The Service Line

Volleyball News from the MSU SideOut Club
Vol. III No. 5
March 1998


New Recruits Earn Honors in the Classroom as Well as on the Court
New Location and Date for Annual Membership Meeting
Volunteers Needed for the SideOut Club Board of Directors
Team Notes
1997-98 Volleyball Banquet
NCAA Rules Changes
MSU Hosts Fourth Annual Spartan Spring Volleyball Classic
Get Your Tickets for the 1998 Division I Championship
Tentative 1998 Schedule
Credits and Copyright Notice

New Recruits Earn Honors in the Classroom as Well as on the Court

The Michigan State volleyball team continues its tradition of academic as well as athletic excellence with three new recruits for the 1998 season. Incoming freshmen Erin Hartley of Midland, Michigan and Angela Morley from Holland, Michigan both achieved a GPA of 3.6 in high school, while Jennifer Stroffe comes to MSU as a graduate student after earning scholar/athlete awards at UC Santa Barbara.

Head Coach Chuck Erbe takes pride in assembling a squad that performs as well in the classroom as it does on the court. Five of last fall's freshmen were members of the National Honor Society in high school, and Sarah Gustin was her class valedictorian. Among other recent players, Val Sterk, Dana Cooke and Julie Pavlus all won academic all-district or all-America awards while at MSU.

Jennifer Stroffe (rhymes with trophy) earned her bachelor's degree in communication in four years at UCSB, but retains one year of eligibility. A former member of the USA Youth National Team with current Spartan Jenna Wrobel, the 6-foot-1 outside hitter led Corona del Mar High School to back-to-back conference, state and national championships in her final two seasons and was named a Volleyball Fab 50 coming out of high school. She finished her first year by being chosen to the Big West Conference All-Freshman Team. As a sophomore Stroffe missed more than half of the season with a stress fracture in her patella.

In July of 1996, she earned her California AAA beach rating, and just a few weeks later won a women's Open tournament at Laguna Beach. Her partner in that victory was Misty May of Long Beach State. Both Stroffe and May grew up in Newport Beach, California.

Unfortunately, the following fall Stroffe tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, and was red-shirted for the season.

Last season, after her recovery, Stroffe played in all 37 matches for the Gauchos. Although she was not a starter, her solid performance helped her team to a 32-5 record and a No. 5 national ranking.

"I'm hoping as a senior that I will bring some leadership because I've played in a lot of intense matches," said Stroffe. "I'm looking for a change. For one year I'm looking forward to something completely different and new."

"She will provide experience and maturity to our (team)," said Michigan State head coach Chuck Erbe. "She's a very bright young lady who's looking for a certain kind of experience, so she's going to be very hungry when she comes in here."

"She realizes that this is her last year so I think there's going to be a tremendous effort on her part to make a spot for herself," Erbe said.

In 1997, Stroffe won UCSB's Golden Eagle award, given to scholar/athletes with a GPA above 3.25.

Erin Hartley, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter/middle blocker is an all-region, all-area player who has led her volleyball team to conference and district championships at Midland High School. In 1997, she was named (along with Vicki Basil) to the Class A All-State second team. Hartley has also earned letters in basketball, leading her team to a district championships as its leading scorer, and again earning second-team All-State honors. In track she won the region high jump championship and earned all-state honors. Hartley plays for the Valley Volleyball Elite club team and maintains a 3.6 GPA.

"Erin has unlimited potential," said Michigan State head coach Chuck Erbe. "She is one of the best kept secrets in the nation. When Jenna Wrobel came out of high school, she was the No. 1 left side hitter in the nation, and I certainly put her potential right up there with Jenna."

Angela Morley is a 6-foot-4 middle blocker who starred at West Ottawa High School. She earned all-conference honors as a junior and also lettered in basketball. Morley plays for the T.K.O. Volleyball club. She is a member of the honor roll and the National Honor Society and maintains a 3.6 GPA.

"(Angela) is an excellent athlete possessing excellent quickness," Erbe said. "She has the potential to be a dominating front row player. She has the athleticism to play in the front row, and she's an excellent attacker."

New Location and Date for Annual Membership Meeting

The Board of Directors of the SideOut Club has decided to try something different for this year's membership meeting, to make the location and time more convenient for members.

The 1998 annual meeting will be held in conjunction with MSU's spring practice tournament on April 11. To further boost attendance, the Club will be providing SideOut Club members with a free lunch, in the form of pizza or subs as well as beverages.

The meeting is set for 11:00 a.m., which coincides with the lunch break for the teams in the tournament. MSU will play Ball State immediately before this (see the full schedule in the related article), so members can show up at Jenison at 10:00 to take in some action before the meeting, and then stay afterwards to see more volleyball.

The meeting will probably be held in a classroom in Jenison; look for signs at the arena directing you to the right location.

Volunteers Needed for the SideOut Club Board of Directors

If you've thought about becoming more involved with the MSU SideOut Club, there is no better time than now to do something about it.

