The Service Line

Volleyball News from the MSU SideOut Club
Vol. V No. 1
August 1999


Fans Follow Spartans on the Road
Spartan Coaching Staff Complete
More Big-Ten Coaching Changes
Season Kick-Off With the Team August 15
Conference Coaches Vote; Hartley Chosen for Pre-Season Team
Team Notes
Alumni Notes
Rules Update for 1999
Coach's Luncheons Start Sept. 25; TV Show Ends After Three Years
Adopt an MSU Volleyball Banner
Top Teams Meet in Nebraska
MSU Volleyball on Television
Big Ten Scheduling Unchanged
Volleyball Camps a Big Success
New Look for the Sport Court
SideOut Club Report
1999 Schedule
Credits and Copyright Notice

Fans Follow Spartans on the Road

The SideOut Club will be offering MSU volleyball fans lots of traveling opportunities this fall, thanks to plans for three bus trips to away matches.

The dates selected include:

The plan is to travel to each match and return to East Lansing directly afterwards, with no overnight stays. The expected cost for each trip, depending on how many sign up, is approximately $50 per person.

This is a great opportunity to see your Spartans on the road against some of their closest Big Ten competitors. Last year a couple dozen lucky fans went on the SideOut Club trip to Illinois, and witnessed one of the Spartans' biggest victories of the year. The MSU team played a great match against the Illini, avenging their upset loss to the same team earlier in the year in East Lansing. After the match, MSU fans and team celebrated together courtside, and the players let the fans know how thrilled they had been to have the extra support in the stands.

Primary credit for the bus trips goes to Julie Carmichael. Last year, with the help of her husband Jack and friend Donna Schultz, Julie organized the trip to Illinois. With the plans nearly complete, they approached the SideOut Club for sponsorship, to which the Board agreed. Since the Club always needs enthusiastic organizers, Julie's now on the Board herself!

You can sign up August 15 at the Meet-the-Team Supper or at any home match. Contact Julie at (517) 676-5211 for more information.

Spartan Coaching Staff Complete

Chuck Erbe has hired two new assistant coaches, both of whom, for different reasons, will be familiar to Spartan fans.

Todd Dagenais, who replaces Laura Farina, has already occupied a spot on the Spartan bench. He was a volunteer coach for MSU during the 1997 season, when one of his assignments was analyzing match timing and alternative scoring systems. Todd is a native of Escanaba, who graduated from Central Michigan University in 1995 with a degree in sports medicine.

Laura Abbinante steps in as second assistant coach, replacing Craig Vlietstra. If her name sounds familiar, it's because she was a setter at Wisconsin from 1993 through 1996. As a Badger, she won All-Big-Ten honors in 1995 and 1996, and was chosen as a second-team All American in 1996. Since graduation, Laura has played professional volleyball --first for the Wisconsin Fury of the National Volleyball Association and later in Holland. She is from Chicago, Illinois.

Chuck says the two new coaches are off to a fantastic start--he's very pleased with the way they handled volleyball camps this summer. "They add great enthusiasm and energy to our program. Both will have responsibilities in all phases of recruiting, as well as on the court", he explained.

More Big-Ten Coaching Changes

A third Big Ten head volleyball coach has resigned since the end of the 1998 season, and two new appointments have filled all of this year's vacancies.

The most anticipated appointment was at conference runner-up Wisconsin, where Pete Waite was named head coach, replacing John Cook who left in February for Nebraska. Waite comes to Madison from Northern Illinois University, where he was head women's volleyball coach for eleven years.

Waite's Huskies teams won their conference title eight times, and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament both of the last two years. They earned invitations to post-season play (either NCAA or National Invitational) each of the last eight years. He has won conference Coach of the Year honors three times.

Waite and his wife are both from Madison originally. He played volleyball at Ball State University, where in 1979 his team went 14-0 to win the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Conference, and finished fourth in the NCAA tournament.

