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Michigan, Senior Night Make a Big Week for Spartan Volleyball

Nov. 14, 2017

Big Ten Week Nine: MSU vs. at Michigan, vs. Indiana
Dates/Times    Wednesday, Nov. 15 at Michigan, 7 pm    |    Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cliff Keen Arena
   Saturday, Nov. 18 vs Indiana, 8 pm |      East Lansing, Mich.; Jenison Field House
Tickets    Spartan Ticket Office
   Ticket Promotions: Saturday: Four Seats, Four Treats |   Free admission with MSU/Maryland Football Ticket Stub
Parking    With a home football game, the streets surrounding Jenison Field House become outbound traffic only. Please use this alternate route map to get to Jenison Field House.
Bag Policy    A no-bag policy for all indoor athletic facilities went into effect on Oct. 20. View List of Permitted/Prohibited Items
Live Statistics    vs Indiana
Live Video Streams    at Michigan    |    vs Indiana
Radio     |       John Kreger, pxp
Weekly Media    Watch the Cathy George press conference
Download Game Notes    Michigan State   |    Michigan   |    Indiana
Social Media    @MichStVB   |  Facebook
Promotions    Saturday: Senior night (postgame); Spartan Volleyball koozies for first 500 fans

State Pride Flag
State Pride Flag

  • Michigan State heads to Ann Arbor on Wednesday to complete the season series with archrival Michigan, then returns to Jenison Field House for the final time in the regular season to host Indiana on Saturday.

  • Saturday will serve as the program's Senior Night, as all seven Spartan seniors will be honored in a post-match ceremony.

  • Fans holding football tickets to Saturday's MSU-Maryland volleyball match can use their ticket stub for free entry.

  • MSU will have a radio broadcast of all matches - home and away - throughout the rest of the season. John Kreger returns behind the mic for the call on

  • Both matches air live on BTN2Go this weekend, and live statistics for both matches will be available on


  • Michigan State swept their most recent home weekend, downing both (RV) Illinois and Northwestern by 3-0 scores.

  • With a 12-4 mark in Big Ten play, the Spartans have secured a seventh-straight season with a .500 mark in Conference action. MSU is one of three teams - along with Penn State and Nebraska - to be .500 or better in seven straight seasons in Big Ten play.

  • In 2016, MSU finished 13-7 in the Big Ten - the most B1G wins in a season in the Cathy George era. The Spartans have four Big Ten games remaining in 2017. MSU won a program-record 19 B1G games in 1995, 18 in 1996, and 15 in 1998. The Spartans won 13 games in both 2001 and 1016.

  • MSU owns an 10-2 record at home, with the lone losses to No. 1 Penn State (Nov. 1) and No. 7 Nebraska (Oct. 24). The Spartans have just one regular-season match remaining at home: Saturday's senior night match vs. Indiana. The Spartans are 5-4 in road matches, and a perfect 4-0 in neutral-site matchups.

  • In the first 16 Big Ten matches of the season, the Spartans have played seven games against teams ranked seventh or higher in the AVCA national poll and own a 3-4 mark in those contests Four of those top-10 matches were road affairs.

  • With three wins over top 10 teams so far this season, it is the most top-10 victories in a single season in school history.

  • MSU has concluded its home-and-home series for 2017 with four teams - Maryland, Nebraska, Penn State, Northwestern and Wisconsin - with a 6-3 mark against those squads. Michigan and Indiana are MSU's other two-plays for 2017. MSU completes the Michigan series and plays the first of two against Indiana this week, then wraps up the regular season at Purdue and the Hoosiers next week.

  • Michigan State remains at No. 8 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national poll, MSU's highest spot occupied in the national poll this season. The Spartans were No. 10 for three weeks, spent one week at No. 9, and now is No. 8 for the second straight week - making this six-week stretch MSU's longest stay in the Top 10 since the 1996 season.

  • Six Big Ten programs earned spots in the latest AVCA coaches poll, : No. 1 Penn State, No. 5 Nebraska, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 8 MSU, No. 12 Wisconsin, and No. 18 Purdue. Illinois is among the teams receiving votes.

