Spartan Volleyball Announces 2006 Schedule

Hondo S. Carpenter

Spartan Volleyball Announces 2006 Schedule
MSU to face six teams from the 2005 NCAA Tournament


EAST LANSING, Mich. -Matches against six teams that competed in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, including five that were ranked in the final poll by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), highlight the 2006 Michigan State volleyball schedule.Â
From the final AVCA poll, the Spartans face No. 5 Penn State, No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 17 Purdue, No. 21 Minnesota, No. 23 Ohio State and Northwestern, who received votes in the final survey. MSU will face non-conference opponents from the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big East, MAC, Mid-Continent, Ohio Valley and the Pac-10.
“Our schedule this fall will be challenging and will show how hard our team has worked throughout the spring and summer training sessions,” second-year head coach Cathy George said. “The beginning of our season features teams we faced a year ago, which gives us a great opportunity to see our progress on the court. We also added teams from different regions of the country, which gives us a better idea of what we need to do as a team to secure a bid to the NCAA Tournament.”
The Spartans open the season at the Ball State Nike/Active Ankle Weekend in Muncie, Ind., against host Ball State, Xavier and first-time opponent IPFW on Aug. 25-26. State returns home to host the University of Miami (Fla.), Eastern Michigan and Villanova in the MSU Invitational on Sept. 1-2. The Green and White conclude the invitational portion of the season at Ohio State on Sept. 8-9 competing in the Buckeye Invitational against Arizona State and Tennessee Tech.Â
State continues non-conference action on its home court against Oakland on Sept. 12 and Toledo on Sept. 16. The Spartans open the 2006 Big Ten season at Jenison Field House against Purdue on Friday, Sept. 22.
Senior libero Nicole Colaluca expects contributions from both a strong veteran class and talented group of incoming freshman:
“Teams in the Big Ten will be very surprised at what we bring to the court this season, we are an entirely different team,” Colaluca said. “We bring back such a strong veteran group and our newcomers will make an immediate impact.”
Junior defensive specialist Miken Trogdon feels confident in the ability of the team on the offensive and defensive sides of the court:
“We bring such a strong team that works extremely well together to the court this year,” Trogdon said. “If we play to our ability as a team and focus on our strengths, we will be able to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Michigan State returns eight letterwinners from last season’s 12-18 squad which finished ninth in the Big Ten regular-season standings with a 5-15 record. Outside hitters Katie Johnson, Ashley Schatzle, Jessica Hohl and Heather McDaniel return to the frontcourt in 2006. Allison Ianni, a transfer from the University of the Pacific and a former Okemos High School standout, joins the Spartan offense in the setter position, while Colaluca and Trogdon are joined by Tracy Bellwood and Melany Rarey in the backcourt. Freshmen Emily Farher, Sarah Harris, Vanessa King, Lisa Naymick, Mischelle Nelson, Whitney Tremain and Katie Vander Meer join the Spartan lineup in the fall.  Â
“As we approach the fall season, we focus on matches one at a time. Our non-conference slate and Big Ten schedule are so strong that every win will be a grueling, hard-fought contest,” George said. “It is our goal to move up in the Big Ten standings and, after an extremely successful spring season, we feel our team will reach that goal in 2006.”
For more information on the Spartan volleyball team, visit the official website of Michigan State athletics at 

Courtesy of the MSU SID


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