For the second time this season, the MSU volleyball team is at a halfway point.
The Spartans (16-6 overall, 5-5 Big Ten) will begin the second half of their Big Ten season at 8 p.m. Wednesday, when they take on the Indiana Hoosiers at Jenison Field House.
Earlier in the season, the Spartans defeated the Hoosiers in Indiana, 3-1, keeping with the prior seven matchups, which all ended in four sets.
Although much of the talk surrounding the team is focused on senior outside hitters Jenilee Rathje and Kyndra Abron, several underclassmen have been contributing to the team’s success, namely freshman libero Kori Moster and freshman middle blocker Jazmine White.
Moster already has garnered some attention from the conference, picking up her second Big Ten Freshman of the Week and first Defensive Player of the Week award Monday afternoon. Moster has bumped up her number of digs per set to 3.70 overall and five digs per set against conference opponents, putting her atop the Big Ten.
On the other hand, White is just beginning to see serious playing time and is doing the most with it, notching 1.14 blocks per set, which is good enough for second on the team.
“Those freshmen are coming on strong. I’m excited to see their defensive effort each game,” head coach Cathy George said.
“I’m seeing (White) grow every day, and her instincts for the blocking game are really there, and we’re just seeing her come alive over time.”
The last time MSU took on the Hoosiers, the Spartans began slowly, dropping the first set 3-1. They’ll be looking to avoid a slow start this time, as MSU is 14-1 this season when winning the first set.
However, Moster said that’s something the team has been working on this week and she expects to see a different performance out of both teams Wednesday night.
“We’re a continually growing team, and we’re not the same team as we were at the beginning of the year,” she said. “But they aren’t either.”
However, that isn’t to say the Spartans aren’t taking a hard look at what happened in the last meeting. George said there were some things she noticed the team will need to improve if it wants to complete a season sweep.
As the Spartans begin the second half of the Big Ten season, they’ll match up against the teams they played earlier in the season. In some cases, the Spartans will get another shot at teams they almost beat while in others, they’ll be battling against teams looking for revenge.
However, the squad is aware that teams develop, and the players can’t predict wins and losses based on what happened weeks earlier.
“We have a mental edge over (Indiana) because we already beat them, but we’re taking this as like a whole new season,” White said.
“It’s not necessarily about each game. It’s about the entire season and making our way to San Antonio.”
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