After splitting two games over the weekend to open up Big Ten season, MSU (8-5 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) will make the short trip to Ann Arbor to face Michigan (5-7 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) on Tuesday.
Both the Spartans and Wolverines played Indiana and No. 15 Purdue this past weekend. MSU defeated Indiana in four sets and lost to Purdue in four sets. U-M lost to both Indiana and Purdue in five sets.
MSU played its in-state foe twice last year, with each team winning on the other’s home court. The Spartans hope this trend continues this year.
“No matter when we’re playing them it’s always really exciting,” senior co-captain and middle blocker Jazmine White said.
MSU and U-M will be fighting for State Pride.
Each university hosts a State Pride Night when the teams meet during the regular season. The school that wins both matches will be declared the State Pride winner. If the teams split the matches then the team that wins the most games wins the distinction.
The Spartans are the reigning State Pride winner. MSU and U-M split last year’s series but the Spartans won four games to the Wolverines’ three.
U-M has fallen on hard times recently, losing three of their last four games. However, MSU is not overlooking their rival.
“Just with the rivalry there’s that much more of a tune in,” senior co-captain and libero Kori Moster said. “It makes it that much more exciting, it’s something to look forward to, it kind of fuels you a little bit more.”
Moster has been her consistent self thus far this season, recording at least 10 digs in 11 out of 13 games. Last year when the two teams met in late October, she tied a career high with 29 digs albeit in a losing effort.
As a libero, Moster’s main duty will be neutralizing sophomore Abby Cole, who led her team with 15 kills last year when U-M defeated MSU in four sets.
Cole, a Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection last year, has 39 more kills than anyone else on the Wolverines roster this season and is coming off a career game against Indiana, where she totaled 24 kills while hitting .488.
“Like any good team they’re going to have their stud players,” Moster said. The team will also break down film over the next 24 hours and figure out a plan of attack to contain Cole.
First serve is set for 8 p.m. and the game can be seen on the Big Ten Network. Spartan Sports Network will also have the radio broadcast.