Oct. 12, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State volleyball team (10-7, 2-4) will go on its first home-and-away of the season when it travels to No. 15 Michigan (16-2, 5-1) on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Three days later, the Spartans will host No. 20 Northwestern (15-2, 5-1) on Saturday, Oct. 16. Both matches are on the Big Ten Network. Wednesday's match will be aired live, while Saturday's contest will be tape-delayed until Sunday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. ET.
Michigan enters the match ranked 15th in the latest AVCA poll with a record of 16-2 on the year including a 5-1 mark in Big Ten play. The Wolverines offensively are led by Alex Hunt with 4.46 kills per set overall, and 4.55 in the conference. Lexi Zimmerman has a team-high 10.67 assists per set, tallying a 11.18 mark in the Big Ten. Sloane Donhoff has tallied 3.82 digs per set on the year, 3.64 in conference matches. Jennifer Cross leads the team at the net with 1.17 blocks per set, blocking 1.05 in conference matches.
Series History: MSU leads in the series, 46-33-1.
Last Meeting: The Spartans fell to Michigan by a score of 3-2 in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Nov. 18, 2009.
Coach: The Wolverines are coached by Mark Rosen who is in his 12th season and posts an all-time record of 438-181, going 232-144 at UM.
No. 20 Northwestern currently has a record of 15-2 overall and 5-1 in Big Ten action. Naomi Johnson currently leads the team with 3.17 kills per set overall and in the conference. Elyse Glab has a team-high 11.59 assists per set, going 11.92 in the Big Ten. Defensively, Julie Chin is the top digger with 3.62 per set overall and 4.48 in conference matches, while Sabel Moggett is the top blocker with 1.62 blocks per set both in the Big Ten and overall.
Series History: MSU trails in the series, 32-27.
Recapping Last Week
Last Meeting: The Spartans lost to the Wildcats, 3-1, on Nov. 6, 2009 in Evansville, Ill.
Coach: Keylor Chan is in his 11th season at the reigns of the Wildcats, going 153-172 at the school and 169-187 all-time.
The Spartans fell No. 6 Illinois in a tough five-set match, 3-2. The Spartans performed well defensively as they out dug (71-58) and out blocked (12-8) the sixth-ranked team in the nation. Offensively, the Green and White were led by junior Becca Zlabis
with her fourth double-double of the season on 14 kills and 14 digs.
MSU closed out its homestand on Saturday, Oct. 9 with another five-set match, however the Spartans pulled off a 3-2 win to Wisconsin at Jenison Field House. With the win, MSU snapped its three match losing skid. Freshman Kristen Kelsay tied her career-best with 33 assists on the night.
On the Road Again
Last weekend marked the first two of three Big Ten home contests for the month of October. Throughout the month, MSU will play a total of seven games of the road, compared to its three home contests. The Green and White conclude the month with its final four matches on the road. MSU's home contest on Oct. 16 against Northwestern and its home match against Ohio State on Nov. 5 is the longest span between home matches this season for the Spartans.
State Pride Series
Michigan State and Michigan share a long history of rivalries, both in academics and athletics. Beginning in 1990, the two state of Michigan Big Ten Conference institutions began a "State Pride" season series to celebrate the in-state rivalry. Each University hosts a "State Pride Night" when the teams meet during the regular season. A state of Michigan flag bearing the motto "Tuebor" or "I will defend", serves as a symbol of the volleyball rivalry with the winner of the season's face-to-face matches retaining possession of the flag for a year. The flag flew over the State Capitol on Sept. 18. 1990. In addition to the State flag, each school's winning year is listed on its half of a special Michigan State-Michigan banner.
The school that wins both matches will be declared the "State Pride" winner.
If one team does not win both matches, the school that wins the greatest number of games will be declared the "State Pride" winner.
If both teams have won the same number of games, the school with the most total points is the "State Pride" winner.
1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2006
1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009
450 Career Wins
On Aug. 27th, head coach Cathy George became just the 36th active coach to achieve the 450 career win milestone. MSU downed Bowling Green by a score of 3-0 in the opening game of the MSU Showcase. George currently ranks 36th among active coaches in career victories with 459.
Approaching the Century Mark
With already 94 wins as a Spartan, head coach Cathy George is six wins shy of becoming just the third coach in program history to reach the century mark. George currently has a record of 94-81 at MSU.
A Challenging Schedule
MSU is one of two teams in the nation this season to be playing three of the four NCAA National Finalists from 2009. The Spartans battled Hawaii, Penn State and Minnesota, all of which appeared as one of the four remaining teams in the NCAA Championship. The Green and White are joined by Illinois as the other team to face such a challenging schedule. Illinois will face Penn State, Minnesota and Texas on its 2010 schedule.
After seven weekends of action in the 2010 season, senior Allyson Karaba currently ranks sixth in the conference in digs with a 4.07 digs per set average, as well as ninth in service aces with 0.32. Karaba is joined by red-shirt junior Jenilee Rathje on the conference rankings list with a fifth-place hitting percentage of .480. Red-shirt freshman Alexis Mathews rounds out the Spartans with her seventh-place ranking in blocks per set (1.22), which ranks her the top freshman in the league.
The team is currently fifth in assists (12.68) and sixth in blocks with 2.58 blocks per set. MSU is eighth in kills with 13.33 kills per set, while ranking ninth in both hitting percentage (.242) and service aces (1.06). The Spartans are 10th in digs per set with 12.67.
Prior to the 2010 season, several Spartans were recognized for their work both on and off the court. Junior Kyndra Abron was tabbed as one of 16-members of the Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Abron found herself on the conference coaches' radars after earning First-Team All-Big Ten and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honors her sophomore campaign.
Red-shirt junior Jenilee Rathje was recognized by the conference in July for her dedication to her class work. Rathje was one of 484 student-athletes to receive Big Ten Scholar Athlete distinction. In order to be recognized, each student-athlete must achieve at least a 3.7 or higher for the corresponding academic year.
As a team, the Spartans were tabbed as the sixth-best team in the conference as announced by the coaches poll earlier this summer. Nationally, MSU was ranked tied for 44th in the AVCA Pre-season Poll, voted on by the coaches association.
Annually, the Spartans have found themselves as one of the national leaders in attendance among NCAA Division I teams. Michigan State has been ranked in the top-25 in average attendance in 14 of the last 15 seasons. MSU posted a program best sixth during the 1996 campaign. The 2008 season saw the Spartans welcome the most total fans in a given season with 36,419. That season also saw Michigan State rank seventh nationally in attendance. Through nine home contests in 2010, MSU has average 1,575 fans a match. Unofficially, the Spartans are currently ranked 23rd in average attendance.
All season long, all MSU Friday home matches allow fans the opportunity to purchase the "Friday 4 Pack". The "Friday 4 Pack" gives fans four tickets, four drinks and four hot dogs, nachos or pretzels. The "Friday 4 Pack" applies to advance orders only.
All patrons of the MSU vs. Illinois Homecoming football game will receive free admission to the evening volleyball match when they present their football ticket stub at the door of the MSU vs. No. 20 Northwestern volleyball contest.