Michigan State Heads To Purdue, Indiana For Final Week Of Big Ten Play

  0 volleymob | November 21st, 2017 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News

Press Release courtesy of Michigan State Athletics

  • Michigan State is on the road for the final week of the regular season, heading to Indiana to take on both Purdue and the Hoosiers.
  • MSU will have a radio broadcast of all matches – home and away – throughout the rest of the season. John Kreger returns behind the mic for the call on SpartanSportsNetwork.com.
  • Both matches air live on BTN2Go this weekend, and live statistics for both matches will be available on MSUSpartans.com.
  • Michigan State comes into the weekend at 20-7 overall and 13-5 in Big Ten play. The Spartans split last week’s action – a 3-0 loss at Michigan before rebounding with a 3-0 sweep of Indiana at home on senior night.
  • Purdue, No. 16 in this week’s national poll, enters the week at 21-8 overall and 11-7 in Big Ten play (fifth place). The Boilermakers fell at Michigan in their most recent match, a week removed from a pair of home victories over Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  • Dave Shondell is the head coach for Purdue, now in his 16th season on the sideline. Senior Danielle Cuttino ranks third in the Big Ten with 4.02 kills per set, and is 13th in hitting percentage (.331). Sheridan Atkinson leads her team with a .341 hitting percentage (ninth, B1G), and Shavona Cuttino is the top blocker with 0.98 blocks per frame.
  • Indiana is under the tutelage of Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan, who is in her 11th season at the helm. The Hoosiers enter the week at 12-18 overall and are 1-17 in Big Ten play. IU has a young team with just five upperclassmen (two seniors, three juniors), and are led by Kendall Beerman’s 3.11 kills per set, while Deyshia Lofton owns the team’s top hitting percentage (.325) and blocking average (0.95/s). Setter Victoria Brisack is averaging 10.51 assists per set.


  • MSU will play its final match of the regular season on the road for the fifth time in six seasons.
  • MSU enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 20-7 overall record, the seventh 20-win season in Cathy George‘s tenure.
  • With a 13-5 mark in Big Ten play, the Spartans have secured a seventh-straight season with a .500 mark in Conference action. MSU is one of three teams – along with Penn State and Nebraska – to be .500 or better in seven straight seasons in Big Ten play.
  • In 2016, MSU finished 13-7 in the Big Ten – the most B1G wins in a season in the Cathy George era. The Spartans have two Big Ten games remaining in 2017. MSU won a program-record 19 B1G games in 1995, 18 in 1996, and 15 in 1998. The Spartans won 13 games in both 2001 and 2016.
  • With 26 Big Ten wins over the last two seasons, its the highest Big Ten win total since the 1998 and 1999 teams combined for 26 B1G victories. The 1997 and 1998 teams combined for 27, which is still achievable for the Spartans. The school record is 37 wins in two seasons (1995 and 1996), followed by 30 wins in 1995 and 1996, and 28 victories in 1994 and 1995.
  • At 13-5, MSU is guaranteed a fourth-place or better finish in the Big Ten standings. Purdue (11-7) sits in fifth place, two games behind MSU with two to play. Penn State and Nebraska remain tied for first place at 17-1, with one guaranteed at taking the title. Minnesota is in third place (14-4) with the Nittany Lions and Rutgers on its schedule this week. MSU has not finished fourth or higher since 2001, and last finished third in 1998.
  • MSU owns an 11-2 record at home, with the lone losses to No. 1 Penn State (Nov. 1) and No. 7 Nebraska (Oct. 24). The Spartans are 5-5 in road matches, and a perfect 4-0 in neutral-site matchups.
  • In the first 18 Big Ten matches of the season, the Spartans have played seven games against teams ranked seventh or higher in the AVCA national poll and own a 3-4 mark in those contests. Four of those top-10 matches were road affairs.
  • With three wins over top 10 teams so far this season, it is the most top-10 victories in a single season in school history.
