News Links

11/30 MSU State News
Young team falls short

11/30 MSU State News
Despite loss, Spartans have hope for future

11/19 MSU State News
MSU volleyball team clings to NCAA Tournament aspirations

11/15 Lansing State Journal
Wolverines hold off Spartan volleyball

11/13 MSU State News
Spartans hoping not to overlook rivals U-M, Ohio State

11/9 MSU State News
MSU volleyball defeats Indiana 3-1

11/7 MSU State News
Volleyball can't stop Penn State

11/5 MSU State News
Undefeated Penn State on tap for struggling Spartans

10/29 MSU State News
George wants volleyball team to keep relaxing

10/26 MSU State News
MSU drops both weekend games

10/16 MSU State News
Volleyball team looks to take road experience to Minn., Iowa

10/13 MSU State News
King guiding young team through season

10/12 MSU State News
Wisconsin sweeps MSU volleyball at Jenison Field House

10/10 MSU State News
Volleyball escapes with 3-2 win over Northwestern

10/8 MSU State News
Team looks to snap 2-match losing streak

10/6 MSU State News
Team looking to add more games at Breslin in future

10/2 Indiana Daily Student
Urgency strikes Indiana volleyball team after 3 consecutive losses

10/3 Daily Collegian
Lions participate in Dig Pink

10/3 Lansing State Journal
Thus far, youth has served MSU volleyball well

9/30 MSU State News
Rathje out for season with torn ACL

9/29 MSU State News
4 Spartans honored by Big Ten for efforts last week

9/28 MSU State News
Spartans bust Breslin

9/27 MSU State News
Volleyball upsets No. 21 Michigan, 3-1

9/26 MSU State News
Volleyball wins at Breslin, 3-1

9/27 Lansing State Journal
Volleyball downs OSU for 9th straight victory

9/24 MSU State News
MSU looks to 'Bust Breslin'

9/16 MSU State News
MSU volleyball overcomes threat from Oakland

9/15 MSU State News
Spartans prepare for final nonleague tilts

9/11 MSU State News
Renewed defensive focus boosts Spartans heading into first home match

9/4 Muskegon Chronicle
Kiefer joins NM crew at MSU

9/4 MSU State News
MSU volleyball to travel east, remain positive despite slow start

9/3 Lansing State Journal
Volleyball team eyeing more success

8/28 MSU State News
Young Spartans head to Okla. for season-opening Sooner Invitational

8/25 MSU State News
Young team prepares for season during scrimmage

7/15 MSU State News
MSU volleyball receives praise


2008 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.

2008 Annual Awards Presented

The following awards were presented at the annual volleyball banquet on January 11, 2009 at Walnut Hills Country Club:

SideOut Club Service Award: John Bond
Academic All-Conference Selections: Allyson Karaba, Heather McDaniel, Mischelle Nelson, Megan Schatzle, Vineece Verdun
Kirkby Scholar-Athlete Award:
Jenilee Rathje
Blue Collar Award: Allyson Karaba
Newcomer Award: Natalie Emro
Most Valuable Player: Vanessa King
Coaches' Award:
Heather McDaniel

The SideOut Club presented Coach George with a check for $9,000 for use by the volleyball program.

Another New Spartan for 2009

According to, Barbara "Cebo" Conceicao will be transferring to MSU after an outstanding career at Iowa Western Community College. Cebo is a 6-1 middle blocker from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil who was named a 2008 1st Team All-American, 1st Team AVCA, and won All-Tournament honors at the NJCAA Championships, where her team finished fourth. (Trivia: Juliana Paz, who was the kill leader for the Michigan Wolverines this past season, also played at IWCC, one year ahead of Cebo.)

Transfer Added to 2009 Spartans

Nicole Peter, a 5-11 setter from Grand Rapids Community College, has transferred to MSU and will start play with the Spartan volleyball team in the spring. Nicole was chosen as a first-team All-American for the National Junior College Atheletic Association Division II. [full story]

Two Spartans Win All-Conference Awards

Junior Vanessa King was named to the All-Big-Ten Team for 2008, capping off a season in which she hit .348, the fourth best single-season hitting percentage in school history. Natalie Emro was a unanimous selection to the All-Big-Ten Freshman Team. Along with her fourth-best-in-the-conference average of 10.6 assists per set, she ranked second among all Spartans with 71 blocks and a .275 hitting percentage.

