Four Spartans Earn All-Region Honors
Bailey, Garvelink, Minarick, and Toliver Earn AVCA Awards
East Lansing, Mich. -- - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-North Region teams were released on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Michigan State placed four players on the two teams: Autumn Bailey (Burlington, Ontario), Alyssa Garvelink (Holland, Mich.) and Rachel Minarick (Naperville, Ill.) were First Team selections, while Holly Toliver (Berrien Springs) was an Honorable Mention pick.
Bailey is a First Team All-Region pick for the fourth time (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017) while Garvelink (2016, 2017) and Minarck (2014, 2017) earn the honor for the second time in their careers.
The Spartans have four All-Region picks for the first time since 2014 when they also placed three on the First Team. Four selections in a season are the most in program history.
“Obviously, its an amazing honor for them individually, and to have four in a single season is also fantastic for us as a program.” said head coach Cathy George, who is bringing the Spartans into the NCAA Sweet 16 this weekend. “With such a senior-laden team this season, there were very specific goals that we established back in the spring, when those hours in the gym were about building the foundation for what we wanted to accomplish. The team goals – making a run at a Big Ten title, a deep run in the NCAA Tournament – meant a very high level of commitment from everyone in our program. The result of those commitments is that not only are we still competing for a national championship, many of our players are having the best seasons of their careers. It’s very validating to see them rewarded for their commitment to making us better as a team.”
Bailey, a six-rotation outside hitter earns her second All-North honor after twice earning All-East Coast Region kudos at Marquette as a freshman and sophomore. She currently leads the Spartans with 3.55 kills per frame (seventh, B1G), is hitting .279, and is averaging 3.18 digs per set (11th, B1G). Bailey is the only six-rotation player in the Big Ten ranked in the top 11 in the league in both categories. She has posted 11 double-doubles this season, including MSU’s win over No. 9 seed Creighton (18 kills, tying her season best, to go with 11 digs). In two NCAA Tournament contests, Bailey is averaging 3.86 kills, 3.0 digs, and 0.71 blocks per set, hitting .308.
While spending just two seasons in a Spartan uniform, her play has been impactful. Bailey’s 2.92 digs per set in her MSU career ranks ninth all-time in the MSU record book. She is also 10th all-time at MSU in both attempts per set (8.93) and kills per set (3.33).
Nationally, Bailey ranks eighth among active players in kills. She has 1,799 career terminations (which includes 1,059 in her two seasons at Marquette), and she is sixth among active players in career attempts (4,792). She is 21st among active players in kills per set (3.93), and also boasts 1,415 career digs, which is 72nd - but she ranks sixth in career digs among active six-rotation OH.
Middle blocker Garvelink currently ranks fourth in the B1G and 25th nationally in the B1G in blocks per set (1.34). Her hitting percentage of .392 ranks third in the Conference (19th nationally), and she’s contributing 2.62 kills/set. In the opening round of NCAA Tournament action, Garvelink averaged 3.57 kills, 1.57 blocks, and 0.57 digs per frame, hitting .488 (25-5-41). Her hitting percentage ranks 14th among Tournament participants, and her blocks per set is 15th. In addition, her 13 kills vs. Creighton matched her previous high in an NCAA match (originally set in 2014 vs. Stanford as a freshman) and her seven blocks vs. Missouri State is her NCAA match-high in her career.
Garvelink surpassed 1,000 career kills in the Nov. 18 match vs. Indiana. She is the 23rd Spartan to reach the milestone, and is one of just three current Big Ten athletes with 1,000 kills and 500 blocks in their career. Meanwhile, she will graduate as one of the top blockers in school history. She currently ranks fifth all-time at MSU in total blocks (547) and fourth in block assists (490). Her 1.21 blocks per set average over four years is fifth all-time at MSU, and ranks eighth among active Division I players. She is tied for 30th all-time in the Big Ten record book in career blocks, and ranks eighth among active NCAA Division I players in that category.
Garvelink’s career hitting percentage (.308) ranks fourth all-time at MSU, while her 2017 average of .392 would fall fourth in the single-season top-10 list.
Minarick, who battled significant injuries in her sophomore and junior seasons, earned All-Region honors for the second time – she was an All-Region pick as a freshman in 2014. The four-year starting setter currently averages 11.19 assists (fourth, B1G/24th nationally), 0.36 aces (fourth B1G), and 2.23 digs per set. Her senior-year numbers are the best in any season of her MSU career. Minarick averaged 11.71 assists in the first two NCAA Tournament games, which ranks eighth nationally. Her 82 total assists is 13th. She led MSU to a .331 hitting percentage over the first two matches of the NCAA Tournament, averaging 15.86 kills per set as a team.
Minarick, like Garvelink, will go down as one of the top players at her position in program history. She owns 4,493 career helpers, second all-time at MSU behind Nikki Colson (4,563, 2000-03). She is 35th on the All-Time Big Ten list, and ranks 12th among active NCAA Division I players in career assists. She needs 70 assists to become MSU’s all-time leader. She also has 133 career service aces, which ranks 10th all-time in program history.
MSU’s other six-rotation outside hitter, Toliver ranks third on the team in kills per set (2.97) and is fourth in hitting percentage (.247). She is contributing 2.23 digs and 0.53 blocks per frame. She is second in the B1G and ranks 46th nationally in service aces per set (0.40).
Like Minarick, Toliver was hampered for two seasons with injury – but as a senior, boasts career-best numbers in kills, hitting percentage, aces, assists, digs, and blocks. She averaged 2.86 kills, 2.29 digs, and 0.43 assists per set in last weekend’s NCAA matches, which included 13 kills and 11 digs, adding three assists vs. Creighton. Both were career NCAA Tournament highs, and she also posted her seventh double-double of the season.
AVCA ALL-NORTH REGION
Symone Abbott, Northwestern ( OH/Sr.)
Annika Albrecht Nebraska (OH/Sr.)
Autumn Bailey ****, Michigan State (OH/RS-Sr.)
Mikaela Foecke***, Nebraska (OH/Jr.)
Alyssa Garvelink **, Michigan State (MB/Sr.)
Alexis Hart**, Minnesota (OH/So.)
Briana Holman****, Nebraska (MB/Sr.)
Kelly Hunter***, Nebraska (S/Sr.)
Abbie Lehman****, Wichita State (MB/Sr.)
Rachel Minarick **, Michigan State (S/Sr.)
Courtney Pence, Illinois State (L/Jr.)
Stephanie Sameday, Minnesota (RS/Fr.)
Samantha Seliger-Swenson***, Minnesota (S//Jr.)
Carly Skjodt, Michigan (OH/Jr.)
HONORABLE MENTION ALL-NORTH
Tabitha Brown, Wichita State (OH/Jr.)
Emily Hiebert, Wichita State (S/Sr.)
Jaelyn Keene, Illinois State (MB/Sr.)
Claire Kieffer-Wright, Michigan (MB/Sr.)
Molly Lohman, Minnesota (MB/Sr.)
Holly Toliver, Michigan State (RS/Sr.)
Player of the Year: Kelly Hunter, Nebraska
Freshman of the Year: Stephanie Samedy, Minnesota
Coach of the Year: Chris Lamb, Wichita State