| Michigan State (17-7, 6-5 Big Ten) vs. Iowa (11-14, 1-11 Big Ten)
||Friday, Nov. 4 - 8 p.m. ET
||Iowa City, Iowa | Carver-Hawkeye Arena
| Game Notes
||Michigan State | Iowa
| Live Stats
| Live Video (Pay)
| Social Media
||@MichStVB | Facebook
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State volleyball team (17-7, 6-6 Big Ten) hits the road this weekend for a pair of conference matches against Iowa (11-14, 1-11 Big Ten) and No. 2 Nebraska (18-2, 11-1 Big Ten). The Spartans open the weekend on Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. ET against the Hawkeyes, before facing the Huskers on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Both contests will have live video streamed on the Big Ten Digital Network at BTN.com.
Scouting Michigan State
Leading the squad on the outside are seniors Kyndra Abron and Jenilee Rathje. To date, Rathje has recorded 4.51 kills per set, while Abron currently boasts 3.42 kills a set. At the net, Alexis Mathews leads the Green and White in blocks with 1.22 per set. In the backcourt, Kori Moster anchors the defense with 3.79 digs per set, starting the last 17 matches as MSU's libero.
Head coach Cathy George is in her seventh season at the helm of the Spartans, compiling a record of 116-99 at MSU. In her 25 seasons as a head coach, George has appeared in eight NCAA tournaments, including being the first woman to coach in the NCAA Division I Final Four in 1989. During her time at MSU, the Spartans have appeared in the tournament in three of her six seasons, including an NCAA Regional Semi-final appearance in 2007.
Iowa currently boasts a record of 11-14 and 1-11 in the conference. The Hawkeyes are led up at the net by Alex Lovell. Lovell currently has 2.61 kills per set on the year. Defensively, Bethany Yeager and Mallory Husz are the top defenders in the back row and at the net, respectively. Yeager has 4.37 digs per set while Husz has 0.97 blocks per set.
Series History: The Spartans lead in the all-time series, 37-24.
Last Meeting: MSU topped to Iowa earlier this season by a score of 3-0 in East Lansing.
Coach: Sharon Dingman is in her fourth season at the reigns of the Hawkeyes, going 381-285 over the course of her career and 45-73 with Iowa.
Nebraska currently sits at 18-2 overall and 11-1 in the Big Ten, ranking second in the latest AVCA poll. Leading the Huskers offensively is Gina Mancuso. After 10 weekends of action, Mancuso has tallied 3.62 kills per set. Defensively, Lara Dykstra has recorded 3.58 digs a set while Hayley Thramer leads the team at the net with 1.26 blocks per set.
Series History: MSU trails in the all-time series, 9-0-2.
Last Meeting: The Spartans lost to the Huskers, 3-2, at home earlier this season.
Coach: The Huskers are coached by Head Coach, who is in his 11th season with Nebraska and posts an all-time record of 515-104, going 354-31 with the school.
Recapping Last Weekend
The Green and White posted a 3-1 win over Indiana to open the second half of conference action in East Lansing. Leading the Spartans offensively were middle blockers sophomore Alexis Mathews and freshman Jazmine White.
The Spartans dropped a tough match to No. 11 Purdue, 3-1, on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Jenison Field House. Senior Jenilee Rathje paced the Green and White with a team-best 17 kills against the Boilermakers.
It Starts At The Top
MSU has received plenty of support this season offensively from its senior class. A group which entered Michigan State as the seventh-ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2008, the seniors added Jenilee Rathje to their class following her redshirt season. Currently this season, the seniors make-up 69-percent of the team's offense, with 379 kills coming from Rathje and 291 kills coming for 2009 AVCA All-America Honorable Mention Kyndra Abron. Defensively, the senior class makes up for 51-percent of the team's total dig tally, lead by Weiler and Rathje's 183 digs, each. At the net, the senior class comprises 86-percent of the team's block total. Abron paces the group with the second-most on the team, 70 blocks.
The Spartans have found success in 3-0 matches this season, posting an 11-2 record. Of MSU's 17 wins thus far this year, 11 of which of been 3-0 sweeps for the Green and White. MSU started off the season by winning the first six matches of the season in straight sets, the first time since 1975 the Spartans have topped their first six opponents without dropping a set.
Freshman Kori Moster was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Sept. 26. The award marked the first in Moster's career. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native concluded the first half of conference play with a pair of 20+ digs performances to earn both Big Ten Freshman of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week laurels on Oct. 24.
Come One, Come All
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2011 Michigan State volleyball season. Reserved seat season tickets are priced at $56 for adults and $28 for youth and seniors, while general admission season tickets are priced at $42 for adults and $28 for youth and seniors. With the purchase of season volleyball tickets fans also earn three Spartan Points for each consecutive year they maintain Spartan volleyball tickets. Spartan Points help in determining seat adjustments for both men's basketball and football. With the next seat adjustment occurring in 2014, fans have the opportunity to earn up to nine (9) Spartan Points to their account via the purchase of volleyball season tickets for the next four seasons.
Prior to the 2011 season, several Spartans were recognized for their work both on and off the court. Senior Jenilee Rathje was tabbed as one of 17-members of the Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Rathje found herself on the conference coaches' radars after earning first-team All-Big Ten and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honors her sophomore campaign.
As a team, the Spartans were selected to finish sixth in the conference, as selected by the conference coaches in August.
Rathje was also recognized by the conference in July for her dedication to her class work. Rathje was one of 534 student-athletes to receive Big Ten Scholar Athlete distinction. In order to be recognized, each student-athlete must achieve at least a 3.7 or higher for the corresponding academic year.
Playing With CLASS
Senior Jenilee Rathje was named as one of 30 candidates to be named for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Annually, the Spartans have found themselves as one of the national leaders in attendance among NCAA Division I teams. Michigan State has been ranked in the top-25 in average attendance in 15 of the last 16 seasons. MSU posted a program best sixth during the 1996 campaign. To date in the 2011 season, the Green and White finds themselves ranked 18th after nine weekends of action with 23,841 fans. In MSU's 13 home contests to date, it has averaged 1,834 fans.
Freshman Kori Moster has taken the conference by storm since being named the Spartans' starting libero prior to the Green and White's match against Canisius on Sept. 10. Since then, she has moved into first among Big Ten leaders for conference-only matches with 4.94 digs per set and ranks first overall in total digs with 232.
With MSU's 3-1 win over Indiana on Wednesday, Oct. 26, it is now eligible for the NCAA tournament for the fourth time under head coach Cathy George. The win also marked the quickest the Spartans have reached 17 wins since 1998, when it took 21 matches. The 23 matches needed to become eligible is the quickest since 2003, when the Green and White also needed 23 wins.
Climbing the Ladder
Senior Jenilee Rathje is closing in on several records in the MSU record books.
Total Matches Played
1st Michelle Kasper, 1981-84 141
Cheryl Histed, 1981-84 141
t-5th Jenilee Rathje, 2007-11 132
Total Sets Played
1st Veronica Morales, 1994-97 477
4th Jenilee Rathje, 2007-11 459
1st Jenna Wrobel, 1995-98 2,292
9th Jenilee Rathje, 2007-11 1,379
1st Veronica Morales, 1994-97 5,353
9th Jenilee Rathje, 2007-11 3,152
1st Jenna Wrobel, 1995-98 552
9th Jenilee Rathje, 2007-11 317
Big Ten Digital Network
MSU is currently scheduled to have 10 total matches covered by the BTDN. Fans are able to watch the fee-based streaming video at BTN.com.
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