MSU Begin Second Half of B1G Play at Jenison
Oct. 31, 2013
Michigan State opens up the second half of Big Ten play by welcoming Ohio State and Penn State to Jenison Field House. Saturday's game will air live on the Big Ten Network, with Mike Wolf and Audrey Flaugh on the call.
MSU's losing streak has reached four matches, falling in four sets to No. 17 Michigan last Wendesday in front of a Jenison record crowd (3-1) and losing to Indiana, 3-2, on Saturday to complete the first half of the Big Ten Season The previous week, MSU dropped matches to No. 10 Minnesota (2-3), and No. 15 Wisconsin (1-3), on the road. It is MSU's longest losing streak since a six-game skid late in the 2010 season.
Ohio State is 14-8 on the season. The Buckeyes, who entered Big Ten play as the lone unbeaten in non-conference games, has gone 2-8 since the start of the Big Ten season. MSU defeated OSU, 3-0, in Columbus in the first weekend of the Conference season, which snapped a six-match losing streak to the Buckeyes.
When MSU and OSU met in September, both Lauren Wicinski and Chloe Reinig finished with 12 kills. Kristen Kelsay had 19 assists, and Halle Peterson had 18. Senior Alexis Mathews recorded her 500th career block, the 36th athlete in Big Ten history and fourth at MSU to accomplish the feat. She also had nine kills in the match. For OSU, Kaitlyn Leary had a double-double with 10 kills and 10 blocks, Taylor Sandbothe had 12 kills and three blocks, and Taylor Sherwin had a game-best 37 assists.
On Saturday, MSU tangles with Big Ten-leading Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won nine straight since the Spartans downed the defending Big Ten champions in the conference opener, and are 19-2 record overall. Saturday's game against Penn State will air live on the Big Ten Network .
in the earlier meeting of the Spartans with Penn State, MSU picked up its first win in State College since 2001, and its first overall since 2002, an 18-match winning streak for PSU. Michigan State got 21 kills, two aces, and nine digs from Lauren Wicinski and a double-double from Kristen Kelsay. Both Wicinski and Taylor Galloway finished just shy of a double-double, as Galloway had 10 kills and nine digs. Chloe Reinig had 12 kills in her Big Ten debut. For Penn State, Arial Scott had 18 kills, eight digs, and five blocks; Katie Slay had 11 kills and six blocks, and Micha Hancock had 57 assists and nine kills.
GENERAL TEAM NOTES
At 6-4, MSU has compiled its best first-half Big Ten record under Cathy George. Last year, MSU went 4-6, but went 7-3 in the second half to finish 11-9
Michigan State fell four spots in the AVCA Top 25 this week, and is ranked No. 14. On Oct. 14, 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 seven teams in the top-25 again this week, and all are in the top 17. Penn State remained at No. 2, while Minnesota is No. 10, and Nebraska is No. 11 MSU is No. 14, followed by No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 16 Purdue, and No. 17 Michigan. Ohio State, Illinois and Northwestern are receiving votes in the poll. MSU has fallen nine spots, from No. 5 to No. 14, during its four-match, two-week losing streak.
According to the latest RPI report released by the NCAA on Monday, 10 Big Ten teams appear in the top 50, including seven in the top 25, the most among all conferences. Penn State leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 11 Minnesota, No. 22 Illinois, No. 23 Michigan State, No. 25 Michigan, No. 30 Purdue, No. 37 Ohio State and No. 46 Northwestern.
MSU is now 4-3 against ranked teams this season. The Spartans have won twice when ranked lower than their opponent (against Oregon and Penn State), and are 2-3 when ranked higher.
Before the recent four-game skid, the Spartans had won 15 consecutive matches dating back to the opening tournament at Virginia Tech. It was the sixth-longest winning streak in program history, and the longest winning streak since the 1996 season.
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 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 2.61 blocks per set is third in the Big Ten and ranks 39th nationally. MSU has turned in some of its highest blocking totals of the season over the last four matches - it had 15.0 against Michigan (second), 13.0 blocks against Minnesota (third), and 10.0 against both Wisconsin and Indiana (fourth). The Spartans'm season-high is 15.5 blocks in the win over Virginia Tech.