Heather McDaniel was nominated for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. A winner for this award is chosen from each Big Ten School at the end of the school year.
[Big Ten story] [MSU story] [King story]

Spartans Announce Three Recruits

One outside hitter and two middle blockers will join the MSU volleyball program for fall 2009. Amy Dentlinger is a 6-1 outside hitter from Arcadia, Iowa, who is ranked first academically in her high school class. Bizl Egerer is a 6-1 middle blocker from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, who holds the all-time state high school record for kills. Alexis Mathews (right) is a 6-3 middle blocker from Detroit, Michigan, who first played volleyball her freshman year and by her senior year was named to the all-region team. Read the following stories to learn more about them. [Dentlinger story] [Egerer story] [Mathews story] [MSU release]

Vanessa King Named Player of the Week

Vanessa King's oustanding performances against Ohio State and Michigan earned her the Big Ten Player of the Week award for September 29, 2008. She had a career-high eight kills on Saturday, and hit .472 with 14 blocks for the weekend. She won the Big Ten defensive award on November 13, 2006. [full story]

"Bust Breslin" Is a Huge Success!

In front of hordes of fans in the Breslin Center, the Spartans started the 2008 Big Ten season with two victories, a feat they haven't accomplished since 1996. The wins over Ohio State and Michigan put MSU, temporarily at least, in a four-way tie for first place in the conference. The crowd of 5,335 on Saturday night set a new MSU volleyball attendance record.

JR Out for the Season

Unfortunately, in set four of the Ohio State match, Jenilee Rathje tore her right ACL on the landing after an attack, and will be out for the rest of the year. She has been granted red-shirt status, so she will have three remaining years of eligibility.

This continues a not-so-good injury record for the Spartans in Breslin. During their first match there on November 3, 1995, Jenna Wrobel sprained her ankle, which led to her missing six regular-season matches and one NCAA tournament match. During that stretch without Jenna, MSU suffered their only conference loss of the year at Wisconsin.

It would have been easy for the young 2008 team to fall apart after JR's injury, but they came through to win the set and the match. Megan Schatzle stepped in and did a great job on the left side Friday night as well as Saturday, and we can look forward to seeing her for the rest of the season.

Karaba Named Player of the Week

Allyson Karaba won her first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Award for her performance at the Delaware Invitational on September 5th and 6th, 2008. Over the three matches, the sophomore libero averaged 6.9 digs per game, and even had one kill. She earned a spot on the All-Tournament team, as did freshman setter Natalie Emro, with junior Vanessa King selected as tournament MVP. [full story]

Young Spartan Team Picked 8th by Big Ten Coaches

The Spartan team we see this fall could be the youngest ever, with only three upperclassmen on the roster. The way the lineup is shaping up, there could potentially be as many as four freshmen on the court at certain times. 2008 will also mark the debut of our sixth starting setter in six years. These factors certainly influenced the Big Ten coaches in their eighth-place ranking for MSU in the preseason poll.

Meanwhile Penn State returns almost their entire 2007 national championship roster, making them an easy first-place pick for the coaches. Minnesota and Wisconsin got the nod for second and third place finishes. [full poll] [MSU outlook]

Departures and Transfers

During the off-season, Lauren O'Reilly decided MSU was too far from friends and family and chose not to return for the fall, and Lisa Naymick left the volleyball program. Two other Spartans transferred to schools closer to their home towns. For fall 2008, former team member Melany Rarey will play for Indiana University and Whitney Tremain will play for Grand Valley State University. [Rarey story] [Tremain story]

2008 TV Schedule

The Big Ten Network will be available to most Comcast subscribers in the state of Michigan beginning August 15, 2008, just in time for volleyball season. The network has 20 volleyball matches scheduled for live broadcast, including two Michigan State contests. The first will be Michigan's visit to the Breslin Center on 9/27, and the second will be the Spartans' appearance at Penn State on 10/4.

In addition, ESPN2 will show MSU's October 17th visit to Minnesota two days after it is played.

[complete schedule]


Bus Trip to Ann Arbor, November 14

Please bring your family and friends, and join us on the SOC Spartan Volleyball Spectator Bus to Ann Arbor, Friday, November 14, 2008 for the 7:00 pm match against U of M. The bus will depart promptly at 4:45pm from the Okemos commuter lot located behind the Cracker Barrel restaurant on Okemos Road at I-96.

