Regular Season Ends For Volleyball at Michigan, Purdue
Nov. 26, 2013
Michigan State plays its third week on the road out of the last four, and wraps up the regular season. The Spartans will play on Wednesday at Michigan, then on Saturday in its lone meeting of the season against Purdue.
No. 23 Michigan has lost three straight matches and is 7-11 in Big Ten games this season. The Wolverines are 3-6 since defeating MSU at Jenison Field House on Oct. 23. Michigan is 17-12 overall.
Purdue, ranked No. 20 this week, beat both Nebraska (3-0) and Iowa (3-1) at home last weekend to snap a four-match losing streak. The Boilermakers enter the week at 18-11 and tied for sixth place with MSU with a 9-9 Big Ten mark.
GENERAL TEAM NOTES
Michigan State has split three of its four Big Ten weekends in the second half of the round robin. MSU has registered season sweeps of Ohio State, Northwestern, and Iowa, and split with Penn State, Illinois, and Nebraska. Wisconsin and Minnesota became the first teams to defeat MSU twice this season with 3-1 wins last weekend at Jenison Field House.
The NCAA Selection show will air on Sunday evening at 9:30 p.m. MSU is likely to earn an at-large bid; this group of seniors is looking to become the first class since 2001 and the first under Cathy George to make three consecutive NCAA Tournament fields.
MSU has lost to Nebraska and Wisconsin on consecutive Friday nights, its first two Friday losses of the season.
MSU's four seniors - setter Kristen Kelsay, middle blockers Kelsey Kuipers and Alexis Mathews, and outside hitter Lauren Wicinski - were honored in a post-game ceremony after Saturday's contest against Minnesota. With 82 victories over the last four seasons, it is the most wins for a senior class since the 2001 group had 83. MSU has two more regular-season games remaining.
At 6-4, MSU compiled its best first-half Big Ten record under Cathy George. In 2012, MSU went 4-6, but went 7-3 in the second half to finish 11-9. MSU is 3-5 in the second half of the Big Ten round-robin, looking for two wins this week to even it out at .500.
Since starting 6-0, MSU has gone 3-9 in Big Ten play over the last six weeks. MSU is tied for sixth in the current standings with the Boilermakers.
Michigan State fell two spots in the AVCA Top 25 this week, to No. 19. On Oct. 14, MSU was ranked No. 5, its highest national ranking since being ranked third in the 1996 pre-season AVCA poll.
The Big Ten has a national-best eight teams in the top-25 this week. Penn State remained at No. 2, while Nebraska is No. 10, and Minnesota is No. 11. Wisconsin is No. 13, followed by No. 17 Illinois, No. 18 MSU, No. 20 Purdue, and No. 23 Michigan.
According to the latest RPI report released by the NCAA on Monday, ten Big Ten teams appear in the top 60, including eight in the top 30, the most among all conferences. Penn State leads the way at No. 2, followed by No. 8 Nebraska, No. 13 Minnesota, No. 14 Wisconsin, No. 17 Illinois, No. 27 Michigan State, No. 28 Michigan, No. 29 Purdue, No. 49 Ohio State and No. 57 Northwestern.
MSU is now 4-7 against ranked teams this season. The Spartans have are 2-4 when ranked lower than their opponent (against Oregon, Penn State, and Nebraska, and the most recent meetings with Wisconsin and Minnesota), and are 2-3 when ranked higher.
Of MSU's 10 losses this season, eight are to teams in the top 30 of the RPI. MSU's strength of schedule is 38th in the country.
MSU completed its non-conference portion of the schedule with an 11-1 record. MSU is 23-1 over the last two non-conference seasons.
MSU completed its pre-Big Ten slate by extending its streak to 18 consecutive non-conference wins on its home floor. The streak dates back to September of 2010 - MSU's last home loss to a non-Big Ten team came on Sept. 11, 2010 to Eastern Michigan, 3-2.
In five of its nine Big Ten losses, MSU has had the same number or more kills than its opponent.
MSU's two highest dig totals this season have come against Minnesota. The Spartans had 92 in the game in Minneapolis, and 70 last Saturday at home against the Gophers. Its highest total from the other 28 matches was 66 against Michigan on Oct. 23.
MSU's two highest number of attempts this season has also come against Minnesota - there were 195 in the Oct. 17 meeting, and 168 last Saturday at Jenison.
As MSU has hit the meat of its Big Ten schedule, its dig totals have been significantly increased. In the last 13 matches, MSU has had 11 with 45+ digs. MSU had just five matches with 45+ digs in its pre-conference schedule of 12 matches.
MSU's loss to Wisconsin last Friday featured its fifth match with 13+ kills this season. MSU's match-high was 15.5 against Virginia Tech. MSU's 2.56 blocks per set is fourth in the Big Ten and ranks 48th nationally. Nine of MSU's 18 Big Ten matches have had double-digit blocks from the Spartans.
MSU averages 1.55 service aces per set, which continues to lead the Big Ten and ranks 28th nationally. The Spartans have 166 aces on the season, while limiting opponents to 98. MSU had 16 aces in the two matches vs. Wisconsin and Minnesota, more than it had had in the previous five matches combined (13). The nine aces against the Gophers last Saturday is MSU's single-match high this season.
MSU hit .179 (52-26-145) vs. Wisconsin last Friday, its third time hitting less than .200 in the second half of the Big Ten schedule. On the season, the Spartans are hitting .249, which is fourth in Conference and 46th nationally.
