Nov. 1, 2007
THIS WEEK FOR THE SPARTANS
MICHIGAN STATE at #7 WISCONSIN
Friday, Nov. 2, 2007 8 p.m. ET
Madison, Wis. Wisconsin Field House
Radio: www.msuspartans.com; John Kreger (PBP)
Live stats: www.msuspartans.com
Series Information: Wisconsin leads 41-18
Last Meetings: September 29, 2007 East Lansing, Mich.; UW def. MSU, 3-1 (30-26, 30-18, 25-30, 30-17)
MICHIGAN STATE at ILLINOIS
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007 8 p.m. ET
Champaign, Ill. Huff Hall
Radio: www.msuspartans.com; John Kreger (PBP)
Live stats: www.msuspartans.com
Series Information: Illinois leads 38-24
Last Meeting: September 28, 2007 East Lansing, Mich.; IU def. MSU, 3-2 (27-30, 20-30, 30-28, 30-25, 15-12)
PDF of Complete Match Notes and Stats
Coach George's Weekly Press Conference
Coach George's Weekly Podcast
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Looking to break out of the five-way tie for sixth place in conference standings, Michigan State volleyball plays a pair of road matches this weekend. The Spartans will visit the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers Friday at 8 p.m., before taking on Illinois' Fighting Illini Saturday at 8 p.m.
SCOUTING THE BADGERS
No. 7 Wisconsin volleyball team kept its hopes of a Big Ten Conference title alive with a 3-1 win at Purdue on Saturday night. The Badgers downed the Boilermakers 30-14, 30-19, 26-30, 30-23 to improve to 19-2 overall and stay in second place in the Big Ten at 11-1. Earlier in the week, Wisconsin overcame a late-match surge by Indiana and won a five-game thriller in Bloomington, Ind. The Badgers edged the Hoosiers 30-23, 30-20, 29-31, 28-30, 16-14.
Among conference leaders, Wisconsin ranks second in hitting percentage and third in kills per game, led by sophomore Brittany Dolgner, who averages the second-most KPG (4.76). In defensive standings, the Badgers average 3.36 blocks per game, good for third in the league, paced by senior Taylor Reineke's 1.64 BPG.
SCOUTING THE FIGHTING ILLINI
Freshman outside hitter Laura DeBruler had 23 kills and senior middle blocker Vicki Brown hit .550 with 14 kills as Illinois held off Indiana for a 30-26, 30-26, 26-30, 30-27 victory in Bloomington Saturday night. The win marked the sixth straight road victory for Illinois, all in conference play, and moves the Illini into a tie for third in the league in a tight pack in the middle of the Big Ten standings. In its Friday match, Illinois stunned the home Purdue Boilermakers in a three-game Big Ten sweep by game scores of 30-26, 30-28, 30-28.
The Fighting Illini's DeBruler leads the Big Ten, averaging 4.91 kills per game and 5.39 points per game. Johannah Bangert and Vicki Brown rank eighth and ninth in the conference with their .347 and .345 hitting percentages, respectively.
LAST TIME OUT
Picking up its fifth conference win Saturday night, MSU (14-10, 5-7) defeated No. 20 Michigan in the 13th annual Jam Jenison. The Spartans took games one and two before the Wolverines picked up a win, but MSU rallied and stunned its intrstate rival in game four for a 3-1 win (38-36, 30-25, 26-30, 30-27) in front of 2,286 fans. The Spartans sit in a six-way tie for fifth place in the Big Ten with Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Ohio State.
Ashley Schatzle set a career high with 27 kills and tied her career best with 19 digs to earn her 11th double-double of the season. The senior also posted a solid .411 hitting percentage on 56 attempts. Freshman setter Lauren O'Reilly directed the offense with a career high 60 assists.
Freshman middle blocker Jenilee Rathje also had a career night, posting 12 kills on 28 attacks and also tallied nine blocks, all career-high numbers. Katie Johnson and Vanessa King tallied double-digits in kills, 17 and 11 respectively, while Miken Trogdon put up 16 digs.
With totals of 76 kills and 69 assists, the Spartans set season-high team records in both categories.
