2017 Season Results

Big Ten finish: 14-6, 4th place

Overall record: 24-9, ranked #8

NCAA Tournament: Elite 8

News Links

12/9 MSU State News
Volleyball swept by No. 1 seed Penn State in Elite Eight

12/8 MSU State News
Volleyball Elite Eight bound after beating Illinois, 3-1

12/2 MSU State News
Volleyball moves on to Sweet 16 after beating No. 15 Creighton

12/1 MSU State News
Volleyball sweeps Missouri State in first round of NCAA tournament

11/29 MSU State News
Five volleyball players named Big Ten Post-Season Teams

11/27 MSU State News
Volleyball starts NCAA Tournament on Friday

11/21 MSU State News
Cathy George reflects on an emotional volleyball senior night

11/19 MSU State News
No. 8 Spartans win easily on an emotional Saturday night

11/12 MSU State News
Cathy George becomes all-time winningest coach in MSU volleyball history in weekend sweep

11/7 MSU State News
Volleyball seniors reflect on final three home games at Jenison

11/2 MSU State News
Volleyball loses to No. 1 Penn State in 4 sets

11/1 Lansing State Journal
No. 9 Michigan State volleyball falls to No. 1 Penn State in four sets

10/29 MSU State News
No. 10 MSU Volleyball split home series between No. 7 Nebraska and Iowa

10/20 MSU State News
No. 10 Spartans defeats U-M in first match of the season

10/18 Lansing State Journal
Electric atmosphere leads No. 10 Michigan State volleyball to 3-1 win over rival Michigan

10/9 MSU State News
MSU volleyball defeats Wisconsin, records season sweep

10/1 MSU State News
MSU gets its third sweep in a row after beating Maryland and Ohio State

10/1 Herald-Palladium
Toliver helps MSU volleyball to upset wins

9/29 Lansing State Journal
No. 16 Michigan State volleyball avoids 'trap game' vs. Maryland, await Ohio State

9/28 Lansing State Journal
Michigan State volleyball player Holly Toliver seeing rewards of hard work

9/22 MSU State News
Maddie Haggerty preps for match against sister tonight vs Wisconsin

9/14 MSU State News
These two freshman volleyball players' friendship didn't start at MSU

9/1 Lansing State Journal
Unusually emotional MSU volleyball coach Cathy George on win No. 600: 'It's awesome'

9/1 MSU State News
Head Coach Cathy George reaches 600th win

8/27 NCAA.com
All-American Alyssa Garvelink leads Michigan State as captain

8/15 WKAR
Cathy George and No.17 Ranked Spartans Look To Rebound After Early Finish to 2016-17 Season

3/30 MSU State News
MSU volleyball coach Cathy George named to AVCA Board of Directors

2/8 MSU State News
MSU volleyball adds new assistant coach to staff


2017 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.

2017 Annual Awards Presented

The following awards were presented at the annual volleyball banquet on January 21, 2018 at the Kellogg Center:

SideOut Club Service Award: Lynda White
Academic All-Conference Selections: Autumn Bailey, Alyssa Garvelink, Rachel Minarick, Maggie Midgette, Lauren Swartz, and Sam McLean
Kirkby Scholar-Athlete Award:Rachel Minarick
Most Improved Award: Alyssa Chronowski
Most Inspirational Award: Sam McLean
Extra Mile Award: Jamye Cox
Playmaker Award:
Autumn Bailey
MVP Award:
Alyssa Garvelink

Cheryl Bartholic, president of the SideOut Club, announced the Club's donation of $10,000 for use by the volleyball program.

Four Spartans Earn 2017 All-America Honors

Autumn Bailey and Alyssa Garvelink were chosen for the 2017 AVCA All_America Second Team, and Rachel Minarick and Holly Toliver were Honorable Mention selections. This is a school record for MSU since 2003, when the All-America awards were expanded from 24 (first and second team) to over 100 (adding third team and honorable mention selections). [full story]

On to the Round of 16!

After a second-round NCAA-tournament victory over the No. 9 seed Creighton, the Spartan volleyball team will next face Illinois in a regional semi-final to be played at Penn State University. The game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Friday December 8, but the start time is flexible because the first semi-final between Penn State and Missouri is being played at 2:00 p.m.

