Friday, April 19, 2024

Spartans look to bounce back at home

November 15, 2002
Senior defensive specialist Emily Engel spikes the ball over a Michigan player earlier this season at the Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor. The Spartans will take on Iowa and Minnesota this weekend. —

This weekend is all about rebounding for the MSU volleyball team.

Following disappointing losses against Indiana and Ohio State a week ago, the Spartans (15-9 overall, 7-7 Big Ten) know they need an extremely strong showing at home this weekend to finish the season strong. MSU will host Iowa (8-16, 2-12) on Friday and No. 6 Minnesota (26-3, 13-1) on Saturday at Jenison Field House.

Despite playing Minnesota, a serious national championship contender, the Spartans have home-court advantage on their side. Inside the Jenison gym, MSU holds a 9-1 mark - something junior defensive specialist Emmy Miller said will help.

"We're playing at home again, where we always seem to play well and where we have a lot of support," Miller said. "This weekend will be a great opportunity to win two games and we're looking forward to getting our chemistry back."

Yet, Miller said she knows MSU can't look ahead to the Golden Gophers with the Hawkeyes slated for Friday night. When MSU last played Iowa, the Spartans picked up a four-game win.

Once Friday's match is over, the Spartans will have their eyes set on knocking off the nation's biggest surprise team. Not even ranked to start the season, Minnesota has won a nation-best 26 matches.

Before the Sept. 27 meeting between MSU and Minnesota, MSU head coach Chuck Erbe still wasn't convinced in the Gophers. His thoughts were soon changed when Minnesota defeated MSU in three games, 30-23, 30-27 and 30-28.

"They are for real," Erbe said. "That is going to be a tough contest and hopefully by being at home, we'll be able to rise to the occasion."

And with Minnesota seemingly only getting better, Erbe said he will be changing the lineup around.

Junior outside hitter Jenny Rood said she doesn't care which opponent the Spartans are facing, they want to win.

"At the start of this season, our goal was to be Big Ten champs," Rood said. "That goal might be kinda out of view but we've made a goal for ourselves for the next six matches - the last six are going to be our personal Big Ten championship."

Recruit update

Erbe announced Wednesday that four players will be added to the 2003 Spartan squad.

Andrea Hansen, a 6-foot-2 middle from Andover, Minn., and Jessica Hohl, a 6-foot middle/outside hitter from Waterville, Ohio, signed letters of intent to play for MSU next season.

Katie Johnson, a 6-foot-2 middle/outside hitter from Columbia Central High in Brooklyn, Mich., and Miken Trogdon, a 5-foot-7 defensive specialist from Lisle, Ill., will walk on the team after enrolling at MSU next year.

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