Four seats on the Board are up for election, and there is no incumbent running for at least two, and possibly more, of the seats.

1997 was without doubt the best year yet for member involvement in volunteer activities for the Club, but now we need a few members to step up and help run things. Please call Dianna Kaplinski at 394-3557 if you are interested in this opportunity.

Team Notes

Spring Practice

Practice started March 2, in the auxiliary gym in the Breslin Center. Jenison won't be available until shortly before the spring tournament, at which time the Sport Court will be set up and the practices will move back across the street.

For now, the players and coaches have to roust themselves out of bed while it's still dark outside. The setters start their work at 6:00 a.m., while everyone else gets a half-hour more sleep before they show up at 6:30. Becky Erbe says she dreads hearing the alarm ring each morning before 5 a.m.!

Getting Crowded

Chuck indicates that there may be quite a few walk-on players on the team for the fall, but we don't have specifics on them yet. He says the roster could swell to as large as sixteen, surpassing last year's initial group of fifteen. The largest opposing squad the Spartans faced last year was that of the Michigan Wolverines, who listed twenty players in their program.


With senior starters Lindsey Clayton, Corie Richard, and Veronica Morales gone, the spring will bring us new lineups.

Chuck reports that Jenny Whitehead is recovered from her broken leg and is practicing with no ill after-effects. She may play either on the right side or in the middle.

Chuck says Christie Landry and Vicki Basil are both in consideration as starting setter, so we might have a chance to see both of them play in the tournament.

The middle is still pretty strong with young players, as Sarah Gustin and Jessica Sanborn continue to develop their skills.

And it's a good guess that Tammy Vonderheide will play the left side in the spring, along with Jenna Wrobel.

An Overabundance of J's

New recruit Jennifer Stroffe could bring a little added confusion to the court next fall, becoming the fourth team member whose name starts with "J". She'll be joining senior Jenna (Wrobel), junior Jenny (Whitehead, also a Jennifer), and sophomore Jessica (Sanborn). It's conceivable they could even all wind up as starters. But perhaps that's appropriate for a team that has a play set called a J, and plays in Jenison Field House.

However, it would take a few more similarly-named players to approach the Florida Gators team that the Spartans played in the 1996 regional. Their roster featured two Jennys, a Jennifer, a Jeni, a Jenni, and a Julie!

Spring Schedule

As usual, the Spartans will play in four tournaments this spring. The kick-off event will be hosted by Notre Dame on March 28 in South Bend. The following weekend the Spartans will travel to Ann Arbor for an April 4 tournament at the University of Michigan. After a weekend hosting at home, MSU will end its spring season April 18 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Fall Schedule

The schedule for fall is pretty well set now (see back page). Notice that the alumni match is back after a two-year absence. At the midpoint of the Big Ten season, MSU and WMU may travel to the neutral site of Grand Rapids to play a special match for the fans in that area.

1997-98 Volleyball Banquet

In some ways it's hard to believe, but this year's Spartan Volleyball Banquet held February 8 was the fifth annual event. Attendance at this type of event always varies with the current success of the program, so the number of people was down a little from the last two years, but was still much larger than the modest beginnings in 1994.

The Hawk Hollow banquet room looked particularly good this year, due to the addition of the volleyball awards banners. These were brought down from the rafters of Jenison Field House and sold off in a silent auction during the banquet.

Seniors Veronica Morales, Corie Richard, Lindsey Clayton, and Chris DeJarlais (above) were recognized for their accomplishments, and individual awards were given for the past season. Award winners were:

Goff Most Valuable Player--Jenna Wrobel

Andrea DeLuca Spirit Award--Chris DeJarlais

Hitting Efficiency--Lindsey Clayton

Captain's Award--Corie Richard

Top GPA--Chris DeJarlais

SideOut Club Service Award--Chris Wolf

The SideOut Club Service Award is new this year. It honors a SideOut Club member whose volunteer efforts have been instrumental in promoting Spartan volleyball. Your editor is proud to receive this award and greatly appreciates the recognition.

NCAA Rules Changes

Each year at the Final Four, the Division I coaches meet to consider possible rule changes. This year Chuck Erbe made a strong presentation in favor of new rules that would make the game more attractive to TV producers.

In January, Chuck repeated his presentation to the actual rule-making body, the National Association of Girls' and Women's Sports (NAGWS), which includes representatives from all divisions. Opinions were divided, with some strongly in favor of changes and others opposed. Ultimately, the proposed rules were not adopted for this fall, but there will be many teams experimenting with them during the spring.

However, two changes in substitutions were approved this year. Most significantly, the limitation of three entries per player will be removed entirely. This rule comes into play primarily when a team has a front-row player and a defensive specialist who share a position in the rotation. In a long game, once one of the players has been replaced three times she cannot enter the game again. As Chuck points out, this rule forces compromises that can prevent a team from having its strongest lineup on the court at the end of a close game. Now there will be no restriction on how many times an individual can enter the game.

