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MSU heads south for three games

September 16, 2005

The Spartan volleyball team (6-1 overall) will look to continue their winning ways on the road as they travel down south to Coral Gables, Fla. for the Orange and Green Challenge. They will play No. 9 Louisville (6-0), Miami (5-0) and Sacramento State (5-5).

Head coach Cathy George said that last weekend was a challenge for them, but this weekend will prove to be even tougher.

Louisville has starters who are 6 foot 3 and taller, and George said she knows that quickness is going to be key.

"They run a system that is very high and I believe that we can get good blocks set up on most of their hitters," George said.

"We want to channel the balls with both of our defenders and transition out."

George added that it will be vital for the Spartans to maintain their type of game.

"It's very important that we are able to keep ourselves in our system, because of the fact that they're big," she said.

This year is becoming a historic one for the Cardinals as they have received their highest ranking in school history and are off to a good start at 6-0, sweeping every opponent they have played this season.

Middle blocker senior Brooke Langston knows that beating the Cardinals will be a challenge, but it's nothing the team hasn't seen before.

"I'm excited to play them because they're all foreign again and they're huge," Langston said. "The balls are going to be set really high and they're going to be smashing the balls pretty hard, but it's easy to read and get out there. It will be some fun volleyball to watch."

After playing Louisville on Friday, George said it will only get tougher when playing Miami and Sacramento State on Saturday.

"Sacramento State has been in the NCAA Tournament and they were rated preseason first in their conference," George said. "They returned so many starters - Miami is returning some of their starters as well.

"We need to capitalize as much as possible, taking it one game at a time and trying to bring back as many wins as we can."

Miami has been victorious in both previous tournaments, capturing the Hurricane Invitational and the Houston Invitational. Setter Jill Robinson leads the team with 20 assists a game and was named MVP of the Hurricane Invitational.

This will be the Spartans first time facing Sacramento State, who has had an up-and-down season, losing five straight games at the beginning of their season. The Hornets are hitting a team percentage of .254 and defensively are out blocking opponents 51.5 to 31.0.

Leading the Spartans is outside hitter Katie Johnson who averages 6.71 kills per game and senior setter Mickey Davis who is currently ranked 24th in the nation with 13.17 assists per game.

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