MSU (7-4 overall) opens up Big Ten play on Friday in Bloomington against Indiana (9-3 overall). The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network at 8 p.m.
The Spartans play No. 15 Purdue (10- 2 overall) on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
“Purdue and Indiana are very good teams,” head coach Cathy George said. “The Big Ten is always so difficult, anybody can beat anybody.”
The Hoosiers and Boilermakers both defeated the Spartans last year in five sets.
“They’re both tough teams,” sophomore outside hitter Chloe Reinig said. “Last year, those were two teams we lost to and those were not good losses, (so) we’re coming out with a vengeance.”
MSU hopes to build on the momentum they established during the Auto-Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational last weekend, winning two of three games.
“We started figuring a couple things out and started moving in the right direction,” George said.
MSU is 7-26 all-time in Big Ten openers.
The Spartans have had better success in the past against Indiana compared to Purdue. MSU has won five of their last six games against the Hoosiers, but have lost seven straight to the Boilermakers.
Senior right-side hitter Morgan Leach leads Indiana with 147 kills on the season and has a team-high .302 hitting percentage.
MSU will have to contain Purdue’s junior outside hitter Annie Drews if they want to be successful. Drews leads an offense, which ranks in the top 20 nationally in hitting percentage, kills per set and assists per set.
Offensively, sophomores Allyssah Fitterer, an opposite hitter, and Chloe Reinig, an outside hitter, carry the torch for MSU.
Defensively, senior libero Kori Moster leads the Spartans in digs with 180 and ranks sixth in the Big Ten with 4.50 digs.
Fitterer stressed the importance of the Spartans using their size.
“You could see from the weekend that our blocking got 10 times better,” Fitterer said. “If we continue to keep that as one of the things we focus on during practice and during games we’re going to be a threat to a lot of teams, especially in the Big Ten since we’re so tall.”
MSU has out-blocked its opponents 101 to 67 this season.
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