Volleyball to play Big Ten newcomers Maryland and Rutgers this weekend
The volleyball team might be able to string together a win streak, which has eluded them in the conference portion of the schedule thus far.
MSU (10-7 overall, 3-3 Big Ten) heads to the East Coast to take on Big Ten newcomers Maryland (7-10 overall, 0-6 Big Ten) and Rutgers (7-12 overall, 0-6 Big Ten).
Maryland and Rutgers have struggled to adjust to conference play as both still search for their first Big Ten win. Rutgers also has not won a set in conference play.
The Spartans were able to take care of business last Saturday against another team trying to win their first conference game, defeating Iowa (8-9 overall, 0-6 Big Ten) in straight sets.
“I thought we had more distribution in the setting side, more hitters were stepping up,” head coach Cathy George said. “That’s what we’re looking to do ... getting a little more balance in our offense.”
It will be a feeling-out process for MSU, who has not faced Maryland since 2003 and has not played Rutgers since 2000. The Spartans won both of those games.
“I don’t know much about them,” freshman outside hitter Holly Toliver said. “I’m excited to see how this game is going to turn out.”
Even the veterans on the team are excited to check out the newest additions to the conference.
“It’ll be cool to see a different campus,” senior outside hitter Taylor Galloway said. “I’ve never been to either state.”
Disregarding the unfamiliarity, George wants her team to clean up some things on their end.
“One of the focus points for us is really improving our side of the court,” George said. “Taking away some of the unforced errors we’ve been giving.”
Players to watch
For the Terrapins, junior outside hitter Emily Fraik led the charge against No. 5 Wisconsin with 10 kills while senior outside hitter Ashleigh Crutcher, who leads Maryland in kills, missed the game.
Freshman outside hitter Meme Fletcher does it all for Rutgers. Offensively she leads the Scarlet Knights in kills and defensively she leads her team in digs.
In the latest version of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball RPI Rankings, MSU came in at No. 35, which is good for eighth best in the conference.
Maryland is ranked No. 114 and Rutgers is ranked No. 128.