The volleyball team will travel to Birmingham, Ala. this weekend to kick off the 2014 season.
MSU will play Southeastern Louisiana, Alabama-Birmingham, Jacksonville State and Samford as part of the two day UAB/Samford Tournament. All five squads will participate in a two-day, four-game event at both the UAB and Samford campus.
“The big thing about this tournament is we don’t know much about these teams,” senior libero Kori Moster said after practice on Tuesday. “Everything that happens is based on controlling what we can control.”
This will be the first meeting in program history between MSU and each of its four opponents at the tournament.
UAB and Samford each won 20-plus games last year and return several letterwinners. These two teams could provide stiff competition for the Spartans, who went 13-2 in nonconference games a year ago.
MSU is 28-13 all-time in season-opening games and is 7-2 under Head Coach Cathy George. The Spartans have been undefeated in season openers since 2009 and have won the last four openers by 3-0 margins.
“Our (players) understand what the mission is,” George said. “Every weekend presents new challenges.”
The Spartans are ranked No. 16 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association national preseason poll and were selected by Big Ten coaches to finish sixth in the conference.
An official starting lineup for this weekend’s games has not been disclosed. However, George did say at media day and at the Green and White scrimmage the lineup would fluctuate early on in the season.
According to the pre-tournament media notes, sophomore middle blocker and opposite hitter Allyssah Fitterer, senior outside hitter Taylor Galloway, sophomore outside hitter Chloe Reinig, junior setter Halle Peterson, freshman setter Rachel Minarick, freshman outside hitter Holly Toliver, freshman middle blocker Alyssa Garvelink, senior middle blocker and outside hitter Jazmine White and Moster are all possible candidates to fill out the seven starting positions.all names checked
MSU will play Southeastern Louisiana and UAB on Friday during a 2 p.m and 7 p.m double header at UAB’s campus. The Saturday slate will feature matches against Jacksonville State and Samford at noon and 7 p.m at Samford’s campus.