  • Michigan State fell two spots to No. 10 in this week’s American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national poll. MSU has spent seven consecutive weeks in the AVCA poll at No. 10 or higher, MSU’s longest stay in the Top 10 since the 1996 season. • Six Big Ten programs earned spots in the latest AVCA coaches poll, : No. 1 Penn State, No. 5 Nebraska, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 10 MSU, No. 11 Wisconsin, and No. 16 Purdue. Illinois and Michigan are among the teams receiving votes.
  • The Spartans went 7-2 in non-conference action, dropping true road contests at Georgia Tech and (RV) Notre Dame. The Spartans won two of the three tournaments they played, and had one entire weekend of games (at No. 2 Florida, and against American and UNC-Greensboro) washed out due to Hurricane Irma. Florida sits at No. 2 in the latest RPI, while American (24-7, 13-1 Conference) earned the Patriot League autobid to the NCAA Tournament and is No. 64 in RPI.
  • Eleven Big Ten volleyball teams are ranked in the top 50 of the NCAA RPI through Nov. 20, including nine of the top 46: No. 4 Penn State, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 17 MSU, No. 25 Purdue, , No. 28 Illinois, No. 30 Michigan, No. 42 Ohio State, No. 46 Iowa, and No. 47 Maryland.
  • MSU owns three wins vs. RPI Top 25 teams: Minnesota, and Wisconsin twice; MSU has one more chance this weekend with No. 25 Purdue on the docket. The Spartans have seven wins against teams in the 26-50 RPI group: No. 28 Illinois, No. 30 Michigan, No. 42 Ohio State, No. 46 Iowa, No. 47 Maryland (twice) and No. 49 Auburn.
  • The Big Ten is once again the pacesetter in Division I volleyball, despite losing the most 2016 All-Americans (9) to graduation of any conference in the country. The Big Ten returned 17 2016 All-Americans, six more than the Big 12 (11) and seven more than the Pac-12 and SEC (10 each).
  • The Big Ten went a combined 128-27 in non-conference action (.826), just edging out the Pac-12 (104-22, .825). The SEC also won more than 100 games, going 105-40 (.724).
  • MSU ranks in the top 25 nationally in four categories: eighth in aces (1.73/s), 16th in kills (14.34 /s), 20th in assists (13.31/s), and 24th in hitting percentage (.271). MSU is also 48th in winning percentage (20-7, .741).
  • The Spartans lead the Big Ten and rank eighth nationally in service aces (1.73 per set). MSU boasts three individuals among the league’s top seven in aces per set (Holly ToliverRachel Minarick, and Brooke Kranda).
  • MSU had eight blocks in each of its two games last week, tying their Big Ten season high. The Spartans rank eighth in the league in blocking (2.23/s).
  • The Spartans are second in the Big Ten with 14.34 kills per set, which also ranks 16th nationally. MSU’s 14.34 kill per set average is its highest in the 25-point rally scoring era (since 2008). MSU’s .271 hitting percentage is also the highest in the program since the 2006 team hit .275.
  • With 14.93 digs per set, the Spartans are fourth in the B1G rankings. MSU has six players averaging between 2.06 and 3.24 digs per set.
  • MSU continues to have a well-distributed offense. The Spartans have four players averaging between 2.53 and 3.48 kills per frame.
  • MSU has hit .300 or better 10 times in 18 Big Ten matches, and four times in the last five matches. MSU’s two lowest hitting performances in B1G play came vs. Nebraska ( .147 on the road and .144 at home), while its high was .398 vs Northwestern last Saturday (Nov. 11). Six of MSU’s .300 hitting performances were .348 or better.
  • MSU is 8-1 in three-set matches in Big Ten play, with the lone loss last Wednesday at Michigan. Each of MSU’s last five matches were three-set affairs, which follows a stretch of nine of 11 going four sets. MSU’s only five-setter in Big Ten play came in the opening match of the B1G season at Wisconsin.
