Thursday, May 23, 2024

Spartans battle Wolverines in mid-week game tonight

Michigan brings 6-game winning streak to Jenison

September 21, 2005
Sophomore outside hitter Katie Johnson jumps for a spike during a game on Sept. 3. The Spartans' 3-0 victory against Ball State marked their fourth sweep of the season. MSU faces Michigan tonight at Jenison Field House. The Spartans look to snap U-M's six-game unbeaten streak.

There's a first time for everything and tonight MSU volleyball head coach Cathy George will see first-hand just how deep the rivalry is between Michigan and the Spartans.

"It's exciting. Everybody at State, no matter what team is playing against Michigan, it's an exciting time," George said.

"We really want to live up to that whole thing and hype our school. We're really excited to open at home in Big Ten season with Michigan."

The Spartans (7-3) are coming off a road trip were they lost to ninth-ranked Louisville and Miami while beating Sacramento. George said there are still some weaknesses the team needs to improve on and she said she addressed them in Monday's practice.

"We're working on some things even today, that we need to work on to improve our game, whether or not we're playing Michigan on Wednesday," George said on Monday.

"This is a long stretch and it starts with Michigan - yes it's a rivalry and we love to be the victors in that, but the overall goal of this team is to improve every time. So that we are a really solid team in the long run."

The Wolverines (6-3) are coming in riding on a six-game winning streak and rank fifth in the Big Ten with a .280 in hitting percentage. Last year, both teams split games against each other - each winning on its home court.

Senior middle blockers Brooke Langston and Megan Wallin remember last season's games against the Wolverines - both saying that the games can become very emotional.

"Every year we play them, everyone just gives it everything they've got, with the fans and the band playing. It's going to be a battle," Langston said.

Both have friends that attend U-M and Langston said she hasn't received any bragging phone calls yet from her friends on the Wolverines. But there will be one Wolverine rooting for the Spartans.

"My friend is coming to the game. She plays for their softball team. She's the pitcher and she'll be cheering for us," Wallin said.

Langston said the Spartans aren't the same team the Wolverines faced a year ago.

"Having a new coach and new everything - they don't know our offense and they have no idea what we're set up like," she said.

The Spartans take on U-M 7 p.m. tonight at Jenison Field House.

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