|Active Ankle Challenge at Florida|
|Dates/Times||Fri.-Sat., Sept. 8-9|
|Location||Gainesville, Fla.; O’Connell Center|
|Tickets||Florida Ticket Office|
|Live Video Streams||SEC+ (MSU vs. Florida Match Only)|
|Download Game Notes||Michigan State | American | UNC Greensboro | Florida|
|Weekly Press Conference||Watch|
|Social Media||@MichStVB | Facebook|
*Note: Reduced to single match against Gators with impending treat of Hurricane Irma approaching.
- Michigan State is slated for the Active Ankle Challenge at No. 2 Florida, taking on American, UNC-Greensboro, and the host Gators.
- Live statistics for all Spartan matches will be made available at sidearmstats.com/florida/wvball/. MSU’s Saturday afternoon match against the Gators will air on SEC+. All live stats and video webstream links are also available on MSUSpartans.com.TEAM NOTES
- American enters the week at 5-3, and swept Sacred Heart, Stony Brook and the host Crimson last weekend at the Harvard Invitational. Aleksandra Kazala was selected as the MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by sophomore libero Kristen Largay and senior middle Erin Swartz. Kazala recorded three double-doubles, two matches with more than 20 kills, and a career-high 19 digs in the win over Stony Brook. Swartz is the older sister of MSU redshirt freshman Lauren Swartz. The two will face off at 10 am on Friday.
- UNC Greensboro and MSU will meet for the first time in the sport of volleyball when they take the floor at 5 pm on Friday. UNCG earned a 3-1 record last week, winning its third consecutive Spartan-Aggie Invitational. Junior libero Christina Gregory is the defending SoCon Defensive Player of the Week, after averaging 4.67 digs per set. She earned back-to-back 22 dig performances against Charlotte and Presbyterian before going for 18 in Saturday afternoon’s match at North Carolina A&T.
- Saturday will be a showdown of AVCA top-25 teams when MSU tangles with No. 2-ranked Florida. The Gators won a 3-0 decision last September at Jenison Field House, and enters the week with a 4-0 record, three of those victories coming over Top 20 opponents. Sophomore middle blocker Rachael Kramer is a week removed from National Player of the Week honors, and paces the Gator offense with 3.2 kills per set, hitting .494. Carli Snyder is right behind with 3.1 kills per frame, while Rhamat Alhassan is one of the most dominant middles in the game, averaging 1.67 blocks per set.
- MSU posted three consecutive 3-0 sweeps to claim the 2017 Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational Title. MSU took down San Diego State, Marshall, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
- MSU moved up two spots in the AVCA poll this week to No. 21 after a clean sweep of three opponents last weekend at the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational. MSU opened the 2017 campaign at No. 17 in the AVCA national poll, and fell to No. 23 after a 2-1 opening weekend.
- The Spartans were one of the top serving teams in the nation in 2016, and that has carried over into the current season. The Spartans lead the Big Ten and rank second nationally in service aces per set (2.37). MSU is 16th nationally with 45 aces through six matches.
- MSU is holding opponents to a .103 hitting percentage, which ranks second in the Big Ten and seventh nationally. Corpus Christi hit .211 in MSU’s most recent match – the high for the six opponents MSU has faced.
- The Spartans rank third in the Big Ten (and 24th nationally) in blocks, with 2.84 per set. Illinois leads the pack with 3.79 blocks per frame. MSU ranked 40th in the nation in blocks per set a year ago, averaging 2.48 per frame (good for 7th in the Big Ten).
- The Spartan senior class was the No. 6 recruiting class in the country back in 2014, while the current freshman class was ranked No. 9 this past summer by PrepVolleyball.
- Head Coach Cathy George celebrated her 600th career victory with the 3-0 sweep of San Diego State, and 13 to become the all-time winningest coach in Spartan history. Annelies Knoppers won 250 games from 1974-84, and Chuck Erbe was 244-140 in his 12-year tenure (1993-2004). George is 237-164 at MSU.
- George becomes the third Big Ten head coach to amass 600 wins, along with Penn State’s Russ Rose (1,218) and Wisconsin’s John Cook (632). She ranks 22nd among active coaches in coaching victories.
- All five of MSU’s victories this season have come by 3-0 scores. The Green and White owned 18 three-set victories in 34 matches last season. The Spartans went 18-6 in three-set matches overall, 5-0 in four-setters, and were 2-3 in their five-set affairs.
- The Spartans are one of just three Big Ten programs to finish .500 or better in Big Ten play over the last six seasons — Penn State and Nebraska are the other two.
- The Big Ten again promises to be the pacesetter in Division I volleyball this season, despite losing the most 2016 All-Americans (9) to graduation of any conference in the country. The Big Ten returns 17 2016 All-Americans, six more than the Big 12 (11) and seven more than the Pac-12 and SEC (10 each).