  • The Spartans went 7-2 in non-conference action, dropping true road contests at Georgia Tech and (RV) Notre Dame. The Spartans won two of the three tournaments they played, and had one entire weekend of games (at No. 2 Florida, and against American and UNC-Greensboro) washed out due to Hurricane Irma. Florida sits at No. 2 in the latest RPI, while American (24-7, 13-1 Conference) sits at the top of the Patriot League standings and is No. 74.

  • Eleven Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked in the top 50 of the NCAA RPI through Oct. 29, including nine of the top 46: No. 1 Penn State, No. 4 Minnesota, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 11 MSU, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 18 Purdue, , No. 27 Illinois, No. 34 Michigan, No. 31 Ohio State, , No. 43 Maryland, and No. 44 Iowa.

  • The Big Ten is once again the pacesetter in Division I volleyball, despite losing the most 2016 All-Americans (9) to graduation of any conference in the country. The Big Ten returned 17 2016 All-Americans, six more than the Big 12 (11) and seven more than the Pac-12 and SEC (10 each).

  • The Big Ten went a combined 128-27 in non-conference action (.826), just edging out the Pac-12 (104-22, .825). The SEC also won more than 100 games, going 105-40 (.724).

  • MSU is 54-40-1 all-time against Michigan, and the teams have split their regular-season meetings in each of the last seven years. In 2016, MSU won 3-1 in East Lansing, and fell to the Wolverines 0-3 in Ann Arbor.

  • Beginning in 1990, Michigan State and Michigan began a "State Pride" season series to celebrate the in-state rivalry. A State of Michigan flag, bearing the state motto "Tuebor" (`I Will Defend') serves as the trophy for winner of the head-to-head meetings of the two teams, . The two teams shared the Flag in 2014 as both tiebreakers (set wins, and then total points) were even. MSU had won or shared the Flag in six straight seasons (2010-15) before Michigan halted the streak in 2017 with more set victories (5-3).

  • The Spartans got the early leg up in the State Pride series with a 3-1 win (25-19, 25-27, 25-21, 25-16) at Jenison Field House on Oct. 17. MSU got a career-best 58 assists from senior Rachel Minarick while Alyssa Garvelink hit .560, recording 14 kills on 25 swings without an error and adding a match-high seven blocks. Autumn Bailey (16 kills/10 digs), and Holly Toliver (11 kills/10 digs) also had double-doubles. For the Wolverines, Carly Skjodt had 24 kills to lead the match, while Claire Kieffer Wright finished with 13.

  • Skjodt leads the Wolverines and is sixth in the B1G with 3.61 kills per set and averages 2.13 digs per frame, followed by Kieffer-Wright (2.71) and a team-best .326 hitting percentage. Sophomore MacKenzi Welsh is averaging 10.74 assists and 2.0 digs per match, while both Kieffer-Wright and Cori Crocker are averaging better than a block per set.

  • Indiana is under the tutelage of Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan, who is in her 11th season at the helm. The Hoosiers enter the week at 12-16 overall and are 1-15 in Big Ten play. IU has a young team with just five upperclassmen (two seniors, three juniors), and are led by Kendall Beerman's 3.14 kills per set, while Deyshia Lofton owns the team's top hitting percentage (.331) and blocking average (1.00/s). Setter Victoria Brisack is averaging 10.71 assists per set.

  • Overall, MSU ranks in the top 25 nationally in four categories: eighth in aces (1.73/s), 20th in kills (14.34/s), 21st in assists (13.31/s), and 25th in hitting percentage (.268). MSU is also 41st in winning percetage (19-6, .760).

  • The Spartans lead the Big Ten and rank eighth nationally in service aces (1.73 per set). MSU boasts three individuals among the league's top six in aces per set (Holly Toliver, Rachel Minarick, and Brooke Kranda).

  • MSU has had six double-digit blocking performances this season, and only one in Big Ten play. The Spartans rank eighth in the league in blocking (2.18/s)

  • With 15.13 digs per set, the Spartans are third in the B1G rankings. MSU has six players averaging between 2.26 and 3.25 digs per set.

  • MSU continues to have a well-distributed offense. The Spartans have three players averaging better than 3.0 kills per frame, and four between 2.54 and 3.43.

  • MSU has hit .300 or better nine times in 16 Big Ten matches. MSU's two lowest hitting performances in B1G play came vs. Nebraska ( .147 on the road and .144 at home), while its high was .398 vs Northwestern last Saturday (Nov. 11).

