White downs Green in volleyball scrimmage
Outside MSU coaches helped prep the team for the season
The MSU volleyball season kicked off with the Green and White game Saturday, and for the players it was an exercise in teamwork, trash talk and an opportunity to showcase individual talents as excitement for the oncoming season begins.
It was also a night of networking, as baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr., hockey head coach Tom Anastos, men’s golf head coach Casey Lubahn, women’s tennis head coach Simone Jardim and field hockey head coach Helen Knull took their talents to the volleyball court. As guest coaches they translated their personal game knowledge to their respective teams as they competed against each other for wins.
Head volleyball coach Cathy George declined to specify which coach performed the best, but lauded the opportunity for her players to be able to mingle with coaches from other programs.
“They all were tremendous, and I think it was fun to see their interaction,” George said. “The team really enjoyed having the different coaches and getting to get them and their programs better. It’s always nice meeting the whole MSU family.”
The White Team, comprised of seniors Alexis Mathews and Kristen Kelsay, juniors Kori Moster, Ebony Scott and Jazmine White, sophomore Maggie Halloran, and freshmen Allyssah Fitterer and Chole Reinig, won two of the three sets. The Green Team was comprised of seniors Kelsey Kuipers and Lauren Wicinski, juniors Ryian Hubbard and Taylor Galloway, and freshmen Kristen Muir, Autumn Christiansen, Megan Tompkins and Brooke Kranda.
For the freshmen, the Green and White game was their first taste of game action on Jenison Field House’s floor. George said the game provided an opportunity to test the mantle of her large recruiting class.
“It was really good seeing all of our players and how they play when the lights are on,” George said. “We had a lot of newcomers that we needed to take a look at and see how it fits. I was able to see a lot of nice things.”
Freshman middle blocker Megan Tompkins received praise from not only her head coach, but from teammates as well, who applauded her intensity and ability to come up with key plays throughout the course of the evening.
“She was blocking … I thought that was awesome that she was able to do that,” senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski said.
As a whole, the freshman class performed promisingly. Thompkins had four kills, four blocks and eight points. Middle blocker Autumn Christenson added four kills and six points. Outside hitter Chloe Reinig had a green team-leading 11 kills and five digs.
“We performed pretty well as a unit, and especially our freshmen, I was really pleased with how they performed,” Wicinski said. “It’s a nerve-racking thing for the first time, there’s stands, you have your jersey’s on, it’s loud. So I think overall, everyone did a really good thing in performing.”
The Green and White game served as a filling introduction, but it pales in comparison to the challenge the volleyball team faces for the upcoming season. Finishing with a 25-10 record last season and a Sweet Sixteen NCAA Tournament exit, both the bar and expectations for success have been suitably raised.
Junior libero and reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Kori Moster said that the Green and White game is a good precursor for what’s to come.
“It’s exciting, especially seeing different people step up,” Moster said. “Once you see everyone on the same side of the court, we’re going to be really good this year.”