The other change is to raise the number of substitutions allowed per team from twelve to fifteen. The NAIA (small colleges) used unlimited substitutions last year and liked it, but the NAGWS decided to simply go with a higher limit.

Proposed "TV-friendly" Changes

Chuck's proposal for women's college play calls for four major changes.

Chuck has also designed compatible timed formats that could be used for lower levels of play such as high school and juniors competition, or for tournaments. This is necessary so that the game doesn't change drastically for players as they advance from one level to another.

MSU Hosts Fourth Annual Spartan Spring Volleyball Classic

MSU fans will have one opportunity to see their team at home this spring, as the Spartans host a six-team tournament on April 11.

Play will be start in two pools for the morning. MSU will be top seeded in one pool, with Big Ten competitor Illinois the top seed in the other pool. The Mid-America Conference will be represented by three of its top teams--Western Michigan University, Miami University of Ohio, and Ball State University. Northwood University, a Division II school from Midland, rounds out the field. The morning schedule is as follows:
Court 1 Court 2
8 am MSU vs. WMU Illinois vs. Northwood
9 am Ball State vs. WMU Miami vs. Northwood
10 am MSU vs. Ball State Illinois vs. Miami

After morning play, teams will be seeded first through sixth on the basis of their won/loss records and point differential. The top three teams will form a new pool on Court 1, while four through six will play on Court 2, according to the following schedule:
Court 1 Court 2
12 noon 1 vs. 3 4 vs. 6
1 pm 2 vs. 3 5 vs. 6
2 pm 1 vs. 2 4 vs. 5

At 3 p.m. the top two teams from Court 1 will play for the tournament championship, while the third team from Court 1 will play the top team from court 2 for third place. The two remaining teams will play a fifth place match in the auxiliary gym in Breslin.

Match Format

The championship and third-place matches will use the proposed timed format and scoring described elsewhere in this issue. During pool play, games will have only one seven-minute period rather than two.

Get Your Tickets for the 1998 Division I Championship

The 1998 Volleyball Final Four will be held at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, December 17-19. Ticket orders are already being accepted by the UW Athletic Ticket Office.

Reserved seats are available for $30 apiece, while general admission tickets are $20. Students of college age and younger can buy reserved seats for $20, as can persons 55 and over. There is a $5 processing fee for each order. The ticket package covers the entire event, consisting of two semi-finals on Thursday and the final on Saturday.

The ticket office will not take requests for specific seats or even sections. Tickets will be sent to purchasers about a month before the event.

When the championship was last held in Madison, in 1993, the matches set an attendance record that has not been surpassed since.

You can order by calling the ticket office at 800 GO BADGERS, or get more information at their web site:

Tentative 1998 Schedule

(All home matches are played in Jenison Field House)
8/29 Alumni Match 7:00 pm
9/4 5:00 pm Pittsburgh vs. Central Michigan
7:00 pm MSU vs. Eastern Michigan
9/5 10:00 am Eastern Michigan vs. Pittsburgh
12 noon MSU vs. Central Michigan
5:00 pm Central Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan
7:00 pm MSU vs. Pittsburgh
9/11-12 @Louisville Tournament
9/18 5:00 pm Notre Dame vs. New Hampshire
7:00 pm MSU vs. Utah
9/19 10:00 am Utah vs. Notre Dame
12 noon MSU vs. New Hampshire
5:00 pm New Hampshire vs. Utah
7:00 pm MSU vs. Notre Dame
9/25 ILLINOIS 7:00 pm
9/26 PURDUE 7:00 pm
10/2 @Indiana
10/3 @Northwestern
10/7 @Michigan
10/10 MINNESOTA 7:00 pm
10/16 @Ohio State
10/17 @Penn State
10/23 IOWA 7:00 pm
10/24 WISCONSIN 7:00 pm
10/28 Western Michigan (Tentative) 7:00 pm

@Grand Rapids

10/30 NORTHWESTERN 7:00 pm
10/31 INDIANA 8:00 pm
11/4 MICHIGAN 7:00 pm
11/6 @Minnesota
11/13 @Purdue
11/14 @Illinois
11/20 PENN STATE 7:00 pm
11/21 OHIO STATE 7:00 pm
11/27 @Wisconsin
11/28 @Iowa
12/4-5 NCAA - 1st and 2nd Round
12/11-12 NCAA Regionals
12/17-19 NCAA Final Four in Madison, Wisconsin

The Service Line

Copyright 1998 by the MSU SideOut Club, the official support group of Michigan State University women's volleyball.

Newsletter Editor: Chris Wolf (517) 332-4353
President: Dianna Kaplinski (517) 394-3557
Vice-president: Sandy Kilbourn (517) 432-4979
Secretary: Laura Willard (517) 394-1549
Treasurer: Dave Pike (517) 626-9914

MSU SideOut Club
P.O. Box 80491
Lansing MI 48908

Web site: