Sunday, April 14, 2024

Junior transfer redshirted for season, postseason in jeopardy

November 13, 2002

Junior outside hitter Sara Villwock, who has been sidelined with a foot injury since the end of September, will be given a medical redshirt for this season.

MSU head coach Chuck Erbe said he thought long and hard about the decision, making it within the last week.

"She's making good progress, but for her to be back in time to really play a substantiative role for our team - she's not going to be in any position to do that," Erbe said.

"She's still not cleared to go full-bore and jump and be in practice. She has mobility in the backcourt, but not quick.

"But that's just a reality that we're going to have to deal with."

In the Spartans' first action of the season, Villwock grabbed MVP honors in the Coca-Cola/MSU Volleyball Classic held Aug. 30-31 at Jenison Field House.

Villwock was leading the team with 4.04 kills per game and 113 kills. She was a huge force in the back court as well, adding a team-leading 3.29 digs per game.

Villwock recorded seven double-doubles this season, each time recording double digits in kills and blocks.

Against South Carolina, she recorded a season-high 18 digs ,and two weeks later against South Florida, she laced a season-best 18 kills.

Villwock, who transferred from Colorado in the off-season, last played in MSU's three-game loss to Minnesota on Sept. 27.

Cloudy future

Behind Erbe's lead, MSU has made eight straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.

With disappointment surrounding the season, a ninth straight bid is questionable.

The Spartans have six games left on their schedule, four of which are against teams MSU has beaten (Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa and Purdue) and two of which are against the conference first-and third-place teams in No. 6 Minnesota and No. 14 Wisconsin.

One of the categories the selection committee looks at is how a team finishes, and Erbe said MSU controls its own destiny.

"Our margin of error is very slim," he said. "I feel we have to win four of our next six games to get into the NCAA Tournament."

Receiving votes

After starting the season ranked 15th and as high as No. 12, MSU (15-9 overall, 7-7 Big Ten) is the last team receiving votes in this week's AVCA/USA Today Volleyball Coaches Poll coming in with four tallies.

MSU was receiving votes last week, sitting in 26th position, just four votes out of the poll. But after dropping matches to Indiana (18-8, 8-6) and Ohio State (13-10, 7-7), the Spartans fell to the No. 37 spot.

Powerhouse conference?

At one point this season, the Big Ten had six teams ranked in the top 25. But Ohio State battled injuries early in the season and dwindled out of the rankings with an 0-5 start in conference play.

Illinois started the year ranked 19th, but after two weeks, they dropped out of the polls.

The Spartans are the third team to drop out of the polls, following their 3-6 mark in their last nine games.

Minnesota started the season just receiving votes, but the Golden Gophers' Cinderella season seemingly doesn't want to end. At 26-3, 13-1 in the conference, the Gophers are the highest-ranked Big Ten team, sitting at No. 6 in the nation.


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