Oct. 31, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Spartan volleyball returns home for contests with Iowa on Friday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. and against No. 4 Nebraska on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast on SpartanSportsNetwork.com with Keaton Gillogly on the call at Jenison Field House.
WATCH: Iowa and Nebraska Preview
A Look at the Spartans
Junior Lauren Wicinski leads MSU on the outside and tops the conference in points (5.34), service aces (0.58) and kills per set (4.45). Alexis Mathews, a native of Detroit, Mich., is the anchor in the middle for the Spartans and she is fourth in the conference with 1.24 blocks per set and also has a .382 hitting percentage, seventh-best in the Big Ten. Sophomore libero Kori Moster reels in 4.59 digs per set, third best in the conference and also averages 0.31 service aces per set. At setter, Kristen Kelsay leads the Spartans with 7.18 assists per set and freshman Halle Peterson brings in 4.67 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 503-335. MSU made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
Recapping Last Week
The Last Meeting
September 29, 2012
Iowa City, Iowa
No. 24 Michigan State Sweeps Iowa, 3-0
No. 24 MSU volleyball defeated Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 3-0. The Spartans won by scores of 25-19, 25-16 and 25-22. The sweep against the Hawkeyes gave head coach Cathy George her 500th career win, becoming the 34th active coach to reach the 500 win milestone.
Michigan State went 1-1 over the past weekend, defeating Indiana, 3-1, before falling to then-No. 21 Purdue, 3-2. It was the second five-set loss against the Boilermakers this season. Against the Hoosiers, senior Amy Dentlinger
recorded 14 kills, hitting a team-best, .667 percent. In a heartbreaking loss against the Boilermakers, junior Lauren Wicinski
had 21 kills, 12 digs and five service aces.
The Hawkeyes are 10-15 on the season and on a six-match losing streak. They were swept by both Penn State and Ohio State last weekend at home. Iowa is led on the outside by Alex Lovell and Rachael Bedell and both are averaging more than 3.00 kills per set. Junior Bethany Yeager is second in the Big Ten in digs with 4.61 per set and Nikki Dailey is ninth in the conference with 9.56 assists per set.
Series History: MSU is 39-24 all-time against the Hawkeyes.
Last Meeting: The Spartans topped beat Iowa, 3-0, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sept. 29, 2012.
Coach: Sharon Dingman is in her fifth season at the helm of Iowa.
A Glance at the Huskers
The Last Meeting
September 26, 2012
No. 24 Michigan State Volleyball Falls to No. 6 Nebraska, 3-0
No. 24 Michigan State (13-2, 1-2 Big Ten) lost to No. 6 Nebraska (10-3, 2-1 Big Ten) in three sets at the Nebraska Coliseum. MSU lost the first two sets by scores of 17-25 and 16-25 and got out to a fast start in the third set but eventually dropped the game, 25-22.
No. 4 Nebraska is 18-3 overall and 10-2 in the Big Ten, the Huskers are coming off a 3-2 win over top-ranked Penn State and a 3-1 loss to Ohio State. Senior Gina Mancuso leads the Huskers with 3.39 kills per set and freshman Meghan Haggerty is fourth in the Big Ten with a .388 hitting percentage. Senior Lauren Cook is third in the conference with 11.20 assists per set and junior Hayley Thramer ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 1.17 blocks per set.
Series History: MSU is 0-11-2 against the Huskers.
Last Meeting: Michigan State fell to Nebraska, 3-0, on Sept. 26, 2012.
Coach: John Cook is in his 12th season with Nebraska and has won two National Championships at Nebraska.
The Spartans fell to then-No. 21 Purdue at Holloway Gymnasium on Saturday, Oct. 27. Michigan State is now 1-4 in five set matches on the season and all four losses have been against ranked opponents. MSU beat IPFW in five but has lost to Purdue, at Minnesota, Illinois and at Purdue.
Volleyball in November
MSU has only eight matches left in the regular season, five of them at home inside Jenison Field House. Michigan State still has road contests at Illinois, Northwestern and Penn State.
All MSU Friday home matches allow fans the opportunity to purchase the "Friday 4 Pack." This gives fans four tickets, four drinks, and four hotdogs, nachos or pretzels and can be purchased in advance only.
On Saturday, fans that present a ticket stub from the MSU vs. Nebraska football game will receive free admission to the match.
Rating Percentage Index
Michigan State is currently No. 46 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. The Spartans have lost to six conference opponents that are currently ranked ahead of them in the RPI and hosts No. 3 Nebraska this weekend. Four of the remaining eight opponents are ranked inside the top 50 of the RPI.
Back at Home
Michigan State returns home for a stretch of four matches at Jenison Field House, beginning this weekend with Iowa and Nebraska. Next weekend, MSU will host Minnesota on Nov. 9 and Wisconsin on Nov. 10. The Spartans are 7-4 at home this season but just 1-4 in Big Ten matches at home.
Wicinski Player of the Week
Junior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski was named the Big Ten Player of the Week as announced by the conference office on Monday, Oct. 22. Wicinski tallied 18 kills, nine digs and two solo blocks in a 3-0 sweep at Michigan. Against No. 20 Ohio State, Wicinski had a season-high 29 kills, four service aces, six digs and two blocks in a tough 3-1 loss to the Buckeyes.
Wicinski is the third Spartan to earn recognition from the Big Ten this season as Kori Moster and Alexis Mathews were each named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 3 and Sept. 17 respectively.
Mathews and Moster on Defense
Junior middle blocker Alexis Mathews is third in the conference in blocks per set with 1.24 and Mathews is also second all-time in blocks per set at Michigan State. Mathews ranks seventh in the Big Ten in hitting percentage with a .382 mark.
Libero Kori Moster is third in the conference in digs with 4.59 per set and is also on pace for second all-time at MSU in digs per set. Moster is also sixth in the conference in service aces with 0.31 per set. Both Mathews and Moster have been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week this season.
Wicinski Leading the Big Ten
Junior Lauren Wicinski is leading the conference in points per set (5.34), kills (4.45) and aces (0.58), in her first action in the Big Ten after transferring from Northern Illinois. Wicinski has notched more than 10 kills in 22 of 24 matches this season at outside hitter.
Another Double-Double for Galloway
Taylor Galloway notched another double-double this past weekend with 13 kills and 13 digs in a 3-2 loss at Purdue. It was her fifth of the season and she is second on the team in double-doubles behind Lauren Wicinski with seven.
Hitting Percentage Tells the Story
The Spartans have been out hit in six matches this season and has lost each one of them. Michigan State fell to then-No. 20 Ohio State 3-1 on Oct. 20 and all six losses have been against Big Ten opponents.
Big Ten Level Volleyball
After starting the season 12-0 in non-conference play, MSU is 5-7 in the Big Ten. Six of its seven losses have come against ranked opponents in the conference.
Michigan State has struggled offensively as the competition level has increased. MSU is hitting .227 percent in conference play and was averaging a mark above .300 in non-conference play. Opponents in the Big Ten are averaging a .224 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 1,597 fans through 11 home matches this season.
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 503-335 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.
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.