Cathy George is in her 13th season at the helm of the current No. 8 volleyball team and has led them to nine NCAA Tournament appearances including three trips to the Sweet 16.
George earned her 600th career win earlier this year, but now, she’s the winningest coach in MSU volleyball history after the Spartans swept Northwestern Saturday night, 3-0, giving her win No. 251 as the head coach of MSU volleyball.
“It’s great to be a part of a program and to watch it grow from year-to-year, and to see all the people you’ve met along the way,” George said. “Just watching these teams develop, but then getting so many of them back to visit all the time at the games, it really is pretty awesome.”
George said the team wasn’t obviously racing to her MSU career win No. 251, but a lot of work from her teams and support staff is what helped her get there.
“It’s not me, there’s a lot of coaches that can coach, it’s the people that get involved in supporting that and making that happened,” George said. “There’s so much in terms of the support that you get from administration, event staff, athletic trainers, communications people, from everybody, that really does makes a program go. It’s not easy. It’s not.”
Outside hitter Alyssa Garvelink, who had 16 kills and a 57.4 kill percent against Illinois and Northwestern this past weekend, said it’s really special this team got to be a part of it.
“She cares more about us as people than volleyball players, which I think is the most important thing,” Garvelink said. “We’re all just super happy for her because she’s so passionate about the game.”
That passion George carries fueled her team to not only sweep the Wildcats on Saturday night, but also sweep the Illinois Fighting Illini Friday night, 3-0. The two wins improved the Spartans to 19-6 on the season and 12-4 in Big Ten play.
Garvelink said the team's serving against Illinois got the Illini out of system a lot and thought her squad was a little more sloppy.
“I think we didn’t really put the pressure on (Northwestern),” Garvelink said. “I think we ultimately closed out and got the win, so that’s all that matters.”
The Spartans will next travel to Ann Arbor to face off against the 17-11 Michigan Wolverines this Wednesday at 7 p.m. MSU beat its in-state rival earlier this season in East Lansing on Oct. 18, 3-1.
After traveling to Ann Arbor, the Spartans will return to campus for their final home game of the season on Nov. 18 against the 12-16 Indiana Hoosiers, who are on a seven-game losing streak. The start time for Senior Day is yet to be announced.
Garvelink said the biggest thing to improve on in these final games is making sure to start the game of strong.
“We were a little slow in the beginning of those games,” Garvelink said. “Just starting off strong and being really relaxed on both offense and defense.”
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