The $20 cost includes transportation and a ticket to the match. Checks payable to MSU SIDEOUT CLUB may be sent to:
Carole Brogan
1872 Yosemite Drive
Okemos, Michigan 48864

The deadline to reserve your seat is Saturday November 8, 2008. Space is limited., beverage, and spirit! Contact Cheryl Bartholic <> with questions.

Volleyball Tailgate Party - October 11

Come out to join fellow MSU fans for the 9th Annual Spartan Volleyball Tailgate Party on Saturday, October 11, 2008 before the match against Wisconsin. We will start around 3:30 at the usual location in front of the main entrance to Jenison and continue until game time at 6:30. Bring a dish or grillable item to share. Also needed are grills, charcoal and folding tables. If you can bring a grill, charcoal or folding table, or if you have any questions, please contact Cathy Caswell at 332-4353 or at

Big Ten Season Opens at Breslin

MSU volleyball hopes to set a new attendance record of 5,000 or more this weekend, when they open the Big Ten season with matches against Ohio State and Michigan at the Breslin Center. The Spartans played at Breslin twice back in 1995, with almost 3,000 fans watching them beat Illinois on the way to a 19-1 Big Ten season and a trip to the Final Four.

To boost attendance, MSU students will be given free admission to both matches. For Saturday's match against Michigan, there will be free T-shirts for the first 500 fans, and high school volleyball teams will get free admission. Both matches start at 6:30 p.m. and the Michigan match will be broadcast live on the Big Ten network.

CMU Match to Complete Pre-conference Season

The Spartans travel to Mt. Pleasant on Saturday, September 20, 2008 to play the Central Michigan Chippewas. This is CMU's "Rock the Rose" promotional event, which last year brought almost 1,000 fans to Rose Arena, their largest attendance in recent years. To help MSU fans attending the 7:00 p.m. match, here are a map of the area, and a map of the athletic facilities.

Spartan Showcase Begins Thursday Night

The MSU Spartans, sporting a 3-3 record from two weekends on the road, make their first home appearance of the season on Friday, September 12 at noon versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee. However, an unusual scheduling move has the Spartan Showcase tournament actually beginning the night before at 7 p.m., with Milwaukee-Wisconsin playing a match against Florida A&M. According to the MSU Athletic Ticket Office, season-ticket holders can gain free entrance to the Thursday-night match by showing their Friday tickets.

"Meet the Team" August 11

The SideOut Club Board would like to invite all SOC members and their guests to join the Board for an exclusive preview of the 2008 MSU women's volleyball team on Monday, August 11, 2008 in Jenison Field House. Come any time between 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm to watch the team's afternoon practice. A "Meet the Team" dinner will follow the practice at approximately 6:30 pm.

Another Sister? Now It's the Karaba Duo!

According to the Muskegon Chronicle, Mandi Karaba will be a freshman at MSU for 2008, joining her sister Allyson on the volleyball team. This will be the third pair of sisters the Spartans have featured in the last five years.

Fall Schedule Announced

MSU Volleyball has released the fall schedule for 2008. One notable change is that the home pre-conference tournament, the MSU Showcase, has been moved to the third weekend of the season. This will be the first time since 1994 that the tournament has been held on a date other than Labor Day weekend.

In Big Ten play, MSU will be the team that has no partner for travel purposes, which means there will be no Wednesday matches on our schedule. There will also be a change in venue—for the first time since 1995 the Spartans will play two home matches at the Breslin Center. [full schedule]

Brooke Langston

For the AVP event in Brooklyn on July 18, 2008, Brooke Langston picked up a new partner, her third of the year. They went on to a 13th place finish, Brooke's best of the year, and Brooke's performance got attention in, of all places, an article in the Wall Street Journal.

First Recruit for 2009

According to the Sheboygan (Wisconsin) Press, Liz Egerer has verbally committed to play volleyball at MSU starting in 2009. Liz, known as Bizl to her teammates, is a 6-1 middle hitter playing for Sheboygan Christian High School. She was named to the Wisconsin All-State second team in 2007. [full story]

George Coaches A2 Team to Championship

The U.S. Women's National A2 Red Team, coached by Cathy George, won the Open Division of the USA Adult Open Volleyball Championships on May 27, 2008 in Atlanta. The annual competition is the top U.S. amateur event in volleyball, and the Open Division features the best players in the country. [full story]

Langston Tops Team Chevy Voting

In fan voting, MSU alumna Brooke Langston and her partner Julie Romias beat out 13 other AVP teams to win the Team Chevy contest. As the winning team, Brooke and Julie had all of their expenses paid for at the AVP tournament in Louisville, Kentucky May 24-26, 2008. In each of their three previous AVP tournaments for 2008, the duo placed 17th. [Brooke's profile]

Alum Tries for 2008 Olympics

Former Spartan Dana Cooke (1993-96) returned to volleyball in 2007 as a beach player representing Canada on the FIVB World Tour, in hopes of qualifying for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Paired with Annie Martin, a veteran of the 2004 Olympics, Dana was runnerup for 2007 Rookie of the Year on the tour. With eleven events remaining in the next four months, the team is in an excellent position to earn one of the 24 Olympic spots available under the FIVB's complex qualification system. [Dana's homepage] [Team Dana and Annie on Facebook] [Olympic rankings]

Spring Tournament at Jenison

The Spartans will host a spring tournament from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 12, 2008 featuring Akron, Central Michigan, Grand Valley State and an MSU alumni team. Contrary to the earlier announcement, this tournament will be held in Jenison Field House, not at the MAC. The alumni team is expected to include such recent players as Ashley Schatzle, Katie Johnson, Allison Ianni, Marley Bellwood, Erin Hartley, Jenny Rood, Jess Hohl and Kim Schram. In addition, former Spartan Whitney Tremain has transferred to Grand Valley and will be playing for them. [tournament schedule]

Prior to that, the team will travel to Rolling Prairie, Indiana for a March 29th meet at the Dunes Volleyball Club [tournament schedule], to Eastern Michigan for an April 5th tournament [tournament schedule], and then will finish up April 19th at the Great Lakes Center in Aurora, Illinois.

Big Ten and Other News

Illinois Chooses Hambly

Kevin Hambly has been promoted to head volleyball coach at the University of Illinois, replacing the retired Don Hardin. [full story]

Illini Coach Hardin to Retire

Don Hardin has announced that he is retiring after 13 years as head volleyball coach at the University of Illinois. He intends to continue his career in the teaching field. Hardin was offered the head coaching job at Michigan State in 1993 when he was coaching at Louisville, but he turned down the offer. [full story]

Dagenais Has UCF Off and Running

The Central Florida Knights are having an exciting first year under former MSU associate coach Todd Dagenais. As of October 12, they were 5-2 in Conference USA matches, holding onto second place. Compare this with the last two years combined, when UCF earned only a single conference victory. [full story]

NCAA Approves 25-point Sets, Other Changes

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved rules changes for 2008 that include changing the term "game" to "set" and lowering the winning score from 30 to 25. Almost all other organized indoor volleyball worldwide, except for men's college play, already uses the 25-point score.

The other major change mandates more leniency in ball-handling calls by referees, primarily on a second team hit (the set) when a player makes a very athletic play from a less-then-ideal body position. [complete rules changes] [brief summary]

Ex-MSU Coaches on the Move

Three former MSU assistant coaches have made job switches in 2008. Ron Arenz has been named the head coach at the University of Akron. [full story] Todd Dagenais has moved from one coast to the other, taking the head coaching job at the University of Central Florida. [full story] And, Laura Bush (formerly Farina) is now an assistant coach at Minnesota. [full story]

Ohio State Hires Carlston

Geoff Carlston has been named the head coach of the Ohio State volleyball program, replacing Jim Stone who retired after 26 seasons. Carlston has been head volleyball coach at Ohio University for the last five years, winning the conference championship every year. His teams also advanced to the NCAA tournament every year, and made it to the regional in 2005. [full story]

NCAA Tries Beach Volleyball

As part of its experimentation with what it calls "emerging sports", the NCAA is sponsoring six women's beach volleyball competitions during spring 2008. Most of the participating teams are from southern and West Coast schools, but Wisconsin will be represented at the San Diego stop, and an indoor event in New York will feature northeastern schools. [full story