  • The Spartan senior class was the No. 6 recruiting class in the country back in 2014, while the current freshman class was ranked No. 9 this past summer by PrepVolleyball.

  • Cathy George celebrated her 600th career victory with the 3-0 sweep of San Diego State (Sept. 1), with last Saturday's win over Northwestern, is now the all-time winningest coach in Spartan history with 251 victories on the Spartan bench. Annelies Knoppers won 250 games from 1974-84, and Chuck Erbe was 244-140 in his 12-year tenure (1993-2004).

  • George is the third Big Ten head coach to amass 600+ wins, along with Penn State's Russ Rose (1,238) and Wisconsin's John Cook (651). She ranks 19th among active coaches in coaching victories, and 50th all-time in Division I history.

  • MSU's match at Nebraska (Oct. 4) was the 1,000th match coached in the career of Cathy George.

  • Michigan State has averaged 3,639 fans for Big Ten matches at Jenison Field House. MSU currently ranks ninth in Division I in overall attendance (37,756) and eighth in overall average attendance (3,416).


  • In 17 of the last 18 matches, the Spartans have gone with a senior-dominated starting lineup: OH's Autumn Bailey, Brooke Kranda, and Holly Toliver, MB's Alyssa Garvelink and Megan Tompkins, setter Rachel Minarick, and freshman libero Jamye Cox. The lone match where MSU did not use its senior-laden lineup was at Rutgers, where MSU started sophomore setter Maggie Midgette and outside redshirt freshman Lauren Swartz.

  • A key to the Spartans' success this season is a widely-distributed offense (and defense). MSU boasts four players averaging between 2.53 and 3.43 kills per set, three who average 0.64 blocks per set or more, and four starters boast dig averages of 2.25 or more per frame.

  • MSU also has three players among the top six in the Big Ten (and among national leaders) in service aces per set: Holly Toliver leads the Big Ten and is 19th nationally (0.46 aces per set). Rachel Minarick (0.38, 3rd B1G/69th nationally), and Brooke Kranda (0.32 6th B1G) are also among Conference leaders.

  • Three Spartans average nearly a block per set or better: Alyssa Garvelink (1.35, 5th B1G/29th nationally), Megan Tompkins (0.73), and Brooke Kranda (0.64).

  • Autumn Bailey hit .433 with 17 kills in Friday's victory over (RV) Illinois, just missing a double-double with nine digs. On Saturday, she had eight kills and seven digs, adding a pair of blocks (one solo) in the win over Northwestern.

  • Bailey leads the Spartans with 3.43 kills per frame (11th, B1G), is hitting .267, and is averaging 3.25 digs per set (10th, B1G). Bailey and Minnesota freshman Stephanie Samedy are the only six-rotation players in the Big Ten ranked in the top 15 in the league in both categories.

  • Nationally, Bailey ranks eighth among active players in kills. She has 1,714 career terminations (which includes 1,059 in her two seasons at Marquette), and she is eighth among active players in career attempts (4,590). She is 19th among active players in kills per set (3.92), and also boasts 1,354 career digs, which is 79th - but she ranks seventh in career digs among active six-rotation players.

  • Rachel Minarick helped her team to a pair of wins last week where the Spartans hit better than .300 in each contest. On the week she averaged 13.0 assists per set, with one kill per frame and hitting .600 without an error and contributing 2.17 digs per frame. She posted 44 assists in a three-set sweep of (RV) Illinois with seven digs, then followed it up with 34 assists, five kills (5-0-9, .556) and a pair of aces with six digs vs. Northwestern in another sweep.

  • Minarick owns 4,257 career helpers, she is second all-time at MSU behind Nikki Colson (4,563, 2000-03). She is 38th on the All-Time Big Ten list. She ranks 12th among active NCAA Division I players in total career assists.

  • Minarick averages 11.17 assists (fourth, B1G/25th nationally), 0.38 aces (3rd, B1G), and 2.45 digs per set. Her senior-year numbers are the best in any season of her MSU career.

  • Alyssa Garvelink will graduate as one of the top blockers in school history. She currently ranks fifth all-time at MSU in total blocks (519) and fourth in block assists (465). Her 1.20 blocks per set average over four years is fifth all-time at MSU. She is 39th all-time in the Big Ten record book in career blocks.