  • Against Michigan last Wednesday, the Spartans fell in three sets (20-25, 27-29, 23-25) – the match featured 36 tie scores and a season-high 15 lead changes. MSU’s Nov. 1 showdown vs. Penn State (a 3-1 loss) featured 38 tie scores, the most in any match of MSU’s Big Ten season.
  • 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.
  • Cathy George celebrated her 600th career victory with the 3-0 sweep of San Diego State (Sept. 1).
  • George is the third Big Ten head coach to amass 600+ wins, along with Penn State’s Russ Rose (1,240) and Wisconsin’s John Cook (653). She ranks 19th among active coaches in coaching victories, and 50th all-time in Division I history.
  • The Nov. 8 home victory over Northwestern was the 251st win on the Spartan sideline for George, and it also made her the all-time winningest coach in program history. Annelies Knoppers won 250 games from 1974-84, and Chuck Erbe was 244-140 in his 12-year tenure (1993-2004).
  • MSU’s match at Nebraska (Oct. 4) was the 1,000th match coached in the career of Cathy George.
  • Michigan State has averaged 3,583 fans for Big Ten matches at Jenison Field House. MSU currently ranks ninth in Division I in overall attendance (37, 756) and eighth in overall average attendance (3,416).
  • The NCAA Division I Volleyball Selection Show will air live on ESPNU on Sunday evening at 9 pm ET. The Spartans are in search of their seventh consecutive NCAA bid.


  • Rachel Minarick and Alyssa Garvelink are both CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees, as announced on Thursday, Nov. 16. Minarick boasts a 3.97 cumulative GPA as a Kinesiology major. She is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honoree, and last year earned CoSIDA Academic All-Region kudos as well. She advances to the national ballot. Garvelink is a two-time Academic All-B1G honoree who owns a 3.36 GPA as a Communications major.
  • MSU boasts a senior-dominated starting lineup: OH’s Autumn BaileyBrooke Kranda, and Holly Toliver, MB’s Alyssa Garvelink and Megan Tompkins, setter Rachel Minarick, and freshman libero Jamye Cox. A seventh senior, Abby Monson, is a standout defensive specialist who has appeared in 23 of 27 matches.
  • Since Nov. 1 – the start of the final month of the season – MSU has seen an uptick in several statistics. Over these last six games, Autumn Bailey is averaging 4.42 kills per set, hitting .333, and averaging 2.84 digs per frame to go with 0.47 blocks per set. Alyssa Garvelink is hitting .460 over the same time period, while Rachel Minarick is averaging 12.11 assists per set, to go with 2.21 digs per frame.
  • A key to the Spartans’ success this season is a widely-distributed offense (and defense). MSU boasts four players averaging between 2.53 and 3.43 kills per set, three who average 0.61 blocks per set or more, and four starters boast dig averages of 2.25 or more per frame.
  • MSU also has three players among the top six in the Big Ten (and among national leaders) in service aces per set: Holly Toliver leads the Big Ten and is 18th nationally (0.45 aces per set). Rachel Minarick (0.40, 3rd B1G/50th nationally), and Brooke Kranda (0.31, 7th B1G) are also among Conference leaders.
  • Bailey leads the Spartans with 3.48 kills per frame (10th, B1G), is hitting .271, and is averaging 3.24 digs per set (10th, B1G). Bailey is the only six-rotation players in the Big Ten ranked in the top 10 in the league in both categories.
  • Bailey has nine double-doubles this season (all in B1G play), matching her total from 2016. She has more than 60 double-doubles in her career.
  • Bailey’s 2.93 digs per set in her MSU career ranks eighth all-time in the MSU record book. • Nationally, Bailey ranks eighth among active players in kills. She has 1,739 career terminations (which includes 1,059 in her two seasons at Marquette), and she is eighth among active players in career attempts (4,645). She is 19th among active players in kills per set (3.93), and also boasts 1,373 career digs, which is 78th – but she ranks 11th in career digs among active six-rotation players.