The resignation was at Purdue, where head coach Joey Vrazel and both of her assistants, Ruth Lawanson and John Wilder, left the program "to pursue other positions". Vrazel had been at the helm for four years, with her best overall results coming in 1998. The team jumped from tenth to seventh in the Big Ten last season, and their overall record of 14-15 was their best since 1993.

Vrazel's replacement, announced in May, is Jeff Hulsmeyer, an assistant coach at the University of Illinois from 1996 to 1998. Prior to this, he was head coach at Arkansas State for three years, where his teams won the SunBelt Conference every year and made two NCAA tournament appearances.

Volleyball Trivia Question

With Vrazel's departure, the Big Ten is back down to having only two women in head coaching positions. Who are they? See the answer on page 6.

Season Kick-Off With the Team August 15

The Spartan volleyball team will return to the courts of Jenison Field House on Sunday, August 15 for the first official day of practice for fall 1999. SideOut Club members are enthusiastically invited to join them for the Meet-the-Team Supper.

Members can arrive at 5:30 to watch the last hour of practice and evaluate the team's potential. The Club will provide food and drink at 6:30. You'll have a chance to meet the new assistant coaches, talk to the players, and find out what Chuck expects for the new season.

Be sure to bring friends and neighbors with you, as we always hope to attract new members with this event. There is no charge, but donations are accepted to cover costs.

Conference Coaches Vote;
Hartley Chosen for Pre-Season Team

Big Ten coaches have acknowledged Erin Hartley's potential as the keystone of the Spartan's offense, by selecting her for the 1999 Pre-Season All-Big-Ten Volleyball Team. The only other sophomore to be so honored this year is Wisconsin's Sherisa Livingston, 1998's Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Spartan fans will be somewhat disappointed that no other MSU players were chosen for the 1999 pre-season team, even though Sarah Gustin and Christie Landry won All-Big-Ten honorable mention awards at the end of last season. Let's hope that just means the coaches are under-estimating our players, and that the end-of-year honors will look different.

The full pre-season team is as follows:
Player Year Pos School
Nicole Branagh* Jr OH Minnesota
Bonnie Bremner* Sr S Penn State
Lauren Cacciamani* Sr MB Penn State
Jen Flynn Sr S/OH Ohio State
Sherisa Livingston So MB Wisconsin
Kelly Kennedy Sr MB Wisconsin
Erin Hartley So OH MSU
Melissa Beitz Sr S Illinois
Tracey Marshall Sr OH Illinois
Ryan Connors Sr OH Indiana
Dana Sterns Jr MB Ohio State
Carrie Schonveld Sr OH Penn State

*unanimous selection

Let's also hope the coaches have under-estimated the Spartan team, since they picked us for a fourth-place tie with Ohio State, one notch down from our 1998 finish. Penn State was a unanimous choice to earn their fourth consecutive Big Ten championship.

Chuck Erbe appeared unconcerned about the team's ranking. "We have to be realistic about it--the question on people's minds this year is where will MSU volleyball be without Jenna Wrobel. We're just going to have to go out and prove that we're a top-level team."
Rank School Votes 1998 Finish
1 Penn State 121 1
2 Wisconsin 107 2
3 Illinois 95 4
4 MSU 85 3
Ohio State 85 5
6 Minnesota 61 8
7 Indiana 56 5
8 Iowa 38 11
9 Purdue 37 7
10 Michigan 28 10
11 Northwestern 13 9

Team Notes

Erin Hartley (shown at right) was invited to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to try out for the 1999 U.S. Junior National Team from July 10 through August 7. Twelve players will be selected for the team, which will compete in the FIVB Junior World Championships in Saskatoon and Edmonton, Canada from August 28 through September 5. Others trying out for the team include Sherisa Livingston, Wisconsin's 1998 Big-Ten Freshman of the Year, and Logan Tom, the phenomenal juniors player of the last few years, who is headed for Stanford this fall.

Erin has been playing the right-side hitting position on this team, very successfully according to Chuck. Because of the timing of the World Championships, if Erin is selected she will be away for part of the Spartans' pre-season practice, as well as the L&L Tournament. Her absence can be expected to have an effect on the team's performance, but Chuck felt it was important that she take advantage of this opportunity.