  • Garvelink is also closing in on 1,000 career kills. With 990, she is looking to become the 23rd Spartan to reach the milestone.

  • Garvelink currently fifth in the B1G and 29th nationally in the B1G in blocks per set (1.37), which is her career-best average. Her hitting percentage of .388 ranks fifth in the Conference (30th nationally), and she's contributing 2.54 kills/set.

  • Garvelink hit .533 and .615 in last week's games, recording eight kills in each match without any hitting errors. She had three solo blocks and three block assists, and helped the Spartans hit better than .300 in each match.

  • Garvelink is ninth among active NCAA Division I players in total career blocks (519), and is 19th in blocks per set (1.20).

  • Minarick and Garvelink are both CoSIDA Academic All-America candidates. Minarick boasts a 3.97 cumulative GPA as a Kinesiology major. She is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honoree, and last year earned CoSIDA Academic All-Region kudos. Garvelink is a two-time Academic All-B1G honoree who owns a 3.36 GPA as a Communications major.

  • Holly Toliver ranks third on the team in kills per set (3.05) and hitting percentage (.242) and is contributing 2.26 digs and 0.53 blocks per frame. She leads the B1G and eighth nationally in service aces per set (0.46).

  • Toliver boasts career-best numbers in kills, hitting percentage, aces, assists, digs, and blocks.

  • Toliver produced 13 kills and hit a career-best .522, adding seven digs, two blocks, and tying her career best with six service aces in MSU's most recent match vs. Northwestern.

  • In Saturday's match vs. Northwestern, Toliver outscored the Wildcat squad on her own in the third and deciding set. MSU won the set by a 25-9 score - Toliver recorded five kills, five aces, and also had five digs in that frame alone. With MSU up 22-9, Toliver closed out the match with three straight aces to seal the win.

  • Brooke Kranda averages 3.06 kills per set (second on the team) and is averaging 0.64 blocks and 0.32 aces per set (6th B1G).

  • Senior middle Megan Tompkins is averaging 0.73 blocks per set (good for second on the team), and also chipping in 1.37 kills per frame and hitting .279.

  • Jamye Cox has been the Spartan libero in each of the last 18 matches. She is averaging 3.23 digs per set on the season, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten. She has worn the libero jersey for the last 16 matches, over which she is averaging 3.68 digs per set.

  • Cox has 271 digs on the season, which is the eighth-most for a freshman in the MSU record book. While the top two spots on that list ( 474 by Kori Moster (2011) and 357 by Veronica Morales 1994) may be unattainable, the third spot (314) is held down by Jill Krumm (1986) and may be within reach.

  • Abby Monson is averaging 2.56 digs per set as a back row specialist.

  • Monson has the second-best reception percentage (.959) on the team, with five errors in 122 tries. Autumn Bailey leads the way with just eight errors in 353 chances (.977), and Jamye Cox is third (.955).

  • Samantha McLean has become a regular contributor for the Spartans in the back row, and is averaging 1.34 digs per set. She had a season best four assists against Iowa (10/28).

  • Three Senior Aces are among the five freshmen on MSU's 2017 roster. Alyssa Chronowski (No. 30), Jamye Cox (No. 40), and Meredith Norris (No. 25) all enrolled at MSU in January and already have a semester of college courses under their belts. Julia Hatcher and Bella Legarza round out the Spartan newcomers. In addition, redshirt freshman Lauren Swartz will see her first collegiate action this fall after redshirting a year ago and earning the team's Most Improved Award.

  • On Nov. 8, MSU announced that five players would join the volleyball program in the fall of 2018. Four are Under Armour High School All-Americans, and three hail from the state of Michigan.: DS Lauryn Gibbs (Mt. Morris, Mich./EA Johnson), OH Maura Johnson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Community) and MB Rebecka Poljan (Bath, Mich./Lansing Catholic). Virginia native Elena Shklyar (McLean, Va./Langley), a setter, and 2015 Louisiana Player of the Year MB Naya Gros (New Orleans, La./ Louise S. McGehee) round out the class.

  • MSU will play on the road in the final week of the regular season, taking on No. 18 Purdue in West Lafayette before a rematch with Indiana in Bloomington on the final night of the regular season. The NCAA selection show will take place on Sunday, Nov. 26 at 9 pm ET.


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