Spartan Volleyball received their highest ranking by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll since 1997, coming in at 14th. The 1997 ranking was the highest in school history at No. 6. They are joining six other Big Ten teams in the AVCA preseason top 25.This is not the only positive news for the Spartans, as their 2013 recruiting class is ranked seventh in the country by PrepVolleyball.com. With three players matching the tallest height in MSU history, 6’4’’ (Chloe Reinig, Autumn Christenson and Megan Tompkins), a fourth at a staggering 6’6’’(Brooke Kranda) and the last at 6’2’’ (Allyssah Fitterer), it’s safe to say height is a force to be reckoned with for the Spartans.
The new recruits will be joining key returning players: captains Kori Moster and Kristen Kelsay, senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski and senior middle blockers Alexis Matthews and Kelsey Kuipers. Head Coach Cathy George, who is the second coach in MSU history to reach over 500 wins, said returning their leadership keeps their vision clear. The Spartans are returning all but one starter from last season.
Moster, Wicinski and Matthews finished off the season competing in the U.S Women’s National Volleyball A2 Program. It was Matthews third summer competing and Wicinski won a gold medal in team competition. Wicinski is a three-time All-American. Moster is the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, the first player in program history to win this award.
Although they came out of last season with a 25-10 record, Coach George said they have unfinished business which will keep them motivated throughout the summer and fall.
Last season, the Spartans went undefeated through four weekends of competition and made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in program history. Each spring the team tries new training activities. Their latest activity got them out of their element by taking a ballet class to increase their vertical jumps.
The Spartans hosted 11 camps this summer and are now in their preseason camp. A first look at the team can be caught at the annual Green and White exhibition game on August 24 at Jenison Field House. The season officially opens on August 30 at the Hokie Invitational at Virginia Tech.
Bri Harvey is the host of The Merchantaries for Impact Sports
Photo: Michigan State volleyball