When Michigans and MSUs volleyball teams square off at 7 p.m. tonight at Michigans Cliff Keen Arena, it will be for more than in-state bragging rights.
For Spartan freshman outside hitter Kim Schram, it will be a matchup that exposes her parents true colors.
Schrams mother, Cheryl, is a MSU alumna and her father, Robert, is a U-M alumnus.
Cheryl Schram will go into her closet today and pick out her favorite green and white ensemble.
And Robert Schram will change into some maize and blue garb that wont fly with MSU head coach Chuck Erbe.
I think were going to give him a hard time about that because hes going to have to support his daughter, Erbe said.
But the one thing tougher than choosing the right colors for tonights game, will be picking a winner.
Neither MSU or U-M has a decisive edge in this early conference matchup.
The Wolverines (5-5, 2-2 Big Ten) have suffered losses at Northwestern and Wisconsin before returning home to defeat Iowa and Minnesota last weekend.
Sound familiar? It should.
The Spartans (9-2, 2-2) opened conference play with losses at Wisconsin and Northwestern before returning home last weekend to defeat Minnesota and Iowa.
U-M head coach Mark Rosen expects another battle tonight.
I think its going to be a good match, Rosen said. We both are fairly young, and we have similar strengths and weaknesses.
The key on the Spartan side of the net will again rest in the teams passing and serving, Erbe said.
Junior outside hitter Kyla Smith said serving and passing have played pivotal roles in MSUs early success.
When we were winning our games (last weekend) all of our serving and passing was great, she said.
But when we started to get closer to Minnesota and Iowa, that was when our passing started to break down, and it showed in the scoring margins.
And Erbe said Michigan excels at that part of the game.
But its still unknown who will carry out U-Ms game plans.
The Spartans arent sure who the Wolverines starting setter will be or who will anchor their attack.
I honestly dont know what lineup to expect out of them right now, Erbe said.
I think what they try to do is put the ball in the hands of the most successful hitter and if they find that we have a blocking deficiency, they will attack it.
U-M has used both Lisa Gamalski and Shannon Melska as setters this season.
Rosen wont reveal any new personnel decisions until game time.
With the uncertainties in U-Ms lineup, the most clear aspect of this rivalry is that fact that the winner will have to play a solid all-around game.
Erbe said the Spartans have a great chance to steal a victory.
It seems we always flip-flop - they win on their court and we win on our court, Erbe said.
And Id like to change that, and with this team we have the capability to do so.