Nov. 23, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State volleyball team (13-16, 5-13) closes out its season when it hosts Michigan (23-7, 12-6) on Wednesday, Nov. 24 on "Senior Night" for the final home contest of the 2010 season. Action is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. inside the Breslin Center. MSU will conclude its year two days later when it travels to Northwestern (18-11, 8-10) on Friday, Nov. 26.
Michigan enters the match ranked 19th in the latest AVCA poll with a record of 23-7 on the year including a 12-6 mark in Big Ten play. The Wolverines offensively are led by Alex Hunt with 4.46 kills per set overall, and 4.49 in the conference. Lexi Zimmerman has a team-high 10.92 assists per set, tallying a 11.24 mark in the Big Ten. Sloane Donhoff has tallied 3.80 digs per set on the year, 3.73 in conference matches. Jennifer Cross leads the team at the net with 0.97 blocks per set, blocking 0.82 in conference matches.
Series History: MSU leads in the series, 46-34-1.
Last Meeting: The Spartans fell to Michigan by a score of 3-1 in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Oct. 13, 2010.
Coach: The Wolverines are coached by Mark Rosen who is in his 12th season and posts an all-time record of 445-186, going 239-149 at UM.
Northwestern currently has a record of 18-11 overall and 8-10 in Big Ten action. Naomi Johnson currently leads the team with 2.88 kills per set overall and 2.71 in the conference. Elyse Glab has a team-high 11.06 assists per set, going 10.85 in the Big Ten. Defensively, Julie Chin is the top digger with 3.62 per set overall and 3.72 in conference matches, while Sabel Moggett is the top blocker with 1.37 blocks per set overall, tallying 1.22 in conference only matches.
Series History: MSU trails in the series, 32-28.
Recapping Last Week
Last Meeting: The Spartans swept the Wildcats, 3-0, on Oct. 16, 2010 in Jenison Field House.
Coach: Keylor Chan is in his 11th season at the reigns of the Wildcats, going 156-181 at the school and 172-196 all-time.
Led by senior Megan Schatzle's
second double-double of her career on 19 kills and 10 digs, the Spartans topped Indiana (19-10, 7-7 Big Ten), 3-1, in Jenison Field House on Friday, Nov. 19.
Looking to continue the magic from its win the night before, MSU fell in a tough 3-2 contest to Purdue on Saturday, Nov. 20 in Jenison Field House.
Alexis Mathews was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week following her performance last weekend.
Home Sweet Home
This week marks the last of three MSU home matches to close out the season. Throughout the month, MSU played a total of seven games of the road, compared to its three home contests. The Green and White concluded the month with its final four matches on the road. MSU's home contest on Oct. 16 against Northwestern and last weekend's home match against Ohio State on Nov. 5 was the longest span between home matches this season for the Spartans.
State Pride Series
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.
The school that wins both matches will be declared the "State Pride" winner.
If one team does not win both matches, the school that wins the greatest number of games will be declared the "State Pride" winner.
If both teams have won the same number of games, the school with the most total points is the "State Pride" winner.
MSU needs a 3-0 sweep to claim the flag.
1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2006
1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009
Reaching New Heights
Earlier this season the Spartans went through progress testing for several individuals on the team. Each student-athlete was tested on flexibility, vertical leap and other essential fundamentals vital to a volleyball player. The middle blockers averaged a vertical leap of 10-5 1/2. Leading the way is red-shirt freshman Alexis Mathews with a 10-7 vertical, followed by red-shirt junior Jenilee Rathje at 10-5 1/2 and freshman Kelsey Kuipers at 10-4.
Approaching the Millennium Mark
Red-shirt junior Jenilee Rathje is 25 kills away from becoming just the 17th Spartan all time to amass the 1,000 kills mark for a career. Rathje currently has 975 kills while at MSU. Sitting atop the list is Jenna Wrobel (1995-98) with 2,292 kills.
A Challenging Schedule
MSU is one of two teams in the nation this season to be playing three of the four NCAA National Finalists from 2009. The Spartans battled Hawaii, Penn State and Minnesota, all of which appeared as one of the four remaining teams in the NCAA Championship. The Green and White are joined by Illinois as the other team to face such a challenging schedule. Illinois faced Penn State, Minnesota and Texas on its 2010 schedule.
After 13 weekends of action in the 2010 season, senior Allyson Karaba currently ranks sixth in the conference in digs with a 4.02 digs per set average, as well as seventh in service aces with 0.29 Karaba is joined by red-shirt junior Jenilee Rathje on the conference rankings list with a sixth-place hitting percentage of .343, the top junior in the category. Red-shirt freshman Alexis Mathews rounds out the Spartans with her seventh-place ranking in blocks per set (1.20) as the top ranking freshman in the league.
The team is currently sixth in assists (12.62) and in blocks per set (2.49). The Spartans are seventh in hitting percentage (.229) and kills per set (13.29). MSU is ninth in aces (0.99). The Green and White sits in 10th in digs per set (12.93).
Prior to the 2010 season, several Spartans were recognized for their work both on and off the court. Junior Kyndra Abron was tabbed as one of 16-members of the Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Abron found herself on the conference coaches' radars after earning First-Team All-Big Ten and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honors her sophomore campaign.
Red-shirt junior Jenilee Rathje was recognized by the conference in July for her dedication to her class work. Rathje was one of 484 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.
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 14 of the last 15 seasons. MSU posted a program best sixth during the 1996 campaign. The 2008 season saw the Spartans welcome the most total fans in a given season with 36,419. That season also saw Michigan State rank seventh nationally in attendance. Through 16 home contests in 2010, MSU has averaged 1,995 fans a match. Unofficially, the Spartans are currently ranked 17th in average attendance.
Class of 2010
On Wednesday, Nov. 10, head coach Cathy George welcomed three members for the recruiting class of 2010 as Taylor Galloway (Portage, Mich.), Kori Moster (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Jazmine White (Oshawa, Ontario) all signed National Letters of Intent. Galloway is a 6-1 outside hitter ranked No. 90 in the PrepVolleyball.com Top 100 Senior Aces list. Moster will arrive on campus ranked No. 71 in the PrepVolleyball.com Top 100 Senior Aces list. White was named to the Class of 2011 Canadian Prospects Team following her sophomore year of high school.