MSU averages 1.67 service aces per set, which leads the Big Ten and ranks 18th nationally. The Spartans have 132 aces on the season, nearly double its opponents (74).
As a team, the Spartans are hitting .254, which is fourth in Conference and 42nd nationally. MSU's kills per set (13.46) is fourth 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, 31,730 fans over nine home matches, currently ranks fifth nationally; its average of 2,885 per game ranks ninth. MSU's crowd of 6,183 for the Michigan match on Oct. 23 set an attendance record for the volleyball program at Jenison Field House. The only larger crowd for the Spartans was In 2010, when MSU played its senior night match at the Breslin Center; the 6,824 in attendance was the largest to ever attend a Spartan home volleyball match.
Senior Lauren Wicinski has a total of 2,216 career kills. She ranks second all-time at MSU, and needs 76 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 is 28th all-time in the NCAA annals.
Against Michigan, Wicinski connected on 18 kills, had a season-best 16 digs, and had two service aces. She had 62 attempts on the night, eight shy of the career-high 70 that she turned in the previous Thursday at Minnesota. Against Indiana, she had a game-high 16 kills, eight digs, and two aces.
Wicinski is third in the Big Ten in kills/set (4.45), which is 19th nationally, and ranks ninth nationally and leads the Big Ten in points (5.25/set). She ranks second in the Big Ten in service aces (0.45 per set), which is 19th nationally.
Wicinski leads the country's active players in several categories. She ranks first among active players in career kills (2,216), total attempts (5,087), and aces (258); she's second in kills/set (4.79), 13th in attempts per game (10.96), 13th in sets played (454) and tied for 17th in matches played (125).
Wicinski is MSU's career record holder in service aces (258), which is fourth all-time in the Big Ten. She had four aces in each of the last five weekends, and has 33 on the season. She ranks third all-time at MSU and is ninth all-time in the Big Ten in attack attempts (5,087).
Wicinski is one of 10 finalists 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. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website (www.SeniorCLASSaward.com) through December 9. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner, who will be announced during the NCAA Division I Championship weekend.
Mathews leads the Big Ten and is 14th nationally in hitting percentage (.427) and is second in the B1G in blocks per set (1.53), which ranks sixth nationally.
Mathews owns a .343 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 (559).
Mathews moved into the Big Ten's 500-blocks club on Sept. 29th against Ohio State. With 559 career blocks, she currently ranks 24th 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. Over the last four matches, Mathews has 35 blocks.
Junior libero Kori Moster has twice in the last two weeks tied her career best with 29 kills, (against Minnesota, and Michigan), originally set against San Diego in the NCAA Tournament last December.
Moster leads the Big Ten in digs per set (4.65). She has 1,443 in her career, which is third place all-time at MSU. She needs 42 more to move past Veronica Morales, who holds the school record with 1,484.
Moster is currently 24th in the Big Ten all-time in digs, and is 60th 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. She has 367 in 2013, with 10 regular-season matches remaining, plus post-season.
Freshman Allyssah Fitterer compiled 10 kills, three blocks, and three digs against Michigan, one shy of her career best in kills. She contributed five kills, four blocks, and four kills against the Hoosiers.
Chloe Reinig averages 2.91 kills per set and is hitting .292 on the season. 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.
Reinig has 11+ kills in eight of her 10 career Big Ten matches. She was held below 10 against Iowa (7) and Minnesota (9).
Kristen Kelsay averaged 26.5 assists in two games last week. She owns 2,740 career assists, good for sixth place at MSU all-time.
With Michigan State running a 6-2 offense, neither Kelsay (6.91 A/s) nor sophomore (and 2012 Big Ten All-Freshman team honoree) Halle Peterson (4.54) rank among the conference's top five in assists. As a team, however, the Spartans rank sixth in assists per set, (12.5).
Taylor Galloway had 12 digs against Indiana, and also had three kills and two aces.
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