After splitting their two game road trip against Nebraska and Iowa last week, the MSU volleyball team returns home this Wednesday to take on Maryland, where head coach Cathy George will be going for her 200th career victory at MSU.
Nebraska was ranked No. 4 in the country heading into the contest, fresh off a win against Penn State, a perennial championship contender in women’s volleyball. MSU fought valiantly, but fell to the now No. 3 ranked Nebraska 3-1.
Cathy George, in her 11th season as the head coach of the Spartans, said she thought the match was well played for the most part.
“We were in a situation in the end of game three where we didn’t close it out,” George said. “We had opportunities to win that game. We had taken game one and didn’t capitalize where we needed to in game three.”
After a tight match in Lincoln, the Spartans returned home for a couple days before traveling to Iowa City to play the upstart Hawkeyes. The Spartans swept Iowa on their home floor to improve to 11-6 on the year, and recorded their 11th straight win against the Hawkeyes.
“Going to Iowa is never an easy task, they have a coach that has been doing a nice job with their team,” George said. “I don’t know that we played overly well, but I thought we were solid and did what we needed to do and went into that with that approach.”
This week, MSU returns home to battle Maryland and Rutgers, two newcomers in Big Ten volleyball. The Big Ten has been a ferocious conference this year, with eight teams ranked in the USA top 25, and two others, including MSU, receiving votes.
Two teams who are not, however, are Maryland and Rutgers. Both teams have struggled in conference play this year, each sitting at 0-6 in the Big Ten. Maryland is 10-10 overall, and Rutgers sits at 3-15 overall.
“Maryland is a very athletic team, very physical team," George said. "Yet they are trying to find themselves and so they are working really hard and we have to go in there and make sure we are real solid with what we are doing.”
The game against Maryland, which takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Jenison Field House, is MSU’s breast cancer awareness game. All fans in attendance are encouraged to wear pink in support of MSU volleyball and breast cancer awareness.
In addition, George will be looking for her 200th win as head coach of the Spartans. She boasts a record of 199-146 since becoming MSU’s head coach in 2004.
“I didn’t realize that was the case. ... I’m in my 11th season now, this is the start of my 11th season, and it feels like just yesterday I was addressing you guys for the first time,” George said during her press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Time sure does fly. I’ve had a lot of great memories along the way, a lot of great players a lot of great assistant coaches and support staff.”
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