Michigan State was able to end nonconference play 11-1 with two tournament wins and 17 consecutive sets won.
But unfortunately for the Spartans, the rest of the Big Ten is also playing well. The Big Ten Conference leads the nation with eight schools ranked in the AVCA Division I Coaches Poll.
As with any other game, head coach Cathy George says that practice goes on as usual, just like non-conference play. She says the team goes into practice looking at what they did not do well last weekend and what the scouting reports say for the upcoming matches.
“I think it’s a matter of why not find out where you’re at against what the nation sees as the number one team in the county,” said George referencing Penn State. “When you’re doing that then everything should get easier from there.”
Junior libero Kori Moster expects the Big Ten to be more dominant than in years past.
“It’s not going to be like the majority of the teams we have played this season,” said Moster. “It’s going to be a step up, but that’s what everyone came to this conference for – to play the best of the best.”
As part of the No. 7 ranked freshman class by prepvolleyball.com, middle blocker Allysah Fitterer is going to be playing other Big Ten schools for the first time but feels prepared.
“The upper classmen are excited about the Big Ten and telling us how tough it’s going to be with a quicker pace,” Fitterer said. “We have nothing to lose going into Penn State. I think it is a great place to start to leave it all on the court,” said Fitterer.
The Spartans will begin conference play against No.1 Penn State Friday at 7 p.m. and then travels to No. 13 Ohio State at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Jennifer Swanchara is the volleyball reporter for Impact Sports
Photo: Michigan State Volleyball