Of the four teams left in the region, only #1 Penn State is seeded. MSU advanced to the second round of the tournament the last three years; just prior to that, in 2012 and 2013 they finished in the round of 16.

Spartans Will Start the NCAA Tournament in Omaha

It will be MSU vs. MSU — the Michigan State volleyball team will play Missouri State in the first round of the 2017 NCAA tournament. The game will be played at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska at 5 p.m. Eastern time on December 1.

The winner can expect to face host Creighton (who is heavily favored over Coastal Carolina in Friday's other first-round game) in the second round the following day.

At #23, Creighton has the lowest Pablo computer ranking of any of the 16 seeded teams, giving MSU a very favorable chance to advance past the second round to the regional, probably at Penn State. MSU, in fact, is ranked #11 by Pablo, making them the favorite over Creighton even though they are unseeded.

On the other hand, Missouri State at #35 is a relatively strong opponent to face in the first round, so the Spartans definitely cannot afford to look past them. They defeated Ohio State in their pre-conference season, while also losing to Illinois.

Cathy George Becomes the Spartans' Winningest Coach

With a 3-0 victory over Northwestern on November 11, head coach Cathy George earned her 251st win at Michigan State. This makes her the winningest coach in program history, surpassing the previous record of 250 wins by Annelies Knoppers from 1974 to 1984.

George (shown at left top in 1989 when she became the first woman to coach in the Division I Final Four) is in her 13th season at the helm of the Spartans.

Spartans Rise to No. 8 in AVCA Poll

Spartan volleyball claimed the No. 8 ranking in the AVCA Coaches poll for November 6, marking their fifth consecutive week in the top 10. This is also the highest poll ranking for MSU in the second half of the season since 1996!

Minarick Named Setter of the Week for October 23

For her performances against Michigan and Maryland, senior Rachel Minarick has been chosen as the Big Ten Setter of the Week, the fifth such honor of her career. During the Maryland match, she became the third Spartan to surpass 4,000 assists in her career. [full story]


Previous 2017 News

Best Conference First Half in 20 Years!

Michigan State volleyball finished the first half of the 2017 Big Ten season on October 21 with a win over Maryland, earning their best conference start since 1996. Through 10 games the Spartans are 8-2, a run which includes five matches against top-ten opponents.

Dual Upsets Plus Defensive Player of the Week!

The September 22-24 weekend was one of the best ever for Spartan volleyball!

It started with a thrilling 5-game upset of undefeated national #5 Wisconsin and ended with a dominating 3-game upset of undefeated #1 Minnesota. The third set at Minnesota saw the Spartans rebound from a 7-16 deficit with an 18-6 run to win the match. The back-to-back road wins over top-five opponents was a first in Spartan history.

Senior Autumn Bailey was a standout in the matches, including a career-best 25 digs vs. Wisconsin, earning the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week award. [Big Ten awards]

Cathy George Becomes Longest-Serving MSU Coach

With the opening of the 2017 season at Georgia Tech, head coach Cathy George became the longest-tenured volleyball coach in MSU history. This is her 13th season leading the Spartans, surpassing Chuck Erbe's record of 12 seasons (1993-2004).

In addition, Cathy will soon be MSU's winningest volleyball coach. As of September 24, she is third in victories at MSU, behind Erbe's 244 wins and Annelies Knoppers' record of 250 (1974-84). She needs 19 victories this season to take the lead.

Florida Tournament Cancelled Due to Hurricane Irma

With hurricane Irma approaching the state of Florida, the Active Ankle Challenge tournament in Gainesville September 8th and 9th has been cancelled. The Spartans were already in Gainesville when the cancellation was announced, but will return to East Lansing Friday afternooon.

On Wednesday, the tournament had been cut back to a single match between Michigan State and Florida, to be played Friday, September 8 at 5:00 p.m. ET. The other two teams originally boooked for the tournament will play instead in a quickly arranged tournament at UNC-Greensboro. Unfortunately, because of the late cancellation, the Spartans had no chance to arrange any replacement matches.

