Spartans to Jam Jenison vs. No. 17 UM
Oct. 22, 2013
Michigan State, ranked tenth this week in the AVCA national poll, has a pair of home games on tap this week against No. 17 Michigan and Indiana.
The annual Jam Jenison event will take place on Wednesday against Michigan, and MSU expects a capacity crowd of more than 5,000 spectators. The first 500 fans will receive a "Jam Jenison" t-shirt.
MSU is coming off a tough week where it lost back-to-back matches at No. 10 Minnesota (3-2) and at No. 15 Wisconsin (3-1). Last Thursday's loss to Minnesota ended MSU's 15-match winning streak, the sixth longest in school history. The Spartans were handed their first defeats in conference play after starting the season 6-0 in B1G games.
Five Big Ten games are on tap on Wednesday, as all but one of the league's travel partner pairs will face off (the sixth, Indiana and Purdue, play Tuesday night).
Michigan is 13-6 overall and owns a 3-5 record in Big Ten conference play. The Wolverines defeated Wisconsin 3-0 and fell to Minnesota, 3-1, last weekend.
Wednesday's game against Michigan will air live on the Big Ten Digital Network, which can be accessed in MSU's All-Access players at www.MSUSpartans.com.
The Wolverines are 13-6 overall and own a 3-5 record in Big Ten conference play. UM swept Wisconsin 3-0 and fell to Minnesota, 3-1, last weekend. Wednesday's match with Michigan is another chapter in the State Pride Flag series. MSU has retained the Flag for the last three seasons, after a three-year run for the Wolverines (2007-09). Overall, UM has 12 Flag wins, while MSU has 11. Lexi Dannemiller is the B1G Setter of the Week, averaging 11.86 assists per set as Michigan swept No. 15 Wisconsin (Oct. 18) and lost in four to No. 10 Minnesota. Against the Badgers, she had 37 assists to go along with eight digs and two blocks, then posted 47 assists to go along with 11 digs, three service aces and three blocks at Minnesota. Dannemiller is third in the Big Ten with 10.68 assists per set. Sophomore Tiff any Morales is fi fth in digs per set (3.92/s) while senior Jennifer Cross is sixth in hitting percentage (.365) and ninth in points per set (3.77/s). Senior Lexi Erwin is 10th in kills per set (3.19/s). As a team, Michigan is third in assists per set (12.74/s) and fourth in kills per set (13.70/s).
MSU will host Indiana on Saturday evening in the lone meeting of the teams this season. The Hoosiers are 8-11 and in search of their first Big Ten victory (0-8), and play at Purdue on Tuesday before coming to East Lansing on Saturday. Indiana went 0-2 last weekend, dropping a pair of matches on the road at No. 8 Nebraska and Iowa. Morgan Leach leads the team in kills (2.81 per set), while hitting .256 and contrinuting 0.52 blocks per set. Awele Nwaeze leads the team in blocks (56, 0.81 per set) and is second in kills (2.45) and points (213.5). Setter Katie Gallagher averages 7.06 assists per set, while Megan Tallman also contributes 5.95; libero Caitlin Hanson is pacing the Hoosiers with 3.77 digs per set.
GENERAL TEAM NOTES
MSU's 17-3 start is its best since its 1995 Final Four season, in which it went 27-1 to start the year and won its first 16 Big Ten matches. MSU's 2012 squad started 15-2.
MSU's conference start, 6-2, is its best since 1996. The Spartans were the last undefeated team in Big Ten Conference play before last Thursday's loss to Minnesota.
Michigan State fell five spots in the AVCA Top 25 this week, and is ranked No. 10. Last week MSU was ranked No. 5, its highest national ranking since being ranked third in the 1996 pre-season AVCA poll.
The Big Ten has a national-best eight teams in the top-25 again this week, including three in the top 10. Penn State jumped to spots to No. 2, while Minnesota is No. 7, ahead of the Spartans at No. 10. Nebraska checks in at No. 13, followed by No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 17 Michigan, No. 21 Purdue and No. 24 Ohio State. Illinois and Northwestern are receiving votes in the poll.
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.
The NCAA's second RPI report was released on Monday, Oct. 14, and the Spartans are No. 14 The Big Ten boasts three top-15 RPI teams (Penn State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Spartans), and four more are ranked between 25-35. The RPI is the most significant tool used in selecting the NCAA Tournament field. MSU is now 4-2 against ranked teams this season. The Spartans have won twice when ranked lower than their opponent (against Oregon and Penn State), and are 2-2 when ranked higher. The Michigan game will be MSU's third straight against a ranked opponent.
Before last Thursday's loss, the Spartans had won 15 consecutive matches dating back to the opening tournament at Virginia Tech. It is the sixth-longest winning streak in program history, and the longest winning streak since the 1996 season. MSU's longest streak is 21 games, set in 1995.
MSU completed its non-conference portion of the schedule with an 11-1 record. MSU is 23-1 over the last two non-conference seasons.
MSU suffered its first losses this season in matches that went four or five sets. MSU is now 3-1 in four-set, and 2-1 in five-set matches).
MSU completed its pre-Big Ten slate by extending its streak to 18 consecutive non-conference wins 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.
MSU's 2.59 blocks per set is fourth in the Big Ten and ranks 44th nationally. MSU, with 13.0 blocks against Minnesota and an additional 10 vs. Wisconsin, turned in its second- and third--highest blocking totals of the season. The Spartans had 15.5 in the win over Virginia Tech.
The Spartans had a season-high 92 digs in the match on Thursday, almost twice its previous season high of 57 against Illinois State. MSU's 195 attack attempts bettered its previous season high of 160 against Penn State.
