Volleyball Earns Third NCAA Tournament Appearance in Four Years
Nov. 29, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - As announced by the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Committee today, Nov. 29, the Michigan State volleyball team has received its third NCAA tournament bid in four years. This will also mark the 13th appearance in program history. The Spartans, who began the season with their third-best start in program history, 12-0, finished the regular season with a 17-15 overall record. MSU drew site-host Kentucky as its first round opponent, with the match slated to be begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4. As a conference, the Big Ten has six schools participating in the yearly tournament. Joining the Spartans will be Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State.
"We weren't sure if we would see our name or not," said head coach Cathy George. "We knew we would be on the bubble, and we were a little nervous after the loss to Ohio State, that we wouldn't have a chance to get in. It was exciting to see that our record, our strength of conference, the strength of our RPI, was able to pull us in. After seeing the Pac-10 go eight deep, that really helped me to become optimistic as time went on. To see our name come up was really great and rewarding for a team that I feel is very good, but a team that came up short a couple times."
The match on Friday will mark the second time in three years the Spartans have opened the NCAA tournament with Kentucky as their first round opponent. Overall, the Green and White is 4-0 all-time against Kentucky, while boasting a 2-0 record in Lexington. In 2007, MSU downed the Wildcats 3-1 in Dayton Ohio. Michigan State then proceeded to advanced to the Regional Semifinal in Madison, Wis., where it was eventually downed by No. 2 Nebraska, 3-2.
"I think we definitely saved ourselves with the start we had to the season," said senior Vanessa King. "We have had our ups and downs; just fighting through the conference is hard in and of itself. We did enough to get in, so I think we need to bring everything we have now. I think we are focused now more than ever, and we just need to start imposing our will on our opponents."
The winner of the MSU vs. UK match will play the winner of the Clemson-Oregon contest on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m.
"I am so excited to have this opportunity. After the match against Ohio State, I though that was the end of my career. Being in such a great conference, it's a battle every night, so to pull out those matches early was extremely beneficial," added senior Mischelle Nelson.
Michigan State is 1-1 all-time against Clemson, while it would mark the first-ever meeting with the Ducks.
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