Nov. 20, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State volleyball is on a six-match winning streak and hosts Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 21, with the State Pride Flag on the line. Match time is set for 6:30 p.m., and three seniors will be playing in their final match at Jenison Field House. MSU then travels to face No. 1 Penn State in its last regular season match on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m.
WATCH: Michigan Preview
|Michigan State vs. Michigan|
|Date | Time||Wednesday, Nov. 21 | 6:30 p.m.|
|Location||East Lansing, Mich. | Jenison Field House|
|Video||Cathy George Press Conference|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Michigan|
|Social Media||@MichStVB | Facebook|
|Michigan State at No. 1 Penn State|
|Date | Time||Saturday, Nov. 24 | 8 p.m. ET|
|Location||State College, Pa. | Rec Hall|
|Game Notes||Michigan State | Penn State|
|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 (5.29), 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 .386 hitting percentage, also fourth-best in the Big Ten. Sophomore libero Kori Moster ranks third in the Big Ten with 4.49 digs per set, and also averages 0.29 service aces per set, good for 10th in the conference. At setter, Kristen Kelsay leads the Spartans with 7.14 assists per set and is eighth in the conference with 0.29 service aces per set. Freshman Halle Peterson also chips in with 4.70 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 509-335. MSU made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
Recapping Last Weekend
The Spartans picked up road wins at both Illinois and Northwestern last weekend, extending its win streak to six straight Big Ten contests. Michigan State dropped the first two sets at Illinois, both by scores of 23-25, but went on to win the final three, 25-17, 25-21 and 15-11. Four Spartans reached double digit kills and senior Amy Dentlinger had 16 on 26 attacks. MSU swept Northwestern 3-0 and held the Wildcats to a .083 hitting percentage while notching a mark of .324. Lauren Wicinski led MSU with 15 kills and Amy Dentlinger added 11 for the Spartans. The streak of six consecutive conference matches is MSU's best run since 1998.
Michigan is 21-11 and 9-9 in the Big Ten this season. The Wolverines are coming off two losses this past weekend, falling to both Northwestern and Illinois 3-1. Michigan is led on the outside by junior Lexi Erwin and her 3.96 kills per set, good for seventh in the Big Ten. Junior Jennifer Cross is second in the Big Ten with 1.28 blocks per set and sophomore setter Lexi Dannemiller averages 11.10 assists per set for the Wolverines.
Series History: MSU leads the all-time series, 49-35-1.
Last Meeting: The Spartans swept Michigan, 3-0, on Oct. 17, 2012.
Coach: Mark Rosen is in his 14th season at the helm of the Wolverines and has lead them to four Sweet 16's.
Scouting Penn State
The Nittany Lions secured the Big Ten title with a 3-0 win over Indiana last weekend and also topped Purdue, 3-1. It is Penn State's 15th conference title and they also locked up an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Penn State is 27-2 and 17-1 in the Big Ten this season. Senior outside hitter leads Penn State on the outside and averages 4.32 kills per set, second in the Big Ten. Junior Katie Slay leads the conference in blocks per set with 1.34 and is also second in hitting percentage with a .429 mark. Sophomore setter Micha Hancock leads the Big Ten with 11.40 assists per set.
Series History: MSU is 6-36 all-time against Penn State.
Coach: Russ Rose is in his 34th season at Penn State and has won five national championships.
State Pride Flag
Michigan State and Michigan share a long history of rivalries, both in academics and athletics. Beginning in 1990, the two state of Michigan Big Ten Conference institutions began a "State Pride" season series to celebrate the in-state rivalry. Each University hosts a "State Pride Night" when the teams meet during the regular season. A state of Michigan flag bearing the motto "Tuebor" or "I will defend," serves as a symbol of the volleyball rivalry with the winner of the season's face-to-face matches retaining possession of the flag for a year. The flag flew over the State Capitol on Sept. 18, 1990. In addition to the State flag, each school's winning year is listed on its half of a special Michigan State-Michigan banner.
After sweeping Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan State needs to win just one set to retain the "State Pride" for a third straight season.
Jam Jenison Promotion
Giveaway - Michigan State is hosting Michigan on senior night in the final home match of the season and is giving away "Jam Jenison" t-shirts to the first 500 fans in attendance.
Free basketball - Fans taking in the last home volleyball match of the season will receive free admission to the women's basketball game against Albany on the same night at Breslin Center with their volleyball ticket stub. The ticket stub will be honored as general admittance and the basketball game is set to tip at 7:30 p.m.
Senior Night at Jenison
The Spartans will be recognizing three seniors playing in their final match at Jenison Field House. Amy Dentlinger, Chelsey Probst, and Stefanie Shiramizu will each be honored following the match on Wednesday for their hard work and dedication to the Spartan program.
Spartans On a Roll
Michigan State has won six-straight matches over Big Ten opponents for the first time since 1998. The Spartans recorded road wins over Illinois and Northwestern this past weekend and also upset then-No. 10 Minnesota on Nov. 9 and then-No. 4 Nebraska on Nov. 3 during the streak. The Spartans have also won seven of their last eight matches.
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 498 digs in 2012, placing her fourth in the all-time single season records with two matches left to play. Wicinski has recorded 73 service aces and would be second all-time at MSU if the season ended today. Wicinski needs just three aces to break the single season record.
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.
MSU in Three
Michigan State is 15-1 this season in three-set matches and its only loss came at Nebraska. MSU has swept Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern during its six-match winning streak.
Rating Percentage Index
Michigan State is currently No. 35 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. The Spartans have lost to four conference opponents that are currently ranked ahead of them in the RPI and both remaining opponents are ranked inside the top-50 of the RPI.
Wrapping Up the Season
Michigan State closes out the regular season this week and faces off at Penn State in the finale. MSU will face PSU just once this season and will look to win at Penn State for the first time since 2001.
Finishing Strong in the Big Ten
The Spartans were 4-6 at the midway point of the season before rattling off seven of their next eight contests for a conference mark of 11-7 thus far. MSU is averaging 13.9 kills per set and allowing opponents just 12.2 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.
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.
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 509-335 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.