The MSU volleyball team heads to Storrs, Conn. for the University of Connecticut Classic this weekend, where they’ll take on Fairfield on Friday, followed by Dartmouth and host Connecticut on Saturday. Here’s a brief look at each of the participants and how’ll they’ll likely fare against the Spartans.
Previous Action: Lost to Milwaukee, William and Mary and Duke at the Duke Invitational.
Key Player: Sophomore Caitlin Stapleton, who recorded 34 kills, 14 digs and 4 blocks over three matches last weekend. Named to Duke Invitational All-Tournament team.
Synopsis: Fairfield may have struggled in Durham, but they were picked to finish first in the MAAC by the other coaches in the league. Head Coach Alija Pittenger was named MAAC Coach of the Year last year and is 72-55 during her tenure. Although MSU probably won’t have too much trouble with the Stags, they can’t afford to look past them.
Prediction: MSU wins in straight sets, 3-0.
Previous Action: None. Dartmouth will take the court for the first time this weekend when they face off with Duke on Friday.
Key Player: Senior setter Alissa Santa Maria, who was named an honorable mention All-Ivy Leaguer last season after leading her team in assists.
Synopsis: Dartmouth was decent in 2011, finishing 16-9 — good for fourth in the Ivy League. They have a young coach in Erin Lindsey, who is just in her second year, and also pose a potential threat if the Spartans don’t take them seriously. MSU started slowly in the early Saturday match against Youngstown State last weekend, so its something to keep an eye on. But there’s no reason the Spartans shouldn’t prevail, if they focus.
Prediction: MSU wins, 3-1.
Previous Action: Went 1-2 at the Loyola Marymount Invitational in Los Angeles, beating UC Santa Barbara, but falling to Iona and host Loyola Marymount.
Key Player: Senior Mattison Quayle, who recorded 35 kills over the three matches last weekend.
Synopsis: Connecticut struggled mightily last year, going 4-10 in Big East action and 14-15 overall. A slow start to this season — even if it was just one weekend — doesn’t give much reason for optimism.
Prediction: MSU wins, 3-0.