Spartans at #17 in 2017 Preseason Poll

The 2017 Preseason AVCA Coaches' Poll, released on August 9, has the MSU volleyball team ranked number 17, similar to their preseason rankings in 2013 and 2014. This is higher than their final rank of 19 last season, due to a large returning squad and promising freshmen. Looking forward to a good season! [full poll]

Join or Renew for 2017!

The 2017 season is right around the corner! Now is the time to join the SideOut Club, or to renew your current membership. Download the membership form and mail it in now. [Membership form]

2017 Schedule Released

The 2017 volleyball season schedule has the Spartans at home for only one pre-conference tournament (September 1-2), along with three road trips to face challenging opponents.

The pre-conference schedule is unusual in that it has the Spartans tackling five opponents that they also faced in last year's pre-conference season. After playing San Diego State on the road last year, we welcome the Aztecs to East Lansing this year. MSU hosted Florida and Notre Dame in separate tournaments in 2016; in 2017 the Spartans will travel to those schools. Finally, MSU will meet both Central Michigan and Southern Illinois at neutral sites for the second consecutive year.

The visits to Georgia Tech (August 25-26), Florida (September 8-9), and Notre Dame (September 15-16) should be good preparation for Big Ten conference play, which begins on the road at Wisconsin on September 22, with a return for the home opener against Maryland on September 29. [full schedule]

"Volleyball 101" Session

On May 21, 2017, the Spartan Fund sponsored "Volleyball 101", an introductory session for Spartan fans covering the rules of the game, strategy, and more. It was especially intended for new fans, or fans coming from other sports, who wanted the additional understanding of volleyball that would add to their enjoyment of the game. For those who attended and may have missed the handouts, we provide them here for download. [Main handout] [Rules PowerPoint] [Serve receive]

New Assistant Coach — Jesse Ortiz

MSU volleyball has filled out the coaching staff for 2017 with a new assistant coach, Jesse Ortiz. He spent three years as assistant at Miami (Ohio) following similar positions at Ferris State and Sonoma State. [full story]

"Home" Exhibition April 21

Spartan Volleyball will host a spring event at East Lansing High School this year rather than in Jenison Field House. The Green vs. White exhibition play is scheduled for Friday, April 21, 2017, at 7:30 pm.

The spring schedule will open three weeks earlier on April 1 at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center in Louisville, Kentucky. On April 8, the Spartans will be at a tournament at the Oak Lawn Pavilion in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Participants will include Illinois State, University of Chicago, and Loyola (Chicago).

April 12 brings a midweek 6:30 p.m. game against University of Michigan at Dakota High School in Macomb, Michigan.

(Note: because of the nature of spring scheduling, all times are subject to change, but will be more firm as the events get closer.)

J.T. Wenger Hired at Texas-Arlington

After one year as MSU's assistant volleyball coach, J. T. Wenger has accepted the position of head coach at University of Texas Arlington. Coincidentally, Spartan head coach Cathy George held the same position at Texas-Arlington from 1989 to 1993. We wish J.T. the best in this new chapter of his life! [full story]



Big Ten and Other News

Big 10 Dominates NCAA Tournament

Big 10 volleyball teams finished the season by leading all conferences in the NCAA tournament, ending on top with national champions the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The conference placed two teams into the Final 4, three teams into the Elite 8, and six teams into the Sweet 16, numbers unmatched by any other conference. [full bracket]

Big 10 Down Slightly in 2017 Preseason Poll

For the first time since 2003, no Big Ten volleyball team was ranked among the top three in the nation in the Preseason AVCA Coaches' Poll for 2017. Overall, however, the conference did well, with eight teams making the top 25, more than any other conference. Big Ten teams took four consecutive spots starting at number four, with Minnesota earning the highest ranking. [poll analysis]

Coaching Change at Illinois

On February 10, 2017, Chris Tamas was named head volleyball coach at the University of Illinois. He was an All-American and four-year starter at the Univeristy of the Pacific and his eight years as an assistant coach include stints at Nebraska, Minnesota, and others. [full story]

Tamas is replacing eight-year head coach Kevin Hambly, who was just hired into one of the premier programs in the country, Stanford University, replacing John Dunning who retired this year. [full story]