boilermakers' head coach, and his second year as a collegiate head coach. He has a record of 23-20 in that time.
ALL-TIME SERIES: Purdue leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 33-25, and owns a 13-12 record in East Lansing.
THE LAST 10 YEARS: MSU has won 18 of the last 20 meetings in the last 10 years, with last year's Spartan loss in West Lafayette snapping a seven-match winning streak for State.
LAST YEAR: The teams split in 2003, with each squad winning on its home court. Purdue won on Oct. 10, sweeping the Spartans, while State defeated the Boilermakers in East Lansing, 3-1.

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.

TWO AT THREE-PLUS - Two Spartans - Kim Schram (4.38) and Megan Wallin (3.26) - average more than three kills per game on the season.

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.