The MSU volleyball team will conclude their non-conference season when they host the Spartan Classic Tournament, Sept. 16-17, at Jenison Field House. The Spartans are scheduled to play the University of Notre Dame, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and DePaul University.
MSU was able to go a perfect and upset a then-No. 23 ranked Western Kentucky University on their home court. The Spartans are now 8-1 on the season and boast a No. 22 national ranking.
Looking back to last weekend, head coach Cathy George said she was impressed with the way her team played. But as the non-conference schedule slowly dwindles, she also realizes there needs to be a little more work done in preparation for conference play.
“You have one week left before you head into the Big Ten season,” George said. “I think all the teams in the Big Ten are getting ready for what’s to come. We’re trying to work to find the best combinations and the things that score for you. So you’re looking to get those percentages up higher and to work on parts of your game that need to be shored up.”
In the Spartans’ five-set victory over Western Kentucky, George said she was able to rely on key role players off her bench in a winning effort.
“We were able to go (last) weekend to quite a few players,” George said. “They all responded, which was really great. We saw three different people come in off the bench and contribute immediately.”
Captain Chloe Reinig said that the last tournament was good for the team, especially coming off a the previous week. The mindset of the team was different and that could be seen in other places, Reinig said.
“I think we bounced back really well (from the loss to Florida),” Reinig said. “We came into the next week of practice just hungry to get better because we knew that we had to. We still have a lot of work to do but I definitely think that we bounced back really well.”
As for being No. 22 and ranked for the first time this season, Reinig said her and the team were excited to be there.
“It’s really great (being in the top 25), we found out after practice and we were all super excited in the training room,” Reinig said. “It’s kind of one thing to be the underdog and not be in there and be like, ‘hey we need to be in there.’ Now that we are we feel like we belong and we feel like we can push even further into it.”
The MSU volleyball team will face Notre Dame the same weekend as the football team. Knowing that, Reinig said she felt like there was definitely a competitive factor going into the invitational.
“It’s cool to see that MSU can come together as a whole against Notre Dame,” Reinig said. “I think that we talked to a few football players and we said, ‘hey, let’s make it a clean sweep weekend for both of us.’ It’s just fun to see the whole athletic club just come together for that.”
None of the opposing teams participating in the Spartan Classic are ranked in the top 25, which sets up a favorable matchup for the No. 22 Spartans. George, however, wants to make sure that her team is ready for the weekend against the team on the other side of the court.
“We have great competition in this weekend,” she said. “I think all three teams are challenging and have their own unique flair. You have to go back from one team to another within a very short amount of time and use the scouting report and see how they put that into play quickly.”
The Spartans are scheduled to face to face Notre Dame at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16. They will wrap up the weekend with two games on Sept. 17, 11:30 a.m. against Maryland Eastern Shore and again at 6 p.m. vs. DePaul.