"I know that some other major programs won't allow their players to do this sort of thing, but I feel it's important to balance the needs of the team with the needs of the individual," Chuck explained. "It has been a longtime goal of Erin's to wear a USA jersey, and she has now earned that reward. In the long run, a policy such as this can even work in our favor as a recruiting aid, when prospective student-athletes realize that this flexibility is one more advantage of coming to Michigan State."

Sarah Gustin and Christie Landry have also been in Colorado Springs, practicing alongside the U.S. National Team as members of the A-2 National Training Team. The team competed in the second annual Colorado Cup tournament, which included teams from Canada, Puerto Rico and Japan. Also on the team were former Spartan Jenny Whitehead and Wisconsin's Kelly Kennedy.

The fall roster includes three new players, in addition to those already announced. The newcomers are freshmen Emily Engel, Elissa Multhaner, and Jessie Warren. Kelly McDonald, who trained with the team in the spring, will not be on the roster. The full lineup is as follows:
No. Name Year Ht. Pos. Hometown/High School
8 Tammy Vonderheide Sr./Sr. 5-8 OH Stewardson, IL/Stewardson-Strasburg
13 Kayleen Cook Sr./Sr. 5-6 S/DS Mendon, MI/Mendon/Glen Oaks CC
9 Vicki Basil Jr./Jr. 5-10 S Bay City, MI/Bay City Central
12 Sarah Gustin Jr./Jr. 6-3 OH/MB Hesperia, CA/Hesperia Christian
1 Christie Landry Jr./Jr. 6-2 S Naperville, IL/St. Francis
5 Jessica Sanborn Jr./Jr. 6-2 MB Colbert, WA/Mead
16 Nikki Allen So./So. 6-2 MB Fenton, MI/Lake Fenton
4 Lisa Ashton So./So. 5-10 OH Watervliet, MI/Watervliet
7 Erin Hartley So./So. 6-2 OH Midland, MI/Midland
10 Maren Witzel Jr./So. 6-0 OH Palmer, AK/Colony
2 Angela Morley So./Fr. 6-4 MB Holland, MI/West Ottawa
11 Emily Engel Fr./Fr. 5-10 OH Bay City/Bay City Central
15 Elissa Multhaner Fr./Fr. 6-1 OH/S Brighton, MI/Brighton
3 Kyla Smith Fr./Fr. 5-11 OH Colmax, B.C./Highland
14 Jessie Warren Fr./Fr. 6-0 OH Beverly Hills, MI/Wylie E. Groves

Alumni Notes

Courtney Debolt has been named assistant volleyball coach at Marquette University, under head coach Laura Farina. "Marquette Volleyball is fortunate to have Courtney's expertise in the gym," said Laura. "She is a hard worker and a winner, which are qualities that lead to excellence. Most importantly, she is a tremendous role model for the team."

Jenny Whitehead will be a graduate student at the University of Florida, where she will play out her fourth year of volleyball eligibility.

Rules Update for 1999

The rules-making body for NCAA volleyball continues to amend the rules of the game. The National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) decided in January on the following changes for 1999:

Coach's Luncheons Start Sept. 25;
TV Show Ends After Three Years

The Chuck Erbe Show is no more, but you can still hear the coach's words of wisdom by coming to the SideOut Club Coach's Luncheons.

Luncheons will be held this year on four Big Ten home Saturdays, plus the Wednesday that we host Michigan. The dates are September 25, October 9 and 13, and November 6 and 20.

The gatherings will take place at Buddies Pub & Grill in East Lansing at 11:30 am. This is located in the Carriage Hills Shopping Center, at the corner of Hagadorn and Lake Lansing Roads. The cost will be $7 to cover food and drink.

The weekly TV show was dropped this year due to a combination of circumstances. Chuck explains one major reason, "I began to realize that it was stealing too much of my time away from the team and my family life." In addition, the production team for the show snagged a contract to produce a new show covering all Big Ten sports, which is going to take all of their resources. The show might return in some form eventually.