In Wednesday's match, MSU couldn't hold off the Northwestern Wildcats at the Welsh-Ryan Arena, falling in four games (33-31, 27-30, 30-27, 30-24) despite three Spartan double-doubles. Johnson led the Spartans with 25 kills and 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the season, while O'Reilly and Schatzle also posted double-doubles.
O'Reilly led the Spartans with 45 assists and tacked on 11 digs; Schatzle put up 14 kills and tallied 13 digs. Miken Trogdon led the Spartans with 17 digs, tying her career high. Johnson also tied a season high with five aces.
MERRY KATIE AND ASHLEY
Senior outside hitter Katie Johnson has earned impressive offensive numbers throughout the 2007 season. Johnson has served 30 aces this season, second most on the team, and averages 0.37 aces/game, good for seventh in conference standings. Johnson had tallied five aces in a match twice in 2007, most recently against Northwestern on Oct. 24.
Johnson is among conference leaders in various categories, ranking sixth in points per game (5.02) and eighth in kills per game (4.24). With 348 kills, Johnson has recorded the second-most kills on the team. Additionally, Johnson has tallied double-digit kills in 18 matches and double-digit digs in four. She has paced the team in kills 12 times this season.
Against Northwestern on Oct. 24, Johnson logged a new season high in kills, cranking out 25 against the Wildcats.
Classmate outside hitter Ashley Schatzle is first among teammates in kills (357) and second in digs (243). Schatzle also has numbers high enough to put her in the conference rankings, where she sits sixth with 4.35 kills per game; she also ranks eighth averaging 4.82 points/game.
Having led the Spartans in kills in 14 matches this season, the senior has tallied a team-leading 11 double-doubles. Schatzle has posted double-digit kill numbers in 20 matches and double-digit dig figures in 15 matches.
At the Harvard Invitational, Schatzle passed the 1,000 mark in career kills and now has totaled 1,198 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. Since, Rathje has posted four games with 11 kills, most recently in the Spartans' 3-0 loss at Purdue, and set a new career high with 12 kills against Michigan on Oct. 27.
Rathje currently leads MSU with 98 total blocks (eight BS, 90 BA), averaging 1.21 BPG.
THE O'REILLY FACTOR
Freshman Lauren O'Reilly has jumped right into her role in running the offense. The starting setter has posted 1,073 assists so far this season, averaging 12.93 assists/game, good for third in the Big Ten rankings. O'Reilly also leads the Spartan serving offense with 32 aces. She averages 0.39 aces per game, which ranks fourth among conference leaders.
O'Reilly earned her first career Big Ten Player of the Week award on Oct. 22, guiding Michigan State to its first conference weekend sweep of the season with wins over Iowa and No. 13 Minnesota. She combined for 17 assists per game on the weekend with 48 against the Hawkeyes and 54 against the Golden Gophers; the latter ties for fourth in the MSU record book in assists in a three-game match.
Behind O'Reilly, the Spartans hit at a combined .326 clip over the weekend, including a .400 mark against the nationally-ranked Gophers. The Langley, British Columbia, native also recorded five service aces on the weekend, including match point on Saturday to seal the Spartans' upset over Minnesota.
KING OF THE NET
Sophomore middle blocker Vanessa King has sparked the Spartan's defense at the net since beginning Big Ten action; in league play, King has posted 50 blocks (two solo, 48 assist) in 42 games, averaging 1.19 BPG, compared to 28 blocks (one solo, 27 assist) in 39 non-conference games, averaging 0.72 BPG. 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 .291. Hohl has 144 kills on 330 attempts with 48 hitting errors. Additionally, this is Hohl's third season to earn more than 100 kills for the Spartans, totaling 644 in her career.
TROGDON IN THE TRENCHES
Starting libero Miken Trogdon continues hold down the backcourt for Michigan State, leading the Spartans in total digs (231) and digs per game (3.12). The senior has paces the Spartans's defensive statistic, tallying 12 matches with digs in double digits and recording the most digs in 11 matches, including the last six consecutive bouts.
Head coach Cathy George picked up her 400th career win against Wofford on Sept. 7, 2007 at the Harvard Invitational; George is now 409-264 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 44-40 and conference mark of 19-32.
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.
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.