Nov. 7, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State concludes a stretch of four-straight home matches this weekend when it hosts No. 10 Minnesota on Friday, Nov. 9 and Wisconsin on Saturday, Nov. 10. Both matches will be streamed live on BTN.com.
WATCH: Minnesota and Wisconsin Preview
A Look at the Spartans
Junior Lauren Wicinski leads MSU on the outside and tops the conference in points (5.32), service aces (0.63) and kills per set (4.42). Alexis Mathews, a native of Detroit, Mich., is the anchor in the middle for the Spartans and she is fourth in the conference with 1.22 blocks per set and also has a .382 hitting percentage, also fourth-best in the Big Ten. Sophomore libero Kori Moster reels in 4.56 digs per set, second best in the conference and also averages 0.28 service aces per set. At setter, Kristen Kelsay leads the Spartans with 7.18 assists per set and is seventh in conference with 0.30 service aces per set. Freshman Halle Peterson chips in with 4.67 assists 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 505-335. MSU made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
Recapping Last Week
The Spartans recorded their first sweep of the season in conference play last weekend, defeating Iowa 3-0 and taking down then-No. 4 Nebraska, 3-2. Junior Lauren Wicinski led MSU with 13 kills and had six aces against the Hawkeyes and four players notched double-digit kills against Nebraska, with Wicinski leading the team with 19. It marked MSU's first five-set win over a conference opponent this season and also marked the Spartans first win over a top-5 ranked opponent since beating No. 2 Penn State, 3-2, on Oct. 11, 1996.
The Last Meeting
October 6, 2012
No. 25 MSU Volleyball Drops Heartbreaker to No. 10 Minnesota
No. 25 Michigan State volleyball fell to No. 10 Minnesota, 3-2, in a five-set thriller. The Spartans (15-3, 3-3 Big Ten) went up 2-1 on the Gophers (14-3, 5-1 Big Ten) before dropping the next two sets, 23-25 and 8-15. Sophomore Jazmine White 10 kills and hit .750 percent and also added five service aces, a career high. Katherine Harms of Minnesota led all players with 23 kills in the match.
The Golden Gophers are 20-5 and 11-3 in the Big Ten. They have won five of their last six matches and lost to Penn State 3-1, before beating Ohio State, 3-2, last weekend. Minnesota leads the conference in hitting percentage (.304), assists per set (13.73) and service aces per set (1.66). Senior Katherine Harms is second in the Big Ten with 4.23 kills per set and junior Alexandra Palmer is eighth in the Big Ten with 9.80 assists per set. Junior Tori Dixon leads the conference in hitting percentage at .444 percent.
Series History: The Spartans trail the all-time series, 16-48.
Last Meeting: Michigan State lost at Minnesota, 3-2 on Oct. 6, 2012.
Coach: Hugh McCutcheon is in his first season at the helm of Golden Gopher volleyball after earning two medals with the United State men's and women's Olympic teams.
The Badgers are 16-11 this season and are 4-10 in the conference. Wisconsin has lost five of its last six and fell to both Ohio State and Penn State last weekend. Junior Annmarie Hickey leads the Big Ten in digs with 4.79 per set and is eighth in service aces with 0.30 per set. Sophomore Courtney Thomas is fifth in the conference with 10.51 assists per set and both Mary Ordling and Alexis Mitchell both average 1.10 blocks per set.
The Last Meeting
October 5, 2012
No. 25 Spartan Volleyball Takes Down Wisconsin, 3-1
No. 25 Michigan State volleyball defeated Wisconsin, 3-1, at the UW Field House. The Spartans (15-2, 3-2 Big Ten) were led by sophomore Taylor Galloway with 16 kills and 14 digs and junior Lauren Wicinski also had 19 kills, leading all players. MSU won by scores of 25-22, 25-21, 18-25 and 25-23 over Wisconsin (13-5, 1-4 Big Ten).
MSU trails the all-time series, 25-44.
The Spartans beat Wisconsin 3-1 on Oct. 5, 2012.
Pete Waite is in his 14th season at Wisconsin and he has led them to nine 20-plus win seasons.
- MSUFCU Night: Fans that present their MSUFCU credit card or membership card will receive free admission to the match against the Golden Gophers.
- Professor Appreciation Night: The Spartan volleyball team is inviting all MSU faculty and staff to the match on Saturday and those that show their staff ID will receive free admission to the match.
The Spartans are now 2-4 in five-set matches after taking down then-No. 4 Nebraska, 3-2, last weekend. MSU hadn't beat a conference opponent in five sets before beating the Huskers in front of 4,510 fans at Jenison Field House. The largest home crowd of the season witnessed Michigan State's first ever win over Nebraska.
Career Highs Against Nebraska
Two players reached career-high marks to help MSU beat Nebraska, 3-2. Junior Kelsey Kuipers had five blocks, sophomore Jazmine White recorded eight blocks and junior Kristen Kelsay also had a season-high 14 digs. Two Spartans also recorded double-doubles in the match; Kelsay had 32 assists and 14 digs and sophomore Taylor Galloway had 12 kills and 10 digs.
Rating Percentage Index
Michigan State is currently No. 41 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. The Spartans have lost to five conference opponents that are currently ranked ahead of them in the RPI and hosts sixth-ranked Minnesota this weekend. Five of the six remaining opponents are ranked inside the top 50 of the RPI.
Matches on BTN.com
Both Big Ten matches will be streamed live on BTN.com this weekend and both road matches next weekend will stream live as well.
Back at Home
Michigan State concludes a stretch of four straight home matches at Jenison Field House, with Minnesota and Wisconsin this weekend. Next weekend, MSU will travel both Northwestern and Illinois before returning home to host Michigan on senior night on Wednesday, Nov. 21.
The Spartans are 9-4 at home this season and 3-4 in conference matches at home.
Lauren Wicinski is second in the NCAA with 0.63 service aces per set and is fifth nationally with 5.32 points per set. Wicinski is also 14th in the NCAA with 4.42 kills per set.
Marks in Conference Contests
MSU is averaging 13.5 kills per set and allowing opponents just 12.3 kills. The Spartans are also out-blocking opponents, 2.2 to 1.9 and is averaging 1.4 service aces per set to just 1.0 by opponents. MSU had 14 total blocks against Nebraska on Nov. 3, its most against any Big Ten team this season.
Second on the Team in Double-Doubles
Taylor Galloway notched another double-double this past weekend with 12 kills and 10 digs in a 3-2 win over Nebraska. It was her sixth of the season and she is second on the team in double-doubles behind Lauren Wicinski with seven.
Player of the Week Honors
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 fourth in the conference in blocks per set with 1.22 and Mathews is also second all-time in blocks per set at Michigan State. Mathews ranks fourth in the Big Ten in hitting percentage with a .382 mark.
Libero Kori Moster is second 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 10th in the conference in service aces with 0.28 per set. Both Mathews and Moster have been named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week this season.
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. Only once has MSU out-hit an opponent and lost the match. Michigan State fell at Purdue, 3-2, and hit .228 percent while holding Purdue to a .193 mark.
National Attendance Figures
Currently the Spartans rank No. 21 in total attendance during the 2012 season among all NCAA Division I teams. This marks the ninth straight season MSU has been ranked in the top-25 in national attendance and is averaging 1,856 fans through 13 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.