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Spartans Travel to Take on Illinois, Northwestern

Kristen Kelsay, a native of Wheaton, Ill., is excited to play in her home state.

Nov. 14, 2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State volleyball has won four straight matches and heads on the road this weekend to face Illinois on Friday, Nov. 16 and Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 17. Both matches will be streamed live on and both start at 8 p.m. ET.

WATCH: Illinois and Northwestern Preview

Michigan State at Illinois
 Date | Time Friday, Nov. 16 | 8 p.m. ET
 Location Champaign, Ill. | Huff Hall
 Live Stream Big Ten Digital Network
 Live Stats GameTracker
 Video Cathy George Press Conference
 Game Notes Michigan State | Illinois
 Social Media @MichStVB   |  Facebook

Michigan State at Northwestern
 Date | Time Saturday, Nov. 17 | 8 p.m. ET
 Location Evanston, Ill. | Welsh-Ryan Arena
 Live Stream Big Ten Digital Network
 Live Stats GameTracker
 Game Notes Michigan State | Northwestern
 Social Media @MichStVB   |  Facebook

A Look at the Spartans
Michigan State is led on the outside by junior Lauren Wicinski, she is tops on the team and in the conference in points (5.30), service aces (0.66) and kills per set (4.37). Alexis Mathews, a native of Detroit, Mich., is the anchor in the middle for the Spartans and she is fourth in the conference with 1.23 blocks per set and also has a .387 hitting percentage, also fourth-best in the Big Ten. Sophomore libero Kori Moster ranks third in the Big Ten with 4.50 digs per set, and also averages 0.29 service aces per set, good for seventh in the conference. At setter, Kristen Kelsay leads the Spartans with 7.13 assists per set and is tied for seventh in conference with 0.29 service aces per set. Freshman Halle Peterson also 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 507-335. MSU made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.

Recapping Last Weekend
Michigan State took down then-No. 10 Minnesota and Wisconsin this past weekend, winning four straight Big Ten contests for the first time since 2003. The win over Minnesota marked the first back-to-back wins over top-10 ranked opponents since 1995. Lauren Wicinski had 13 kills and 11 digs for Michigan State and libero Kori Moster had 18 digs and six assists against the Gophers. Against Wisconsin, the Spartans were led by five kills and six blocks from Alexis Mathews, while Kristen Kelsay had 25 assists and seven digs.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State2
October 13, 2012
East Lansing, Mich.
No. 25 Spartan Volleyball Falls in Five to Illinois
No. 25 Michigan State volleyball took a 2-0 lead over No. 22 Illinois but fell in five sets , its third five-set loss this season. The Spartans (15-5, 3-5 Big Ten) lost by scores of 25-18, 25-23, 22-25, 16-25 and 8-15. Outside hitter Lauren Wicinski led Michigan State with 22 kills and 19 digs against Illinois (9-9, 3-5 Big Ten).

Scouting Illinois
The Fighting Illini are 11-15 on the season and have lost six of their last seven matches. Illinois fell to Penn State and Ohio State last weekend. Freshman Jocelynn Birks leads Illinois on the outside with 3.92 kills per set and is eighth in the conference. Senior Erin Johnson is fifth in the Big Ten in blocks and average 1.23 per set, while Jennifer Beltran, a junior, is sixth in the conference in digs with 3.96 per set.

Series History: MSU trails the series, 23-44.
Last Meeting: Michigan State lost to Illinois at home, 3-2, on Oct. 13, 2012.
Coach: Kevin Hambly is in his fourth season at the helm of Illinois and led the Fighting Illini to the NCAA Championship game last season.

Scouting Northwestern
The Wildcats are 15-12 on the season and have lost their last four contests. Northwestern also fell to both Penn State and Ohio State last weekend. Junior Stephanie Holthus leads Northwestern on the outside and averages 4.12 kills per set, fifth in the Big Ten. Senior setter Madalyn Shalter averages 11.28 assists per set and is second in the conference.

The Last Meeting
Michigan State1
October 12, 2012
East Lansing, Mich.
No. 25 Spartan Volleyball Falls to Northwestern, 3-1
No. 25 Michigan State volleyball lost to Northwestern, 3-1, at Jenison Field House on Friday night. The Spartans (15-4, 3-4 Big Ten) fell by scores of 17-25, 25-19, 20-25 and 22-25. MSU had just a .135 hitting percentage, while the Wildcats (13-5, 2-5 Big Ten) hit .230 percent.

Series History: MSU trails the all-time series against Northwestern, 31-33.
Last Meeting: The Spartans fell to the Wildcats 3-1 on Oct. 12, 2012.
Coach: Keylor Chan is in his 13th season at NU and is the second-winningest coach in Northwestern history.

Streaking Spartans
Michigan State has won four-straight matches over Big Ten opponents for the first time since 2003. Michigan State upset then-No. 10 Minnesota and swept Wisconsin this past weekend, before picking up a sweep over Iowa and taking down then-No. 4 Nebraska in five sets on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, respectively. The Spartans have also won five of their last six matches.

Stunning Ranked Opponents
The Spartans are just 2-6 against ranked opponents but have won their last two matches against teams ranked in the top-10. By stringing together wins over then-no. 4 Nebraska and then-No.10 Minnesota, the Spartans notched their first back-to-back wins over top-10 teams since 1995.

Climbing the Record Book
Kori Moster and Lauren Wicinski are each making strides on the court to place themselves in the Spartan record book at the end of the season. Moster currently has 464 digs in 2012, placing her sixth in the all-time single season records with four matches left to play. Wicinski has recorded 68 service aces and would be third all-time at MSU if the season ended today. Wicinski needs just seven aces to break the single season record.

Spartans in Three
Michigan State is 14-1 this season in three-set matches and its only loss came at Nebraska. MSU has swept Iowa and Wisconsin during its four-match winning streak.

Rating Percentage Index
Michigan State is currently No. 38 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. The Spartans have lost to four conference opponents that are currently ranked ahead of them in the RPI. All four remaining opponents are ranked inside the top-50 of the RPI.

On the Road Again
Michigan State enjoyed four consecutive matches at home but now will be on the road for three of its next four matches. After traveling to take on Illinois and Northwestern, MSU hosts in-state rival Michigan before capping off the regular season at Penn State. The Spartans are 6-3 on the road this season and took down Indiana before falling in five sets to Purdue its last time away from home.

Michigan State in its Last Six
The Spartans have won five of their last six matches and are hitting .270 percent during that stretch, while holding opponents to a .203 mark. Senior Amy Dentlinger is averaging 2.75 kills per set and is hitting .386 percent during the stretch. Lauren Wicinski has averaged 0.92 aces per set and Kori Moster is averaging 4.62 digs per set.

National Rankings
Lauren Wicinski is second in the NCAA with 0.66 service aces per set and is sixth nationally with 5.30 points per set. Wicinski is also 21st in the NCAA with 4.37 kills per set.

Marks in Conference Contests
MSU is averaging 13.7 kills per set and allowing opponents just 12.3 kills. The Spartans are also out-blocking opponents, 2.2 to 1.8 and is averaging 1.5 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.

Double-Doubles Against Minnesota
Freshman Halle Peterson recorded her second career double-double with 22 assists and 12 digs in a 3-1 win over Minnesota. Peterson also notched a double-double with 27 assists and 12 digs in a 3-2 win over IPFW. Lauren Wicinski notched her eighth double-double of the season with 13 kills and 11 digs in a 3-1 win against Minnesota.

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.

Hitting Percentage Tells the Story
The Spartans have been out-hit in six matches this season and have 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. 19 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 1,911 fans through 15 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 507-335 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.



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