Dec. 5, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State volleyball makes its first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2007 and will face Michigan in the Regional Semifinals on Friday, Dec. 7 in Berkeley, Calif., at Haas Pavilion. The match is slated for 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com with Sam Gore and Holly McPeak on the call. The winner will face either Stanford or Iowa State on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 11:30 p.m. ET with a spot in the Final Four on the line.
A Look at the Spartans
Michigan State is led on the outside by junior Lauren Wicinski; she leads the team in points (5.34), service aces (0.64) and kills per set (4.42). Alexis Mathews, a native of Detroit, Mich., is the anchor in the middle for the Spartans and averages 1.21 blocks per set and also has a .388 hitting percentage. Sophomore libero Kori Moster reels in 4.66 digs per set, and also averages 0.25 service aces per set. At setter, Kristen Kelsay leads the Spartans with 6.98 assists per set and freshman Halle Peterson also chips in with 4.72 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 511-337. The Spartans made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
Recapping Last Weekend
The Spartans took down San Diego in five sets in their first round match at Pauley Pavilion, and followed that up by taking down the defending National Champion UCLA. MSU hit .500 percent in the final set and notched 10 kills to along with zero errors against San Diego and the Spartans were led by double-doubles from both Alexis Mathews and Lauren Wicinski. In the second round, MSU upset seventh-seeded UCLA, 3-1. Lauren Wicinski paced MSU with 23 kills on the night and Taylor Galloway recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 11 kills and 11 digs.
The Wolverines advanced to the Sweet 16 by taking down Tennessee, 3-2 and then upending 10th-seeded Louisville, 3-1 on its home floor. Michigan is led on the outside by Lexi Erwin and her 4.12 kills per set. Jennifer Cross and Molly Toon both contribute offensively with 2.57 and 2.72 kills per set, respectively. Setter Lexi Dannemiller averages 11.31 assists per set and Tiffany Morales brings in 3.80 digs per set.
Series History: MSU leads the all-time series, 49-36-1.
Last meeting: Michigan beat MSU 3-0 on Nov. 21, 2012.
Coach: Mark Rosen is in his 14th season at the helm of the Wolverines.
A Glance at Stanford
Stanford coasted to the Regional Semifinals after sweeping both Jackson State and Western Kentucky last weekend. The Cardinals are led by Carly Wopat and Jordan Burgess on the outside and they average 2.85 and 2.82 kills per set respectively. Madi Bugg records 8.14 assists per set and Kyle Gilbert notches 4.52 digs per set. Both Inky Ajanaku and Carly Wopat average more than 1.00 blocks per set.
Series History: The Spartans are 0-2 all-time against Stanford.
Last meeting: MSU fell to Stanford 3-0 on Sept. 1, 1996.
Coach: John Dunning is in his 12th season at Stanford and is a three-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
A Look at the Cyclones
Iowa State took down IPFW and North Carolina in the first and second rounds to advance to the Sweet 16. The Cyclones took down both teams in five sets. ISU is led by Victoria Hurtt and her 3.10 kills per set. Alison Landwehr averages 11.57 assists per set and Kristen Hahn brings in 5.40 digs per set. Iowa State finished 13-3 in the Big 12.
Series History: MSU is 0-1 all-time against Iowa State.
Last meeting: The Spartans fell to ISU 2-1 on Oct. 30, 1981.
Coach: Christy Johnson-Lynch is in her seventh season at Iowa State.
A Familiar Foe
Michigan and Michigan State will square off for a third time this season, the first that has happened since 1994. MSU faced UM in a pre-conference tournament in addition to two other matches in `94. The Spartans and Wolverines split the regular season, MSU sweeping Michigan in Ann Arbor and UM doing the same to MSU in East Lansing this year.
Regional Action on ESPN3.com
MSU's Sweet 16 match with Michigan will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com. If Michigan State wins, the Regional Final match with either Stanford or Iowa State will air live on ESPNU.
Spartans in California
MSU is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007 and has taken California by storm. The Spartans defeated two in-state teams to reach this point and with a win over Michigan would make its first Elite Eight since 1996. Last time in the Sweet 16, MSU fell to Nebraska in five sets.
When it Matters Most-er
Sophomore Kori Moster was spectacular this past weekend, averaging 6.34 digs per set over the weekend. Moster further solidified why she was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and consistently kept rallies alive for the Spartans against both San Diego and UCLA.
Shocking the Defending Champs
MSU downed UCLA in thrilling fashion at Pauley Pavilion, 3-1. The Bruins were the seventh seed in the tournament and also ranked No. 7 in the country. The Spartans relied on several players to step up and gained momentum after a comeback in set two. MSU trailed 20-14 in the second but went on to steal the set, 29-27.
Galloway Stepping Up
Sophomore Taylor Galloway picked the perfect time to score her seventh double-double of the season with 11 kills and 11 digs at UCLA. Galloway is second on the team in double-doubles, trailing only Lauren Wicinski with nine.
With two wins in the NCAA Tournament this past weekend, MSU remains a perfect 14-0 against teams outside of the Big Ten. The Spartans started the regular season with a 12-0 against non-conference opponents tied for the third best start in program history.
Wicinski in the Record Book
Lauren Wicinski sits alone atop the single season record book for aces in a season. Wicinski has recorded 81 aces on the season and broke the previous record of 75 at home against Michigan. Previous record holder Jane Zenner had held the mark since 1983.
Milestone for Moster
Sophomore libero and Cincinnati, Ohio native Kori Moster is making a climb up the single season record book for digs. Moster currently sits at second all-time at MSU with 587 digs this season. In just two seasons at MSU, she has already surpassed 1,000 career digs. Moster hit the 1,000 digs milestone at Penn State after notching 16 digs. Moster currently has 1,061 career digs and needs 42 digs to break the single season record at Michigan State.
All-Big Ten Accolades
Michigan State volleyball had four individuals recognized on Tuesday, Nov. 27 as the Big Ten Conference released the postseason honors and awards for the 2012 season. Kori Moster earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and was also named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention.Junior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski was named to the 16-member All-Big Ten team and Halle Peterson was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. Kristen Kelsay, a co-captain, was MSU's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship award.
Spartans Retain State Pride Flag
Michigan State retained the State Pride Flag for the third-straight season and the second consecutive season on total points. The Spartans edged Michigan, 139-133, after each team swept matches on the road. A record-setting crowd of 5,059 fans took in the match at Jenison Field House and it was the third-largest crowd in program history.
Stunning Ranked Opponents
MSU added San Diego and UCLA to its list of victories over ranked teams this past weekend. The Spartans took down No. 18 San Diego 3-2 and defeated No. 7 UCLA 3-1. Previously this season, MSU strung together wins over then-No. 4 Nebraska and then-No.10 Minnesota, recording its first back-to-back wins over top-10 teams since 1995.
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 511 career wins during her 26 years of coaching and is in her eighth year at MSU. George has also compiled victories at North Dakota State, Texas-Arlington, and Western Michigan.