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Volleyball Opens Second Half of Big Ten Season at Home

Oct. 29, 2009

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State opens the second half of the conference season with home matches against Iowa and Wisconsin. On Friday, against the Hawkeyes, MSU will look to enact revenge for the loss suffered earlier this season in Iowa City. The following night, against the Badgers, the Spartans will look to split the season series with Wisconsin. Both matches are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be streamed live at Fans are reminded that due to the hockey game on Friday, volleyball patrons are asked to park at the Kellogg Center parking structure, which is located on Harrison Road.

This Week for the Spartans
(rv) Michigan State (14-8, 2-8) vs. Iowa (11-11, 3-7)
Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 • 6:30 p.m. ET
East Lansing, Mich. • Jenison Field House
TV: (live streaming)
Live stats:

Series Information
• MSU leads 33-24
Last meetings:
Oct. 11, 2009 • Iowa City, Iowa
UI def. MSU, 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-19)
Nov. 28, 2008 • East Lansing, Mich.
MSU def. UI, 3-1 (28-26, 15-25, 25-22, 25-15)

(rv) Michigan State (14-8, 2-8) vs. Wisconsin (10-9, 5-5)
Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009 • 6:30 p.m. ET
East Lansing, Mich. • Jenison Field House
TV: (live streaming)
Live stats:

Series Information
• UW leads 43-20
Last meetings:
Oct. 9, 2009 • Madison, Wis.
UW def. MSU, 3-0 (25-16, 27-25, 29-27)
Nov. 22, 2008 • Madison, Wis.
MSU def. UW, 3-2 (26-24, 23-25, 27-25, 21-25, 15-7)

Last Time Out
The Spartans returned to the Breslin Center for a match against No. 11 Michigan on Wednesday. The Wolverines downed Michigan State, 3-0, but MSU remained strong until the very end, falling by only seven points total. On Friday, the Spartans traveled to Minneapolis for a match against No. 9 Minnesota. MSU found itself ahead two sets to one, but dropped the final two sets, falling 3-2. Even though Michigan State dropped both matches, MSU saw strong efforts each night from the team. Against the Wolverines, Megan Schatzle posted a team-high nine kills while adding two blocks. On Friday, Becca Zlabis tallied her sixth double-double of the season when she recorded 16 kills with 13 digs.



Scouting the Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes have posted a record of 11-11, with a 3-7 Big Ten record. Iowa is led up front by Megan Schipper who currently leads the team with 240 kills, 89 of those have occurred in Big Ten play. Mara Hilgenberg quarterbacks the Hawkeye offense, tallying 313 assists in conference play and 740 overall. The backcourt is led by Christina Meister who is currently averaging 4.45 digs per set overall and 4.00 in conferences matches. Becky Walters has tallied 61 total blocks this season, while seeing 28 of those in Big Ten play. Head coach Sharon Dingman is currently in her second season with the Hawkeyes. Dingman currently boasts a career record of 25-29.

Scouting the Badgers
The Badgers enter the weekend with a 10-9 overall record, while also posting a 5-5 conference record. Janelle Gabrielsen is leading the team with 692 assists this season, with 367 of those coming in conference action. Pacing the attack is Brittney Dolgner who has tallied 120 kills in conference play and 220 overall. Elle Ohlander leads the team with 47 blocks, tallying 24 in the conference. At the helm of the Badgers is 11th-year head coach Pete Waite. Waite is the winningest coach in Wisconsin volleyball history, tallying 257 victories.

Redshirt-freshman Mandi Karaba and junior Allyson Karaba are the third set of sisters to play under coach Cathy George during her Spartan tenure. The first pair of sisters occurred in 2005 when Marley Bellwood and Tracy Bellwood played with one another for 76 matches in Coach George's first season. The other pairing was of All-American Ashley Schatzle and current junior Megan Schatzle. Together, the Schatzle's played in four matches together whereas the Karaba's have participated in 20 matches this season with one another. The Karaba's currently equate for 35 percent of the team's 1,063 digs this season. Allyson and Mandi know what it takes to be successful on the court, having led their North Muskegon high school team to a Class C state championship during the 2006 season.

On Deck
The Spartans travel to the state of Illinois for matches on Nov. 6-7. On Friday, MSU travel to Northwestern. The following night, Michigan State will battle Illinois. The match against the Wildcats will be streamed live at beginning at 8 p.m. ET. MSU looks for its first season sweep of the Wildcats since 2004 and first sweep of the Illini since 2006.

Follow the Leader
Junior Megan Schatzle has followed in the foot-steps of older sister Ashley Schatzle. Ashley, a third-team AVCA All-American in 2007, led the team with 553 kills during the year. Megan, like her older sister, is currently leading the 2009 squad with 243 kills on the season. MSU hopes Megan follows the path her older sister paved for her, as the last time MSU made it to the NCAA Tournament was Ashley's senior season.

Sophomore Sensations
With the 2008 No. 7 recruiting class able to see ample amount of court time last season, the sophomore class seems to really be finding their element this season. Collectively, the class has amounted for 638 of the 1,122 team kills. Also, the sophomores have also accounted for 175 total blocks. Having added redshirt-sophomore Jenilee Rathje to their class, the Spartans are bound for success in the years to come. The class has collectively earned three of the four MVP honors this season for the Spartans.

Movin' On Up
Sophomore Natalie Emro currently ranks sixth all-time in career assists with 2,099. Senior Vanessa King recently moved into sixth place all-time with 423 total blocks in a career. King also ranks fourth all-time with 386 block assists.

Big Ten Rankings
The Spartans currently boast four members ranking in the Big Ten individually. Sophomore Natalie Emro currently is fourth in the conference with 10.40 assists per set, while ranking eighth in aces per set with 0.28. Junior Allyson Karaba is third in the conference with 4.20 digs per set. Senior Vanessa King ranks ninth in both blocks per set, with 1.10, and hitting percentage, with .340.

Lucky No. 12
Both of the Spartans' upset wins over AVCA ranked opponents have been ranked 12th at the time of the match. The first meeting occurred on Aug. 28 in MSU's first match of the season against Southern California. This past weekend against Illinois on Oct. 2, Michigan State once against posted a win over a 12th-ranked team. Both matches have been 3-2 wins in favor of the Spartans.

It's All In the Rankings
MSU is currently tabbed as the 23rd-ranked team in the recent NCAA Division I Volleyball RPI Rankings. The Spartans are one of five Big Ten schools to be ranked in the top-25, trailing only the Pac-10 with seven for the most from a conference within the nation. Michigan State trails only No. 3 Penn State, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Minnesota and No. 6 Michigan within the conference. RPI is one of several tools used to select teams for the NCAA Championship.

Home Sweet Home
The Spartans are the midst of closing out the month of October with five of six matches in East Lansing.

* All events on will be available for just $2.99 per event, significantly less expensive than the cost of most other collegiate streaming services. The streaming initiative will offer two major benefits. First, it will allow fans to follow teams and sports that for the most part received significantly less coverage than other sports. And second, students on campus will have the opportunity to help produce the streamed events and learn more about television sports production, a highly competitive field. Furthermore, the 200 streamed events are in addition to the more than 350 events already airing on the network, creating a total of approximately 550 campus events the Big Ten Network is bringing to fans.

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