Heading into its final invitational of the season, the MSU volleyball team continues to look for progress.
“We’re going to be tightening the last screws before the Big Ten season starts,” junior setter Kristen Kelsay said. “We’ve talked about how every weekend there’s something new that we see and that every team shows us something different that we need to work on. We just want to play better every weekend.”
After another invitational title last weekend, head coach Cathy George was most pleased with the game the Spartans almost lost, when they went to five sets with IPFW before pulling out the win.
“I learned a lot about what our team is going to look like when they’re put in a tough situation,” George said. “ IPFW did that. They put our backs against the wall and we saw how our team was going to fight. They did a wonderful job. We were impressed with the way they handled adversity.”
Only this weekend’s invitational stands between the Spartans and the start of the Big Ten season — they open on Sept. 21 against Purdue at Jenison Field House — but the team is being careful not to get ahead of itself, sophomore libero Kori Moster said.
“We want to win a Big Ten championship,” Moster said. “And it’s going to take every game to do that. You don’t want to overlook the next step because there are so many pieces to the puzzle.”
The main goal for this weekend, aside from continuing to improve, is making sure the team is prepared for the jump in competition from preseason invitationals to the Big Ten.
“We need to prepare our play for the Big Ten’s level,” George said. “I think that we have some ingredients that will help us in the Big Ten. I think that we play a team game and we play well defensively.”
MSU knows how hard it will be in Big Ten play, with George referring to the Big Ten season as a “battle” and Moster saying the team is “ready for war.” Now they have to just go for it, according to senior outside hitter Amy Dentlinger.
“We’re going in as underdogs,” Dentlinger said. “So we have the mindset that we’re going to take everything we can and go as high as we can get. It’s my last season, and I want to go out with a bang.”