Adopt an MSU Volleyball Banner*

Here's your chance to help increase the visibility of Spartan volleyball in the community. The SideOut Club is making plans to place green and white MSU Volleyball banners on the light poles lining Kalamazoo Street from Harrison Road past Jenison Field House. The banners will fly throughout the season to remind passers-by of the excitement going on inside Jenison.

So make your visible contribution to the volleyball program now. A tax-deductible contribution of $100 to the MSU SideOut Club covers one banner. Mail your check to MSU SideOut Club, PO Box 80491, Lansing, MI 48908. We have to move quickly to get these up for the fall, so don't delay. For more information, phone Jenny Bond at 676-2676.

*You may adopt twins or triplets, too!

Top Teams Meet in Nebraska

The University of Nebraska will host 1999's premier early season tournament, the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic, presented by NACWAA (the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators).

This year's event, to be held August 27th and 28th, will feature three of the four teams from last year's Division I championship--Penn State, Florida, and Nebraska. Rounding out the field is Pacific, who are expected to be a top-ten team this year.

Penn State will play Florida in the opening match, followed by Pacific vs. host Nebraska. Saturday's pairings will be determined by the results on Friday.

The competition will be televised on ESPN2, at midnight Friday, and 3:30 pm both Saturday and Sunday. Check your listings for last-minute changes.

MSU Volleyball on Television

MediaOne cable TV in Lansing will broadcast all Spartan home volleyball matches this season. The L&L tournament will be tape-delayed, but all others will be live. Various Big Ten matches will also be on ESPN2; we'll publish the schedule in the next issue.

Big Ten Scheduling Unchanged

Big Ten athletic directors have nixed the switch to Wednesday/Saturday scheduling, a change recommended to them by the conference volleyball coaches. With the Big 12 having approved a similar change for 1999, you can be sure that our conference will be watching them closely, and that this issue may very well come up again in the future.

Volleyball Camps a Big Success

For sixteen days in July, MSU sports facilities are virtually overrun with young volleyball players. The Chuck Erbe Volleyball Camps have quickly grown to join the ranks of the largest sports camps held on the MSU campus, and they continue to expand.

According to Todd Dagenais, "We had almost 950 kids this year, our largest number ever, and we hope to grow as large as 1,500 within three years." This also ranks the program among the largest volleyball camp offerings in the country.

Such a huge undertaking requires the services of seventy coaches of varying backgrounds. There are six different camps from which players can choose, ranging from those that teach the complete game to ones that focus on a specific skill such as setting.

New Look for the Sport Court

The Spartan volleyball arena will have a colorful new appearance for fall 1999, at least for those with their eyes to the floor. The vinyl appliques put down in 1996 are coming off, to be replaced by painted-on designs. The vinyl stayed in use for a year longer than its projected life, but the paint is expected to be more durable.

SPARTAN VOLLEYBALL will still appear along each sideline, but now the white volleyball will be streaming dramatic red, orange and yellow flames. The Michigan State "bridge" logo behind the endlines will be replaced with a plain-text logo, which will simplify and clean up the overall appearance a little.

The block S logo, which appears somewhere in every other Spartan sports venue, will likely be added in white within each of the two playing areas. And finally, the Big Ten conference logos will be moved to locations just inside the poles.

Answer to Trivia Question

Indiana's Katie Weismiller and Iowa's Rita Crockett.

SideOut Club Report

Membership Renewal Time

Members who need to renew for 1999 will find the renewal form inside this issue. The SideOut Club membership year runs from July 1 to June 30, but for those who join during the "off-season" (between January 1 and June 30) we extend the membership to the following year.

Volunteers Needed

As always, we need lots of volunteers to sell merchandise and raffle tickets during home matches. If you can spare some time to help out (and have some fun to boot) at one or more home matches, please call Jim Ellis at (517) 323-3566.

