Monday, June 17, 2024

Spartans prepare for final nonleague tilts

The MSU volleyball team will finish its nonconference schedule this week with matches against Oakland and Central Michigan, the first of which will be played tonight at Jenison Field House.

Head coach Cathy George said the team isn’t worried about any fatigue after playing three games this weekend.

“Our team is in pretty good shape, we’ve worked on double days throughout the preseason,” George said. “It’s never favorable to play on Tuesday when you’ve played on a Saturday, but we’ve had some time and we get a few more days then to prepare for Central.”

The difficulty is for the coaches to get prepared, George said.

“We’re just getting right back into the swing of things with pregame activities,” George said. “It’s really more about the coaches getting ready, studying the tape of Oakland, just making sure we’re ready in some of the areas that we need to be prepared for.”

It helps that both Oakland and Central Michigan, who the Spartans play on Saturday, compare favorably to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a team MSU beat 3-0 Friday.

“Their system is fairly similar, so it will help that we can tie those two together and get prepared defensively from that standpoint,” George said.

The Golden Grizzlies are 3-7 this season and are coming off a weekend where they lost three straight at the Michigan/Pepsi Challenge in Ann Arbor.

Freshman outside hitter Becca Zlabis, who is second on the team with 84 kills, said the little time off they get helps.

“I think we’re all experienced enough to refocus after each match,” Zlabis said. “We always have time to go back and kind of relax and clear our minds, so that helps a lot.”

The team feels it’s on a roll right now, Zlabis said.

“We’re all playing together and all smooth, I think that all we can go is up right now,” Zlabis said.

As the season goes on, the young team is starting to get to know the system better, George said.

“I think every day we practice and we get better with our teamwork,” George said.

“It’s a familiarity of the process of the structure that we have prior to the games and just knowing each other better. It helps for the flow of the game to come together better.”

Freshman middle blocker Vineece Verdun said much of the team’s success on its six-game winning streak can be attributed to teamwork.

“We’ve been playing as a team, playing as a cohesive unit, we’ve all been playing really well,” she said. “We’re just going to keep it rolling into tomorrow’s game.”

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