Minnesota and the Spartans combined for 74 attack errors in Thursday's match. MSU had 40 attack errors, 15 service errors, and four blocking errors - all season highs. MSU was plagued by errors again on Sunday - 26 attack errors and 13 service errors.
MSU averages 1.70 service aces per set, which leads the Big Ten and ranks 18th nationally. The Spartans have 119 aces on the season, nearly double its opponents (64).
As a team, the Spartans are hitting .262, which is fourth in Conference and 30th nationally. MSU's kills per set (13.59) is fifth in the Big Ten.
The Sept. 6 win over Oregon was head coach Cathy George's 150th at Michigan State. George currently has a record of 528-339 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.
MSU's home attendance, 23,536 fans over nine home matches, currently ranks 12th nationally; its average of 2,615 per game ranks 11th. The Spartans had a season-best crowd of more than 4,200 on Oct. 12 against Nebraska.
Senior Lauren Wicinski recently surpassed the 2,000 career kills mark, and has a total of 2,182. She ranks second all-time at MSU, and needs 110 to become MSU's all-time kills leader, passing recent MSU Athletics Hall-of Fame inductee Jenna Wrobel. Wicinski ranks fifth all-time in the Big Ten annals, and needs 73 kills to move into the NCAA's top-25 all-time.
Wicinski tied her season best with 22 kills vs. Minnesota, and she added a season-best 15 digs. She also tied her career high in attempts (70), which she had previously set while playing at Northern Illinois, in a Sept. 2011 game against Ball State. It was her fourth double-double of the season and 48th of her career. On Sunday, she contributed 16 kills (a match high), and had two aces, nine digs, and a season-high four block assists.
Wicinski is third in the Big Ten in kills/set (4.54), which is 12th nationally, and is seventh nationally and leads the Big Ten in points (5.36/set). She ranks second in the Big Ten in service aces (0.45 per set), which is 22nd nationally.
Wicinski leads the country's active players in several categories. She ranks first among active players in career kills (2,182), total attempts (4,977), and aces (254); she's second in kills/set (4.81), 11th in attempts per game (10.96), 14th in sets played (454) and tied for 17th in matches played (125).
Wicinski is MSU's career record holder in service aces (252), which is fourth all-time in the Big Ten. She had four aces in each of the last four weekends, and has 31 on the season. She ranks third all-time at MSU and is ninth all-time in the Big Ten in attack attempts (4,977).
Senior middle blocker Alexis Mathews had her season best in blocks with 10 (two solo, also a 2013 high) to go with nine kills against the Gophers. She matched the total against Wisconsin, with 10 block assists. It is the team's single-game high this season.
Mathews is second in the Big Ten and is 12th nationally in hitting percentage (.421) and is fifth in blocks per set (1.51), which is third in the Conference.
Mathews owns a .341 career hitting percentage, which ranks 23rd among active players in Division I volleyball and second all-time at MSU. She ranks sixth among active players in blocks per set (1.30) and is second in total blocks (544).
Mathews moved into the Big Ten's 500-blocks club on Sept. 29th against Ohio State. With 544 career blocks, she currently ranks 26th all-time in the Big Ten and fourth at MSU: Angela Moreley (637), Dana Cooke (581), and Val Sterk (575) are ahead of her on both lists.
Freshman Allyssah Fitterer had a career day against Nebraska on Oct. 12, going for a career-best 11 kills and hitting .500 (11-2-18). She also had five blocks against the Huskers. Junior libero Kori Moster tied her career best with 29 kills against Minnesota, previously set against San Diego in the NCAA Tournament last December. On Sunday at Wisconsin, she had 26 digs and three assists.
Moster leads the Big Ten in digs per set (4.56). She has 1,395 in her career, which is third place all-time at MSU. She needs 89 more to move past Veronica Morales, who holds the school record with 1,484. With her per-set average, Moster could become MSU's all-time recordholder before the end of the regular season.
Moster is currently 30th in the Big Ten all-time in digs, and is 62nd among active NCAA players. Moster recorded 602 digs in 2012, good for second in MSU's single-season recordbook. Moster's 474 digs as a freshman was sixth in a single season.
Moster had four service aces against Iowa and Nebraska, and had five in the weekend series with Illinois and Northwestern. She has 23 on the season, second behind Wicinski's 41. Twelve of her 23 aces have come in the last eight matches.
Chloe Reinig averages 2.97 kills per set and is hitting .292 on the season, second behind Alexis Mathews. Reinig hit .636 against Iowa (7-0-11) and had a career-high 13 kills against Nebraska on 33 swings, also her career high. Her .636 is a Spartan season high for hitting percentage.
Kristen Kelsay had her second double-double of the season at Minnesota with 26 assists and 15 digs, two shy of her career high. She added 25 assists against Wisconsin and owns 2,687 career assists, good for sixth place at MSU all-time. This season, she ranks tenth in the Big Ten in assists/set (7.04).
With Michigan State running a 6-2 offense, neither Kelsay (7.04 A/s) nor sophomore (and 2012 Big Ten All-Freshman team honoree) Halle Peterson (4.41) rank among the conference's top five in assists. As a team, however, the Spartans rank fourth in assists per set, (12.60). In Big Ten matches only, MSU is third in assists per set (12.65), behind Nebraska (13.00) and Penn State (12.92).
Taylor Galloway's five blocks against Minnesota was her best on the season, and she added 11 digs, three assists and six kills against the Gophers. She had 11 digs, a block, and two kills against Wisconsin.
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.
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