Oct. 16, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State looks to rebound from a tough weekend at home when it travels to face in-state rival Michigan on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m., then returns home to face No. 20 Ohio State on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Both matches will be streamed live on BTN.com.
The Last Meeting
November 23, 2011
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Volleyball Falls at Michigan in Four; Retains State Pride Flag
The Michigan State volleyball team (21-10, 10-9 Big Ten) suffered a tough road loss to No. 22 Michigan (20-11, 8-11 Big Ten), 3-1, on Friday, Nov. 23 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Spartans were led offensively by senior Kyndra Abron's 15 kills, while freshman Kori Moster chipped in 23 digs.
A Look at the Spartans
Michigan State is led on the outside by junior Lauren Wicinski and senior Amy Dentlinger. Wicinski leads MSU and tops the conference in both points (5.15) and service aces per set (0.58). Dentlinger averages 2.58 kills per set while Wicinski records 4.28 per set, good for third in the Big Ten. Alexis Mathews is the anchor in the middle for the Spartans and she averages 1.31 blocks per set, good for third in the conference and is also fourth in the conference with a .398 hitting percentage. Sophomore libero Kori Moster reels in 4.44 digs per set, third best in the conference and also averages 0.32 service aces per set. At setter, Kristen Kelsay leads the Spartans with 7.17 assists per set and freshman Halle Peterson brings in 4.85 per set.
Michigan State head coach Cathy George is in her eighth season at the helm of the Spartans and has a career record of 501-333. MSU made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
Recapping Last Weekend
The Spartans struggled at home last weekend, falling to Northwestern 3-1 and losing to then-No. 22 Illinois 3-2. MSU hit just .135 percent against the Wildcats, its worst hitting percentage of the season. The Spartans took a 2-0 lead over Illinois but dropped its third five-set match this season. Lauren Wicinski led MSU in the match with 22 kills and 18 digs against Illinois.
The Wolverines are 16-6 this season and swept both Northwestern and Illinois this past weekend. Michigan is led on the outside by Lexi Erwin and her 3.80 kills per set. Lexi Dannemiller is sixth in the conference in assists averaging 10.68. Junior middle blocker Jennifer Cross was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday, Oct. 15 and averaged 3.67 kills and 1.67 blocks per set in two Michigan wins last weekend.
Series History: MSU leads the all-time series, 48-35-1.
Last Meeting: The Spartans lost to Michigan, 3-1, on Nov. 23, 2011.
Coach:Michigan head coach Mark Rosen is in his 14th season and has led the Wolverines to four Sweet 16's in the past five years.
Scouting Ohio State
Ohio State fell to Purdue, 3-1, last weekend but defeated Indiana, 3-1. The Buckeyes host Penn State on Wednesday, Oct. 17 before traveling to face MSU on Oct. 20. Senior Mari Hole leads the Buckeyes and is sixth in the conference with 4.00 kills per set. Fellow senior Emily Danks ranks fourth in the Big Ten in service aces and junior Davionna DiSalvatore brings in 3.69 digs per set.
Series History: MSU trails 27-43 in the all-time series.
Last Meeting: Michigan State fell to the Buckeyes, 3-1, on Nov. 9, 2011.
Coach: Geoff Carlston is in his fifth year as head coach of Ohio State and led OSU to the Sweet 16 for the second-straight season.
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.
Michigan State has retained the "State Pride flag for the last two seasons but trails in the series, 10-12.
EVE Night on Saturday
Fans are asked to bring two canned goods, or new or gently used winter coats, scarves, mittens and gloves to be donated to EVE, an organization to help End Violent Encounters on Saturday night against Ohio State.
Five Set Demise
The Spartans are 1-3 in five-set matches this season but have lost their last three to conference opponents. MSU fell to Illinois last weekend after taking a 2-0 lead and dropped five-set matches earlier in the season to Purdue and Minnesota. All three conference opponents were ranked at the time and the Spartans only win in five sets came against IPFW at the Spartan Invitational.
Double-Doubles at Jenison
Four different Spartans have recorded at least one double-double this season and the most recent being Taylor Galloway and Lauren Wicinski against Illinois last weekend. Wicinski had 22 kills and 18 digs against the Fighting Illini and Galloway recorded 11 kills and 14 digs. It was the third double-double of the season for Galloway and the sixth for Wicinski.
Big Ten Level Volleyball
After starting the season 12-0 in non-conference play, MSU is 3-5 in the Big Ten and has dropped its last three matches. Four of its five losses have come against ranked opponents in the conference.
Michigan State has battled a statistical letdown as well as the competition level has increased. MSU is hitting just .214 percent in conference play and was averaging a mark above .300 in non-conference play. Opponents in the Big Ten are averaging a .231 hitting percentage against MSU.
National Attendance Figures
Currently the Spartans rank No. 23 in total attendance during the 2012 season among all NCAA Division I teams. This marks the eighth straight season MSU has been ranked in the top-25 in national attendance and is averaging 1,583 fans through 10 home matches this season.
Coverage on the Big Ten Digital Network
The Spartans next four conference matches will each be featured on the Big Ten Digital Network and streamed live on BTN.com. Fans can follow Michigan State volleyball starting with the Wednesday match-up against Michigan, followed by Ohio State on Oct. 20 and road contests at Indiana and Purdue.
Hitting Percentage Tells the Story
The Spartans have been out hit in five matches the season and has lost each one of them. Michigan State dropped matches to then-No. 6 Nebraska and then-No. 17 Purdue, before losing a five-set heartbreaker at No. 10 Minnesota on Oct. 6. This past weekend, MSU was out-hit by both Northwestern and then-No. 22 Illinois, losing both Big Ten matches.
Coaching Milestone for George
Head coach Cathy George became the 34th active coach to reach 500 career wins after MSU swept Iowa on Saturday, Sept. 29. George currently has a record of 501-333 during her 26 years of coaching and is in her eighth year at MSU. George has also compiled wins at North Dakota State, Texas-Arlington, and Western Michigan.
Defensive Player of the Week
Junior middle blocker Alexis Mathews was been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday, Sept. 17. Mathews averaged 1.70 blocks per set and also had 2.6 kills per set. She recorded 17 blocks at the Holiday Inn Charleston/Mt.Pleasant Invitational and was named to the named to the All-Tournament Team. Mathews is the second MSU player to receive conference recognition this season.
Sophomore Kori Moster garnered Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors on Monday, Sept. 3.
Quick Out of the Gate
Michigan State got out to a 12-0 start to open the season, its third best start in program history before losing to then-No. 17 Purdue, 3-2. The mark of 12-0 ties the 2009 start. The Spartans best start was in 1975 when they began the season at 19-0 mark in 1975. It tied the best start during head coach Cathy George's tenure.
Freshman Making an Impact
Setter Halle Peterson has been a huge addition to the Spartans offense and is averaging 4.72 assists per set for MSU. She recorded her first career double-double against IPFW with 27 assists and 12 digs and has notched double-digit assists in 18 of the 20 matches this season.