The MSU women’s volleyball team took a break from preparing for the 2014-15 season to have fun with the local media.
Head coach Cathy George and her team facilitated volleyball-esque drills for the media at the Spare Time Entertainment Center in Lansing on Friday morning.
When the teaching was done, media members were able to put their skills to the test in an intrasquad scrimmage with the team.
The games and activities provided a much-needed break for the Spartans, who will kickoff their season in less than a week. MSU travels to Birmingham, Ala. for the first game of the season against Southeastern Louisiana on August 29.
The schedule doesn’t do No. 16 ranked (AVCA Coaches Poll) Michigan State any favors. The Spartans will face nine top-25 ranked teams this season, seven of which come against Big Ten foes.
ACC powerhouses Duke (No. 21) and North Carolina (No. 20) visit East Lansing for a week doubleheader on the first week of September.
The toughest stretch of the season starts with a road matchup vs. No. 1 ranked Penn State on October 25 followed by games against Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska, all of whom are ranked in the top-25.
MSU faces in state rival Michigan twice in back-to-back matchups, first going to Ann Arbor on September 30th and then returning home on October 3rd.
George knows the tough slate will bring ups and downs for a Michigan State team picked by Big Ten coaches to finish sixth in the conference in a preseason poll.
“It would be nice to have a regroup time,” said the head coach. “You can’t let the residue from one game carry over into the next game good or bad.”
The ability to refocus is important for a team that last year started the season 17-1 before stumbling to a 6-11 finish.
“This season is a marathon, not a sprint,” said senior captain Kori Moster.
Moster and her team hope to advance past the Sweet Sixteen round this year after back-to-back losses in the regional semifinal round of the NCAA tournament.
“This team definitely has the most talent of any team I’ve played on,” said Moster, the two-time defending Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. “Our goal is the national championship.”
The Spartans return two sophomore key players — outside hitter Chloe Reinig and middle blocker Allyssah Fitterer. Reinig made the Big Ten All- Freshman Team last year and Fitterer was selected to the 2013 NCAA All-Regional team.
MSU supplements the returning talent with a No. 6 ranked recruiting class, according to PrepVolleyball.com.
“I’ve been so excited about this freshman class,” said a noticeably giddy Moster. “They’ve stepped in since day one with such a high level of play.”
The Spartans have a good blend of youth and experience going into this season and will lean on their depth all year long.
“It’s comforting to know someone’s going to have an off night one night or the next and knowing that we still can maintain that high level of play is exciting,” said Moster, who was also pleased with how the team has gelled this offseason.
The women’s volleyball team will have a chance to showcase their skills at the Green and White Exhibition at Jenison Field House on Saturday at 4 p.m.