Four Spartans Earn All-America Honors
Program-best four players earn AVCA Distinction
East Lansing, Mich. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced the 2017 All-American teams on Wednesday. Michigan State placed four players on the teams: Autumn Bailey (Burlington, Ontario) and Alyssa Garvelink (Holland, Mich.) were Second Team All-America selections, while Rachel Minarick (Naperville, Ill.) and Holly Toliver (Berrien Springs, Mich.) were Honorable Mention picks.
The four Spartan selections are a school record for All-American selections in a single season; MSU had three AVCA picks in 2013 (Lauren Wicinski, Alexis Mathews, and Kori Moster). In addition, Michigan State becomes the 21st program to have at least 10 AVCA All-Americans (First, Second, or Third Team). A total of 16 Spartans have earned AVCA post-season honors in program history.
Bailey earned AVCA All-America honors for the fourth time in her career, while Garvelink, and Minarick celebrated a selection for the second time. Meanwhile, Toliver earned her first All-America award.
Bailey Garvelink, and Minarick are the third, fourth, and fifth players to earn AVCA honors multiple times at Michigan State in their career - Garvelink joins Val Sterk (First Team, 1995 and 1996), and Wicinski (Second Team, 2012 and 2013) as the only players to twice make the First, Second or Third team, while Bailey and Minarick join Kori Moster (Second Team 2013, HM 2012 and 2014) to have multiple selections to a First, Second, Third Team or Honorable Mention.
"This is an amazing accomplishment for not only these athletes, but also our program," said head coach Cathy George. "As I said when these four earned All-Big Ten honors, it took our entire team dedicating themselves to the team and our goals for us to accomplish what we did this season. As a result of that commitment, the individual honors were a result for these four players. Unfortunately, the others won't have the personal accolades, but this team will go down in our record books as one of the most successful in program history, and as we say - this team will walk together forever.
"I am thrilled for Autumn, Alyssa, Rachel and Holly," continued George. "They are all outstanding players and contributed so much to our program in their careers. All of them had to overcome injuries - both Holly and Autumn missed either an entire or good portion of a season, Rachel battled through knee injuries for her final three years, and Alyssa also had a shoulder issue that hindered her at times. This is a testament to their will, their toughness, and their commitment. These All-America honors are well-earned."
The four helped guide Michigan State to the Elite Eight, falling to No. 1 Penn State in the University Park Regional Final. The Spartans went 24-9 and finished fourth in the Big Ten with a 14-6 record, and made their first appearance in an NCAA Regional Final since 1996. Both Bailey and Minarick earned All-Tournament Team honors at the NCAA Regional.
A six-rotation OH, Autumn Bailey led the Spartans with 3.61 kills per frame (seventh, B1G), hit .279, and averaged 3.17 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 posted 12 double-doubles this season (two in the NCAA Tournament), exceeding her total from 2016 and pushing her career total to 65. Despite spending just two seasons at MSU, Bailey's 2.93 digs per set in her MSU career ranks ninth all-time in the MSU record book. She is also eighth all-time at MSU in attempts per set (9.01) and 10th in kills per set (3.37).
In NCAA Tournament matches, Bailey averaged 4.14 kills per frame and 3.00 digs, while hitting .288. This is the fourth All-America honor for Bailey, who earned Honorable Mention honors in each of the first three seasons of her career.
Over four seasons, Bailey accumulated 1,830 career terminations (which includes 1,059 in her two seasons at Marquette), which ranked sixth among active Division I players, and is also sixth in career attempts (4,873). She is 21st among active players in kills per set (3.94), and also boasts 1,436 career digs, which is 66th - but she ranks sixth in career digs among active six-rotation OH.
A middle blocker, Alyssa Garvelink earned Second Team honors for the second straight season. Garvelink posted a .374 hitting percentage (sixth B1G/ 34th nationally), 1.35 blocks per set (fourth B1G /25th nationally), and contributed 2.59 kills/set. Garvelink surpassed 1,000 career kills in the Nov. 18 match vs. Indiana - she is the 23rd Spartan to reach the milestone. Her .374 hitting percentage on the season is sixth all-time in a single season at MSU, and her block assists (137) is eighth.
Garvelink finished her career ranked sixth all-time in hitting percentage (.304), third in block assists (499), fifth in total blocks (557) and fifth in blocks per set (1.21). She ranks 26th all-time in the Big Ten in career blocks (557).
Setter Rachel Minarick earned Honorable Mention honors for the second time in her career - she was also an Honorable Mention pick in 2014 as a freshman. She posted a career-best 11.28 assists (fourth, B1G/20th nationally), 0.36 aces (fourth, B1G/87th nationally), and 2.38 digs per set. Her senior-year numbers are the best in any season of her MSU career. In the final game of MSU's season, she became MSU's all-time assist leader, with 4,581 career helpers, passing Nikki Colson (4,563, 2000-03). She is 32nd on the All-Time Big Ten list. Minarick also finished her career with 135 career service aces, which ranks 10th all-time in program history.
Minarick averaged an impressive 12.14 assists per set to go with 2.57 digs per frame in NCAA Tournament matches in 2017.
On Monday, it was announced that Minarick was a First Team CoSIDA Academic All-American, just the second first-team selection in program history. She and Garvelink are both three-time Academic All-Big Ten selections and CoSIDA Academic All-District picks in 2017.
MSU's other six-rotation outside hitter, Toliver ranked third on the team in kills per set (2.99) and is fourth in hitting percentage (.243). She also contributed 2.25 digs and 0.55 blocks per frame. She is second in the B1G and ranks 34th nationally in service aces per set (0.41).
Toliver was hampered for two seasons with injury - but as a senior, boasted career-best numbers in kills, hitting percentage, aces, assists, digs, and blocks. She averaged 3.07 kills, 2.43 digs, 0.50 assists, and 0.43 aces over four NCAA Tournament matches.