Volleyball Set For Midweek Match At Northwestern
 
 
 
Jenilee Rathje
 
Jenilee Rathje
 
 

Oct. 23, 2007

THIS WEEK FOR THE SPARTANS

MICHIGAN STATE at NORTHWESTERN
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007 • 8 p.m. ET Evanston, Ill. • Welsh-Ryan Arena

TV: Big Ten Network; Nara Weng (PBP), Elizabeth Moreau (Analyst) Radio: www.msuspartans.com; John Kreger (PBP) Live stats: msuspartans.com

SERIES INFORMATION
• NU leads 29-25

LAST MEETINGS
• October 3, 2007 • East Lansing, Mich.; MSU def. NU, 3-1 (30-28, 30-27, 25-30, 30-26)

MICHIGAN STATE vs. #20 MICHIGAN
Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007 • 6:30 p.m. East Lansing, Mich. • Jenison Field House

Promotion: 13th Annual Jam Jenison

Radio: www.msuspartans.com; John Kreger (PBP) Live stats: www. msuspartans.com

SERIES INFORMATION
• MSU leads 44-30-1

LAST MEETINGS
• October 5, 2007 • Ann Arbor, Mich. UM def. MSU, 3-0 (30-21, 30-25, 30-23)

PDF of Complete Game Notes and Stats
Coach George's Weekly Press Conference
Coagh George's Weekly Podcast

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Halfway through the Big Ten Conference schedule, the Spartans take on Northwestern and No. 20 Michigan for the second time this year, looking to sweep the Wildcats and take revenge on the Wolverines. Wednesday's match at Northwestern will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.

Northwestern (12-9, 3-7) picked up two wins last week, defeating Iowa and No. 13 Minnesota in its weekend series. The Wildcats lead the league in aces per game (1.62) and sit at third in digs per game (16.50). They also rank fourth in hitting percentage (.240), led by senior Brittany Aldridge and junior Chelsy Hyser, who are hitting .366 and .361, respectively.

 

 

Earlier this season, Michigan State earned its first Big Ten victory with its 3-1 win over Northwestern. Three Spartans posted double-digit kill performances, as three other Spartans tallied double-digit dig numbers.

No. 20 Michigan (17-5, 5-5) suffered a four-game upset against Purdue on Saturday after defeating Indiana on Friday. The Wolverines are second in two conference standings, kills per game (16.47) and aces per game (16.47), while Michigan leads the Big Ten averaging 18.68 digs per game. The Wolverines will play at Northwestern on Friday before arriving in East Lansing to face the Spartans.

Michigan won the first bout in the State Pride Flag rivalry, besting MSU in three games, 30-21, 30-25, 30-23, in Cliff Keen Arena.

LAST TIME OUT
Michigan State upset No. 13 Minnesota on Saturday night in three games, defeating the Golden Gophers 30-28, 35-33, 30-22. Freshman setter Lauren O'Reilly dished out 54 assists, tying for fourth in assists in a three-game match. The win marked the first time MSU has defeated Minnesota in five seasons, dating back to Michigan State's 3-0 victory on November, 3, 2001.

On Friday night, MSU bested the Iowa Hawkeyes, 3-0 (30-24, 30-26, 30-25), in Jenison Field House. Senior Katie Johnson posted four blocks, passing the 200 mark in her career. Johnson now has 202 total blocks in her four years wearing the Green and White. Additionally, the Spartans were led offensively by senior Ashley Schatzle (17 kills) and defensively by senior Miken Trogdon (13 digs). Defeating both Iowa and Minnesota, the Spartans swept their Big Ten weekend matches for the first time this season.

MERRY KATIE AND ASHLEY
Senior outside hitter Katie Johnson has earned impressive offensive numbers throughout the 2007 season in service rankings. Johnson has served 24 aces this season, second most on the team, and averages 0.32 aces/game, good for 10th in conference standings. Johnson is among conference leaders in various categories, ranking seventh in points per game (4.84) and ninth in kills per game (4.14).

Classmate outside hitter Ashley Schatzle leads Michigan State in kills (316) and is second among teammates in digs (211). Schatzle also has numbers high enough to put her in the conference rankings, where she sits seventh with 4.27 kills per game; she also ranks ninth averaging 4.72 points/game. Additionally, the senior has tallied a team-leading nine double-doubles so far this season.

