Despite a roller coaster season, the volleyball team is as confident as could be heading into the NCAA Tournament.
“We do know we’re an underdog,” senior libero and team co-captain Kori Moster said. “That’s something we kind of revel in and use to our advantage.”
MSU (18-13 overall , 11-8 Big Ten) is on a five game winning streak and has only lost one set during that streak. Despite the success, they still feel like they’re being slighted.
“We are absolutely an underdog in this tournament,” head coach Cathy George said. “A lot of people didn’t think we had much going for us early in the year.”
MSU was able to right the ship after losing six of seven games right before the final stretch of the season.
“We were one of the last two teams let into this tournament,” Moster said. “We’re also one of the most dangerous teams out there because of the high level of play and physicality that we have.”
MSU has swept their last three games and haven’t lost a set since Nov. 19 against Northwestern.
The attention to detail and the ability to have a short memory has been key for the surging Spartans.
“We know we’re playing better volleyball, and that’s important,” George said. “We’re managing points better and we’re responding quicker to mistakes.”
Garvelink honored again
No player has embodied the growth of the young Spartan team like freshman middle blocker Alyssa Garvelink , who for the second consecutive week won the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award.
“Gaining that confidence has been leading to my success,” Garvelink said.
Garvelink averaged 3.17 kills per set and two blocks last week as the Spartans swept both No. 24 Purdue and Iowa.
“I feel like we’re a more weathered team and ready for the challenge that’s in front of us,” George said. “We’re talented— we were just young and growing.”
MSU will try to carry its momentum into the first round of the tournament as they head west.
The Spartans will take on Loyola Marymount (23-7 overall , 11-7 West Coast Conference ) on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
The game will take place on Stanford University’s campus in Palo Alto, California.