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MSU Volleyball Welcomes Back Alums for Preseason Scrimmage


The Spartan Volleyball program was excited to get past greats back and get the 2010 season going.

The Spartan Volleyball program was excited to get past greats back and get the 2010 season going.

MSU goes five sets against former Spartans.


EAST LANSING, Mich. –Adding a slight twist to the annual Green and White game, the Michigan State volleyball team welcomed back several former Spartans for a MSU vs. MSU Alum scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 21, in Jenison Field House. Participating in the scrimmage was Dana Cooke (’96), Miken Trogdon (’07), Heather McDaniel (’08), Vanessa King (’09) and Mischelle Nelson (’09). Severing as Alum coaches were Lisa Ashton (’00) and Mary Jane Williams (’81).


“It is always great to see the players of the past in East Lansing,” said head coach Cathy George. “This was our first year with this concept, and I think it allowed us to break up practice a bit and experience a little bit of the competitive atmosphere.”


This scrimmage also allowed the public to gain a glimpse of what is to come for the upcoming 2010 season. Junior All-American Kyndra Abron (Livonia, Mich.) led the team in kills with 17. Senior Megan Schatzle (Monroe, Mich.) chipped another 15 kills to the MSU total. Sophomore Amy Dentlinger (Arcadia, Iowa) tallied seven kills for the Green and White.


The Green and White allowed each setter valuable time, rotating with current roster and the Alums, and each recorded double-digit figures. Junior Natalie Emro (Wildwood, Mo.) was tops with 34, while freshman Kristen Kelsay (Wheaton, Ill.) was close behind with 33. Senior Nicole Peter (Ada, Mich.) added another 25 assists.

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The MSU defense was led by senior Allyson Karaba (Muskegon, Mich.) with 16 digs. Junior Becca Zlabis (Wheaton, Ill.) added 15, while red-shirt sophomore Mandi Karaba (Muskegon, Mich.) and junior Carli Weiler (Oak Lawn, Ill.) posted nine and seven digs, respectively.


Red-shirt junior Jenilee Rathje (Mount Pleasant, Mich.) led the team at the net with five blocks. Rathje also added nine kills, as well as two digs and an assist. Both red-shirt freshman Alexis Mathews (Detroit, Mich.) and freshman Kelsey Kuipers (Otsego, Mich.) added a block assist. Mathews contributed five kills to the offense, while Kuipers tallied a kill herself.


“It was really neat to use so many different combinations today," said George. "We saw how each change might change the dynamic of the team. Today really did show me certain things about people, and people playing next to each other. As we continue to mix up the lineup, it was really nice to get a sense of what someone can bring to the table."


The Alums were led upfront by Heather McDaniel with 14 kills with a .355 hitting mark, as well as tallying seven digs. Dana Cooke was a solid contributor defensively with her team-best eight digs. Cooke also recorded eight kills, a block solo and three assists. Assistant coach Mike Gawlik joined the Alums and added 18 kills to the total.


“I always love coming back to Michigan State,” said former Spartan and All-American Dana Cooke. “It was so great to come back today and compete against the current team, get to dust of my shoes and my knee pads and see the level of competition and relive the glory.”


The Spartans open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 27, when they host Bowling Green in the MSU Showcase in Jenison Field House. The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m.