At the Harvard Invitational, Schatzle passed the 1,000 mark in career kills and now has totaled 1,122 kills in her three seasons for the Green and White; she also set a new career-high hitting percentage mark against Wofford with .667.

NOBODY DOES IT LIKE JENILEE
Topping the defensive effort at the net, Jenilee Rathje set a Big Ten Conference record when she recorded 11 blocks in MSU's match against Harvard. For her effort, Rathje was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, Sept. 10. The conference record was previously held by teammate Vanessa King, who tallied 10 blocks against Purdue on Oct. 11, 2006.

Rathje currently leads MSU with 83 total blocks (seven BS, 76 BA), averaging 1.14 BPG.

THE O'REILLY FACTOR
Freshman Lauren O'Reilly has jumped right into her role in running the offense. The starting setter has posted 968 assists so far this season, averaging 12.91 assists/game, good for third in the Big Ten rankings. O'Reilly also leads the Spartan serving offense with 31 aces. She averages 0.41 aces per game, which ranks third among conference leaders.

KING OF THE NET
Sophomore middle blocker Vanessa King has sparked the Spartan offense since the beginning of Big Ten action; King's conference hitting average, .323, is seventh-best among Big Ten leaders. In league play, King has posted 38 blocks (two solo, 36 assist) in 34 games, compared to 28 blocks (one solo, 27 assist) in 39 non-conference games. Additonally, over the season, King has posted double-digit kills in six matches.

In 2006, King posted one of the best defensive performances by a freshman in Michigan State history. She saw action in all 31 matches, and finished the year ranked third with 87 block assists and tied for fifth with 1.00 blocks per game in the MSU freshman record book.

THE INCREDIBLE HOHLK
Senior outside hitter Jessica Hohl paces the starters' hitting percentage category with .290. Hohl has 138 kills on 317 attempts with 46 hitting errors. Additionally, this is Hohl's third season to earn more than 100 kills for the Spartans, totaling 638 in her career.

MSU MILESTONES
Head coach Cathy George picked up her 400th career win against Wofford on Sept. 7, 2007 at the Harvard Invitational; George is now 409-263 all time. George entered her third season with the Spartans with a 396-254 record, accumulated in more than 20 years worth of coaching at North Dakota State, Texas-Arlington, Western Michigan, and MSU.

HEAD COACH Cathy George
Third-year head coach Cathy George entered the 2007 campaign riding high on last year's successes. Guiding MSU to the 2006 NCAA Tournament in just her second season at the helm of the Spartan program, George has quickly led the Green and White back to its place as a nationally-prominent program. George led a rebuilding Spartan squad to a 19-12 overall record, including a 10-10 (6th) Big Ten Conference mark in 2006, and its first trip to postseason play since 2003. During her first season with the Spartans (2005), George directed MSU to a 12-18 record, including a 5-15, ninth-place finish in the conference standings. Overall, George holds an MSU overall record of 44-39 and conference mark of 19-31.

36 and COUNTING
MSU's 2007 campaign marks the beginning of the 36th season of Spartan volleyball. Carol Davis was the first head coach in the history of the program during the 1972 season and led the Spartans through the 1973 campaign. Current head coach Cathy George is the fifth head coach in MSU volleyball history. Before calling Jenison Field House its home prior to the 1991 season, Spartan volleyball played its home contests at IM West.

GREEN and WHITE ATTENDANCE
As years past, the Spartans continue to attract fans to Jenison Field House for home matches. At the Spartan Invitational, 3,106 fans attended MSU's three weekend matches, helping State sweep their opponents to win the tournament. Hosting Iowa for the Green Hair Dare, 1,760 fans set the 2007 attendance record. So far in 2007, a total of 12,549 fans have attended matches in Jenison Field House; Michigan State averages 1,394 attendees a match.

MSU drew its largest crowd in recent history on Nov. 22, 2006, when it hosted cross-state rival Michigan; 2,812 fans watched the Spartans sweep the match and ultimately the 2006 series.

SCHEDULE NOTE
Michigan State will face nine teams that competed in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, (Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, St. John's, Southern California and Wisconsin) including six (Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Southern California and Wisconsin) that were ranked in the 2007 preseason poll by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).

NEXT IN LINE
The Spartans travel to Wisconsin and Illinois Nov. 2-3 for a weekend pair. The Spartans lost to Wisconsin in four games and Illinois in five earlier this season. The Badgers currently rank second in the conference while the Fighting Illini are tied for seventh.