  • Rachel Minarick had 38 assists on 45 chances vs. Michigan, a success rate of .844 – her third highest behind her matches at Minnesota (43 of 47, .915) and Nebraska (33 of 39, .846). She had two aces in each match last week, and a total of four blocks – which included three stuffs (one solo) vs. Indiana.
  • Minarick owns 4,328 career helpers, she is second all-time at MSU behind Nikki Colson (4,563, 2000-03). She is 37th on the All-Time Big Ten list, and ranks 12th among active NCAA Division I players in total career assists.
  • Minarick averages 11.22 assists (fourth, B1G/23rd nationally), 0.40 aces (3rd, B1G/50th nationally), and 2.40 digs per set. Her senior-year numbers are the best in any season of her MSU career.
  • Minarick has 131 career service aces, which is just outside the top 10 all-time in program history. Holly Toliver owns 119 aces over four seasons and could also broach the top 10. • Alyssa Garvelink will graduate as one of the top blockers in school history. She currently ranks fifth all-time at MSU in total blocks (528) and fourth in block assists (472). Her 1.21 blocks per set average over four years is fifth all-time at MSU, and ranks ninth among active players. She is 35th all-time in the Big Ten record book in career blocks.
  • Garvelink just 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.
  • Garvelink currently fourth in the B1G and 27th nationally in the B1G in blocks per set (1.36). Her hitting percentage of .389 ranks fifth in the Conference (30th nationally), and she’s contributing 2.53 kills/set.
  • Garvelink is 10th among active NCAA Division I players in total career blocks (528), and is 19th in blocks per set (1.21).
  • Six-rotation OH Holly Toliver ranks third on the team in kills per set (2.98) and is fourth in hitting percentage (.236). She is contributing 2.22 digs and 0.54 blocks per frame. She leads the B1G and ranks 18th nationally in service aces per set (0.45).
  • Toliver boasts career-best numbers in kills, hitting percentage, aces, assists, digs, and blocks.
  • In the Nov. 11 home match vs. Northwestern, Toliver outscored the Wildcat squad on her own in the third and deciding set. MSU won the set by a 25-9 score – Toliver recorded five kills, five aces, and also had five digs in that frame alone. With MSU up 22-9, Toliver closed out the match with three straight aces to seal the win.
  • Brooke Kranda averages 3.06 kills per set (second on the team) and is averaging 0.61 blocks and 0.31 aces per set (seventh B1G).
  • Senior middle Megan Tompkins is averaging 0.72 blocks per set (good for second on the team), and also chipping in 1.39 kills per frame and hitting .285. Over her last six matches, Tompkins is hitting .328.
  • Jamye Cox has been the Spartan libero in each of the last 20 matches. She is averaging 3.19 digs per set on the season, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten.
  • Cox has 287 digs on the season, which is the eighth-most for a freshman in the MSU record book. While the top two spots on that list (474 by Kori Moster (2011) and 357 by Veronica Morales (1994) may be unattainable, the third spot (314) is held down by Jill Krumm (1986) and is within reach.
  • Abby Monson is averaging 2.50 digs per set as a back row specialist.
  • Monson has the second-best reception percentage (.962) on the team, with five errors in 131 tries. Autumn Baileyleads the way with just eight errors in 371 chances (.978), and Holly Toliver is third (.952).
  • Samantha McLean had become a regular contributor for the Spartans in the back row, but will miss the remainder of the season with injury. She is averaging 1.37 digs per set, with a season-best four assists against Iowa (10/28).
  • 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.
  • On Nov. 8, MSU announced that five players would join the volleyball program in the fall of 2018. Four are Under Armour High School All-Americans, and three hail from the state of Michigan.: DS Lauryn Gibbs (Mt. Morris, Mich./EA Johnson), OH Maura Johnson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Community) and MB Rebecka Poljan (Bath, Mich./Lansing Catholic). Virginia native Elena Shklyar (McLean, Va./Langley), a setter, and 2015 Louisiana Player of the Year MB Naya Gros (New Orleans, La./ Louise S. McGehee) round out the class.

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