Board of Directors

At the March membership meeting, one current director was re-elected, along with five new directors. The new Board is as follows:

MSU SideOut Club Financial Summary - Year Ending June 30, 1999

Income Expense Net Income
1998 Starting balance $ 6,714.56
Membership dues 3,555.00 3,555.00
Member Benefits
Courtside Seat Raffle 128.00 (128.00)
Newsletter 523.25 (523.25)
Spring tournament and fall picnic 430.15 778.87 (348.72)
Decals and schedule magnets 294.06 (294.06)
Total Member Benefits 430.15 1,724.18 (1,294.03)
Donations to Club 292.50
Merchandise sales 7,589.01 5,337.20 2,251.81
50/50 raffle 3,542.00 2,104.99 1,437.01
Bus trips 470.00 1,386.18 (916.18)
Coach's Luncheons 431.50 593.38 (161.88)
Credit union interest, fees 237.49 9.00 228.49
Other office supplies, copying, postage 370.79 (370.79)
Taxes 433.22 (433.22)
Miscellaneous expenses 87.00 (87.00)
Contributions to MSU Volleyball
Ralph Young Fund 342.75 (342.75)
Chuck Erbe TV Show 2,500.00 (2,500.00)
Hospitality for NCAA tournament 252.90 (252.90)
Banquet Table Sponsorship 300.00 (300.00)
Total Contributions to MSU Volleyball 3,395.65 (3,395.65)
Total income and expenses $16,547.65 $15,441.59 $1,106.06
Balance as of 6/30/99 $7,820.62
Value of merchandise on hand as of 6/30/99 $2,699.46
Net worth as of 6/30/99 $10,520.08

1999 Schedule

(All home matches are played in Jenison Field House)
8/28 GREEN & WHITE 7:00 pm
Friday MSU vs. Cleveland State 10:00 am
Clemson vs. Texas A&M 12:00 noon
Eastern Kentucky vs. Cleveland State 2:00 pm
Clemson vs. Eastern Kentucky 6:00 pm
MSU vs. Texas A&M 8:00 pm
Saturday Eastern Kentucky vs.Texas A&M 9:00 am
Clemson vs. Cleveland State 11:00 am
MSU vs. Eastern Kentucky 1:00 pm
Cleveland State vs. Texas A&M 6:00 pm
MSU vs. Clemson 8:00 pm
9/10-11 University of Massachusetts Invitational @Amherst
with New Hampshire, Seton Hall, Southern Mississippi, UMass
9/17-18 Western Michigan Invitational @Kalamazoo
with Depaul, Loyola, Niagara, Western Michigan
9/24 PENN STATE 7:00 pm
9/25 OHIO STATE 7:00 pm
10/1 @Purdue 7:00 pm
10/2 @Wisconsin 7:00 pm
10/8 IOWA 7:00 pm
10/9 MINNESOTA 7:00 pm
10/13 MICHIGAN 7:00 pm
10/15 NORTHWESTERN 7:00 pm
10/22 @Illinois 7:00 pm
10/23 @Indiana 7:00 pm
10/29 @Minnesota 7:00 pm
10/30 @Iowa 7:00 pm
11/5 WISCONSIN 7:00 pm
11/6 PURDUE 7:00 pm
11/12 @Ohio State 7:00 pm
11/13 @Penn State 7:30 pm
11/19 INDIANA 7:00 pm
11/20 ILLINOIS 7:00 pm
11/24 @Michigan 7:00 pm
11/27 @Northwestern 7:00 pm
12/2-5 NCAA - 1st and 2nd Round
12/9-12 NCAA Regionals
12/16-18 NCAA Final Four in Honolulu, Hawai'i

The Service Line

Copyright 1999 by the MSU SideOut Club, the official support group of Michigan State University women's volleyball.

Newsletter Editor: Chris Wolf (517) 332-4353
President: Dave Martz (517) 521-4907
Vice-president: Jenny Bond (517) 676-2676
Secretary: Joy Jacobs (517) 675-5590
Treasurer: Jim Ellis (517) 323-3566

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

Web site: