News Links

11/29 MSU State News
Volleyball team preps for NCAA Tournament

11/6 MSU State News
MSU drops 2 conference matchups

10/12 Michigan Daily
Spartans rout Blue in sweep

10/11 Michigan Daily
Forgotten arena same as the rest

10/9 MSU State News
Spartans split weekend matches

10/5 MSU State News
Big Ten has been rude awakening for MSU

9/25 MSU State News
Outside hitter enjoying return to court after last year's elbow surgery

9/25 MSU State News
Volleyball takes spotlight

9/22 Indiana Daily Student
Hoosiers take 3-game winning streak into Michigan matchups

9/20 Lansing City Pulse
Diehard fans roused for Big Ten volleyball series

9/18 MSU State News
Surging Spartans

9/14 MSU State News
After 3 seasons at Pacific, Ianni comes home to MSU

9/8 ASU Web Devil
Volleyball travels to Big Ten country

9/5 MSU State News
Volleyball team moves to 6-0 record

6/28 MSU State News
Partnership to create Big Ten TV Channel

2006 News Archive

Note: Because many of the news items on this page link to current-news sites that are updated frequently, some links in the archive may no longer work.

2006 Season Award Winners

At the volleyball banquet on January 14, 2007, the following awards were announced:

Kirkby Scholar-Athlete Award: Miken Trogdon
SideOut Club Service Award: Dennis Eagle
Playmaker Award: Nicole Colaluca
Rookie of the Year: Vanessa King
Most Improved Player Award: Jessica Hohl
Coaches' Award: Allison Ianni
Outstanding Offensive Player Award: Ashley Schatzle and Katie Johnson

The SideOut Club presented Coach George with a check for $8,000 for use by the volleyball program.

The Season Continues in California!

The Spartans qualified for the NCAA tournament for the eleventh time and will play the opening round at UCLA on Friday December 1 at 8:30 pm Eastern time. Their first opponent will be Utah, who are unseeded in the tournament, but are ranked number 11 nationally in the AVCA poll. [full story]

Three Spartans Win Season Honors

Ashley Schatzle was named to the All-Big-Ten team, Katie Johnson earned an Honorable Mention, and Vanessa King was chosen for the All-Freshman team. For the conference, Penn State's Megan Hodge made history as the first freshman to win Player of the Year honors. [MSU report] [Big Ten  report]

Colaluca Named Defensive Player of the Week

Senior libero Nicole Colaluca became the third Spartan this year to win a conference Player of the Week award, as she won the Defensive award for November 27. [full story]

King Chosen as Defensive Player of the Week

Middle blocker Vanessa King was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for November 13. She joins Angela Morley, Jenna Wrobel, and Veronica Morales as Spartans who won a Player of the Week award during their freshman year. [full story]

First Recruit for 2008?

According to, Kyndra Abron of Livonia, Michigan has committed to play for the Spartans in 2008. Kyndra is a 6' 4" middle blocker who goes to Churchhill High School and plays for the M-Juniors club team. She was an All-State honorable mention selection as a sophomore in 2006. This summer she played in the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships on a team whose assistant coach was former Spartan Jenny Whitehead.

Chalk Talks Begin September 2

The popular "chalk talks" by Coach George will move to Saturday nights this year, still in room 209 of Jenison Field House. Snacks will be available at 6:00, with the talk starting at 6:10 and lasting for about 20 minutes. These are for SideOut Club members only and will provide fans with insight into the game of volleyball while focusing on the weekend's matches. Admission is free. The chalk talks will be held September 2, September 16, September 23, October 7, October 14, November 4, and November 18.

Ashley Schatzle Named Conference Player of the Week

Ashley Schatzle's outstanding performances against Michigan and Iowa have earned her a spot as Big Ten Player of the Week for October 16. For the two matches, she averaged 6.5 kills per game with a .423 hitting percentage. She is the first Spartan to win this honor since Nikki Colson in 2003.

This Week's Matches

The University of Michigan announced it is expecting a sellout crowd for the match on Wednesday October 11 and advises fans to purchase their tickets in advance. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Cliff Keen Arena.

Tickets are not available online, so you must call the U of M Ticket Office toll-free at 866 296-6849 to order tickets. They will accept credit cards and the tickets will be held at the "Will Call" booth in the arena the night of the match. The office is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday.

Also note that the Iowa match on Saturday October 14 has been changed to 8:00 pm because of an afternoon football game.

Seventh Annual Volleyball Tailgate - October 7, 2006

Come out to join fellow MSU fans for the 7th Annual Spartan Volleyball Tailgate Party on Saturday, October 7, before the match against Northwestern.

Join us on the green in the south parking lot of Jenison (in front of the main entrance) starting around 4:00 pm, until game time at 8. Bring a dish or grill-able items to share, grill, eat, and drink with other volleyball fans.

If you can bring a grill & charcoal, or a folding table, please contact Cathy Caswell at 332-4353 or

Spartans Among Leaders In Offense, Defense

At the completion of the pre-conference season, some of our Spartans are at or near the top of the Big Ten statistical categories. For example, Nicole Colaluca ranks first in the conference with 5.2 digs per game.

In addition, the team as a whole leads the conference in kills per game with 18.3. The major contributions in this category come from Katie Johnson and Ashley Schatzle who rank fourth and seventh individually, making them the highest ranked duo on any squad.

As you would expect from the above, MSU is also first in assists per game, and Allison Ianni holds the top individual spot. Also on the offensive side, Tracy Bellwood ranks third in aces per game.

MSU Takes Spartan Invitational

Jess Hohl came into her own over Labor Day weekend, leading the Spartans to the championship of the Spartan Invitational. Jess improved her performance with each match and finished up with a career-high hitting percentage of .750 in the final match against Miami. She was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament, and was joined on the all-tournament team by Allison Ianni and Ashley Schatzle.

Spartans Win Opening Tournament

After losing their first game on Friday, August 25, the Spartans went on to win nine consecutive games, all three matches, and the championship of the Nike/Active Ankle Weekend. Nicole Colaluca, Allison Ianni and Katie Johnson were named to the all-tournament team.

Thirteen Spartans saw playing time, if only briefly in some cases. Freshmen Vanessa King and Mischelle Nelson gave solid performances in their debut. Nelson came in for Heather McDaniel on the right side at the end of Friday's match and joined the starting lineup for both matches on Saturday.

Best Start Since 1975!

Through their first six contests the Spartans have a 6-0 record in matches and an 18-1 tally in games, making it the best start since 1975. That year MSU won their first nine matches without losing a game.

2006 Starting Lineup Debuts

The Green and White scrimmage on August 19 gave fans a look at the probable MSU starting lineup for 2006. Juniors Katie Johnson and Ashley Schatzle continue on the left side, giving the Spartans what coach Cathy George calls one of the top two outside hitting combos in the Big Ten. Senior Allison Ianni will set, with sophomore Heather McDaniel playing opposite her. In the middle, junior Jess Hohl is back, joined by freshman Vanessa King. Senior Nicole Colaluca, touted by coach George as the best defender in the conference, holds down the libero position. Juniors Miken Trogdon and Tracy Bellwood are the defensive specialists most likely to see action.

Ashley Schatzle was resting a stomach injury, so in an interesting bending of the rules KJ never rotated out of the front row. Each time she reached the right side and another rotation occurred, she moved over to front left to play Ashley's position, while Tracy Bellwood did the same in the back row.

Allison Ianni was playing with a plastic face guard to protect her nose which was broken in practice last week. She expects to wear the guard all season and have restorative surgery in the winter.

The white team (the starters) won the match 3-1, even though the green team featured a couple of potent outside hitters in coaches Mike Gawlik and Dave Rawles. They made a definitive fashion statement by not wearing spandex.

Sister Act, Part II?

According to, Megan Schatzle has committed to play volleyball at MSU in 2007. Megan is the 6' 2" younger sister of Ashley Schatzle.

Fall Schedule Released

The Spartans start the 2006 season with a tournament at Ball State on August 25 before returning home to host the MSU Invitational on September 1. There is one more tournament at Ohio State on September 8, followed by two individual home matches against Oakland and Toledo before the start of the Big Ten season on September 22.

The schedule has the Spartans staying close to home for the pre-conference season, making it practical for fans to travel to both away tournaments. On the other hand, the competition level looks weaker than usual, with no non-conference opponents who played in the 2005 NCAA tournament. [full schedule]

Gawlik Hired as Assistant Coach; Replaces Arenz

Mike Gawlik, volunteer assistant coach for 2005, has been hired to replace Ron Arenz as assistant coach, effective April 1. Ron accepted the volleyball head coaching position at the University of West Alabama, a Division II school in Livingston, Alabama. [Arenz story]

Meet the Team August 12

You will have a chance to welcome the eight new Spartans on Saturday, August 12 at a noon picnic with the team at Jenison Field House. Practice is scheduled from 8:30-11:30 a.m. on that day, so come early and enjoy it. All SideOut Club members and their guests are welcome to this event. The team will definitely have a different look this year with so many new members, including Allison Ianni as setter. Take advantage of this opportunity to meet all of the 2006 Spartans.

Spring Schedule

The Spartans will host a spring tournament in Jenison Field House on Saturday, April 8 featuring Northwood and Ferris State. The team will travel to Kent State for an April 15th meet followed by a tournament at the Great Lakes Center (Aurora, IL) on April 22nd.

The match schedule for April 8 is as follows:

10am MSU vs. Northwood
11am Northwood vs. Ferris
12pm MSU vs. Ferris
1pm MSU vs. Northwood
2pm Northwood vs. Ferris
3pm MSU vs. Ferris

Coach's Luncheon and Green/White Scrimmage August 19

Coach Cathy George and her staff will present the first coach's luncheon of the 2006 season on August 19. It will be held at Damon's on Lake Lansing Road at U.S. 127 in East Lansing starting at 11:30 am. Come learn what to expect from the Spartans for the upcomng season.

The same evening at 7:00 pm, the Michigan State volleyball team will hold its annual Green and White scrimmage. The event, which is free of charge and open to the public, will showcase MSU's eight returning letterwinners and introduce Spartan fans to eight newcomers that join the team this fall. An autograph session will follow the match.


Big Ten and Other News

Michigan Sports-Season Lawsuit Back in MHSAA's Court

On December 8, the Michigan High School Athletic Association was denied a rehearing by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They have indicated that they will now appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will likely decide by May whether or not they will consider the appeal. [full story]

Spartans Pegged for Seventh by Big Ten Coaches

MSU moved up two notches from last year in the pre-season Big Ten Coaches' Poll and Katie Johnson was an all-conference pick. [full story]

Court Upholds High School Sports Season Change

A panel of a federal appeals court has for the second time upheld a lower court ruling that the Michigan High School Athletic Association discriminated against girls in the scheduling of sports. The court order requires MHSAA to align sports seasons with those of college. [full story]

Five Big Ten Squads Ranked in Preseason Top 25 Coaches' Poll

The AVCA preseason poll shows Nebraska in first place, but Penn State jumps to a second-place ranking. Wisconsin also made the top ten and Purdue, Ohio State and Minnesota ranked in the top 25. [full story]

Big Ten Announces Televised Volleyball Schedule

Fourteen matches will be televised, starting off with three live ones on CSTV. ESPN2 will show three matches on tape-delay, and Comcast Chicago will carry eight matches on tape-delay, including MSU at Indiana. [full story]

Minor Rules Changes for 2006

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) approved a number of rules changes for 2006, but fans won't notice most of them. The only change in the play of the ball is that a player can be guilty of a net fault only if she is near the ball and attempting to play it.

Several proposals were voted down, including one to allow the use of artificial noisemakers. Those in favor of this change said it would allow fans an avenue of positive expression that might reduce the use of objectionable comments to harrass opposing players. Others said the noisemakers would damage the safe and collegial environment that should be provided for college sports. [proposals] [PROP story]

Postseason Sites Announced

The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee announced that the 2006 regional tournaments will be held in Gainesville, Honolulu, Austin and Seattle. They also named Omaha and St. Petersburg as sites for the 2008 and 2009 championships. [full story]