- Michigan State shattered single-game and a pair of single-season attendance records last season. MSU had a program best 6,838 fans for Jam Jenison on Nov. 12 vs. Michigan, and ranked sixth in the country in both total attendance (53,895) and average attendance (2,994), both program bests. Before the 2017 pre-season camp began, MSU had established a new program mark with more than 1,000 season tickets sold.PLAYER NOTES
The Spartans return three AVCA All-America selections: Seniors Alyssa Garvelink (Second Team, 2016), Autumn Bailey (Honorable Mention, 2013, 2014, 2016), and Rachel Minarick (Honorable Mention, 2014).
- In all five of six matches this season, the Spartans have gone with an all-senior starting lineup: OH’s Autumn Bailey, Brooke Kranda, and Holly Toliver, MB’s Alyssa Garvelink and Megan Tompkins, setter Rachel Minarick, and libero Abby Monson. In the game vs. Corpus Christi, sophomore setter Maggie Midgette got the nod, helping MSU to it’s first .400 hitting performance as a team and dishing out a career-best 38 assists in a 3-0 sweep of the Islanders.
- Brooke Kranda was named Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational MVP, hitting .439 and averaging 3.33 kills, 1.22 blocks, and 0.78 assists per set on the weekend. Joining her on the All-Tournament team was Autumn Bailey, who averaged 3.22 kills, 3.11 digs, and 0.44 blocks per set without a hitting error on the weekend, hitting .433. Alyssa Garvelink made her second straight All-Tournament Team appearance, averaging 1.56 blocks and 2.33 kills per set with a .548 hitting percentage.
- Kranda is one of four Spartans who average between 2.58 and 2.94 kills per frame. The Westfield, Ind. native is hitting .330 on the season (second on the team), and averaging 2.58 kills, 0.47 aces, and 1.05 blocks per set. The fifth-year OH/RS led MSU in 2016 with 49 service aces, (0.56 per set, good for the top spot in the B1G and sixth nationally). She contributed 2.12 kills per set and 0.62 blocks per frame.
- Garvelink has two straight All-Tournament Team selections to her credit this season, as she was also named the Hyatt Regency Invitational at Georgia Tech MVP.
- Garvelink was a Second-team All-American in 2016, and is likely to graduate as one of MSU’s top blockers in school history. She currently ranks sixth in both block assists (396) and total blocks (442); her 1.20 blocks per set career average is fifth in school history.
- Garvelink currently ranks second nationally and third in the B1G in blocks per set (1.89), and is 17th among NCAA Division I athletes with 36 total blocks.
- Autumn Bailey had a weekend of near-perfect volleyball – she had 29 kills on 67 swings with no hitting errors, and averaged 3.22 kills, 3.11 digs, 0.44 blocks, and 0.56 assists per set while adding at least eight digs in every match, with a weekend-high 12 vs. Marshall. In the finale, she led MSU with 16 kills on 29 swings (no errors).
- Bailey currently leads the Spartans with 2.94 kills per frame, is hitting .285, and is averaging 3.33 digs and 0.33 aces per set.
- Rachel Minarick averages 9.91 assists (10th, B1G), 0.75 aces (first, B1G), and 1.75 digs per set. She is currently sixth all-time at MSU with 3.566 career assists. She needs 176 to move past fifth-place Natalie Emro (3,742, 2008-11), and 207 to catapult into third place all-time – Courtney DeBolt had 3,773 (1992-95).
- Minarick and Holly Toliver are among the national leaders in service aces – Minarick leads the Big Ten and is fifth nationally (0.75/s), while Toliver is second in the league and 11th nationally with 0.67 per frame. Brooke Kranda is sixth in the B1G with 0.47 aces per set.
- Holly Toliver ranks third on the team with 2.83 kills per set, and has also added 2.17 digs and 0.44 blocks per set over the first six matches. Her four blocks against Auburn (Aug. 26)tied her career best.
- Abby Monson has started 40 consecutive matches at libero, and is averaging 4.21 digs per set , good for fifth in the Big Ten in that category. In 2016, she averaged a team-best 3.47 digs per set, 11th in the Big Ten.
- Senior middle Megan Tompkins is averaging 0.83 blocks per set (good for third on the team), and also chipping in 1.39 kills per frame.
- Three Senior Aces are among the five freshmen on MSU’s 2017 roster.Alyssa Chronowski (No. 30), Jamye Cox (No. 40), and Meredith Norris (No. 25) all enrolled at MSU in January and already have a semester of college courses under their belts. Julia Hatcher and Bella Legarza round out the Spartan newcomers. In addition, redshirt freshman Lauren Swartz will see her first collegiate action this fall after redshirting a year ago and earning the team’s Most Improved Award.
- MSU has two 2017 graduates who are pursuing their graduate degrees at other universities and playing beach volleyball during their fifth year of collegiate eligibility: Allyssah Fitterer will play at Hawaii, and Chloe Reinig will play this spring at Loyola-Marymount in Los Angeles.
- MSU heads to South Bend for the final weekend of non-conference play Sept. 15-16. MSU takes on Notre Dame Friday night, and then tangles with Central Michigan and Southern Illinois on Saturday to complete the pre-conference schedule.
Press Release courtesy of Michigan State Athletics.