The Spartans had 61 assists against Minnesota last Saturday, the most in a single match this season. MSU's 70 digs against the Gophers was the second-most in any match this year, behind the 92 MSU recorded in the five-set match at Minnesota on Oct. 17.
MSU's home attendance, 43,368 fans over 15 home matches, currently ranks seventh nationally; its average of 2,891 per game ranks ninth. MSU's crowd of 6,183 for the Michigan match on Oct. 23 set an attendance record for the volleyball program at Jenison Field House. The only larger crowd for the Spartans was In 2010, when MSU played its senior night match at the Breslin Center; the 6,824 in attendance was the largest to ever attend a Spartan home volleyball match.
Senior Lauren Wicinski was the kills leader in the matches at both Nebraska and Iowa. Wicinski led all players in the Big Ten last week in kills (5.83 per set) and points (6/42 per set), while recording three aces (third in the B1G) and adding 12 digs.
Wicinski pushed her career kills total to 2,304, moving her past MSU all-time leader Jenna Wrobel; Wicinski's total is third all-time in the Big Ten and moved her up to a tie for 15th all-time in the NCAA record book. She needs 172 kills to get into the top 10 all-time in the sport.
Wicinski is third in the Big Ten in kills/set (4.44), which is 18th nationally; she ranks ninth nationally and leads in the Big Ten in points (5.22/set). She ranks second in the Big Ten in service aces (0.43 per set), which is 21st nationally.
Wicinski leads the country's active players in several categories. She ranks first among active players in career kills (2,304), which is 400 more than Megan Devine of East Tennessee State (1,925). She is also first in total attempts (5,331), and aces (265); she's second in kills/set (4.77), 14th in attempts per game (11.04), 13th in sets played (483) and tied for 14th in matches played (131).
Wicinski is one of 10 finalists for volleyball's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website (www.SeniorCLASSaward.com) through December 9. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner, who will be announced during the NCAA Division I Championship weekend. Fans are encouraged to vote daily, and use the hashtag #Vote4Lo via social media.
Junior libero Kori Moster became MSU's all-time digs leader on Nov. 8 vs. Northwestern. She surpassed Veronica Morales, who held the school record since 1997 (1,484). Moster currently boasts 1,542 career digs, which ranks 19th all-time in the Big Ten. She has at least four matches remaining in her junior season.
Moster leads the Big Ten in digs per set (4.71), which is her career-best average. That is tied for second all-time in a single-season at MSU, behind Nicole Colaluca's 5.41 digs per set in 2005. Colaluca averaged 4.71 in 2006.
Moster has twice this season tied her career best with 29 digs, (against Minnesota, and Michigan), originally set against San Diego in the NCAA Tournament last December. Her 29 against Michigan is the second-highest total in MSU history in a four-set match. She had 24 digs in each match last weekend.
Moster ranks 60th among active NCAA players in career digs. Moster recorded 602 digs in 2012, good for second in MSU's single-season recordbook. Moster's 474 digs as a freshman was sixth in a single season, and her current total of 466 is the seventh-highest single-season total in school history.
Alexis Mathews leads the Big Ten and is 17th nationally in hitting percentage (.415). That total places her third all-time in a single season in the Spartan annals, where her junior-year hitting percentage (.388) ranks fifth.
Mathews is second in the B1G in blocks per set (1.51), which ranks sixth nationally and ranks sixth all-time in the single-season MSU record book. She has a season total of 143 blocks (11 solo, 132 assists). She needs four blocks to have her senior season rank among the top 10 all-time; her sophomore (seventh) and junior (sixth) already rank among the top blocking seasons in school history. Her 132 block assists this season is the ninth highest total in school history.
Last weekend, Mathews moved into second place at MSU in career blocks, with 583. Angela Moreley (637) is MSU's all-time leader. Mathews is currently 14th all-time in the Big Ten record book. Mathews has 522 career block assists, just 30 shy of Moreley's school record of 552.
Mathews owns a .344 career hitting percentage, which ranks 25th among active players in Division I volleyball and second all-time at MSU. She ranks sixth among active players in blocks per set (1.30) and is third in total blocks (583).
Freshman Allyssah Fitterer set an MSU record when she hit .786 (12-1-14) at Northwestern on Nov. 8. The previous four-set record in the MSU record book was .708 (17-0-24) by Cheryl Histed against Eastern Michigan in November 1983. On Nov. 9 at Illinois, she turned in two more career bests, getting 15 kills on a season-high 25 attempts, hitting .520 and adding five blocks.
Over the last four matches, Fitterer is hitting .420 (55-13-100) and has 11 blocks.
Chloe Reinig averages 2.77 kills per set and is hitting .233 on the season. She has 10+ kills in 11 of her 16 career Big Ten matches.
Kristen Kelsay owns 2,867 career assists, good for sixth place at MSU all-time.
With Michigan State running a 6-2 offense, Kristen Kelsay (6.80 A/s) ranks 10th in the Big Ten in assists/set, while sophomore (and 2012 Big Ten All-Freshman team honoree) Halle Peterson (4.71) does not appear among conference leaders. As a team, however, the Spartans rank second in the Big Ten in assists per set, (12.83).
Taylor Galloway has had 9+ digs in seven of the last 10 matches for MSU, averaging 2.6 digs/set in that span. She tied her season best with 14 digs against Northwestern (Nov. 8).
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