Spartan Women’s Club Volleyball Team wins 2nd National Championship in last 3 years

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By Jim Silsby

Women's Club Volleyball Coach 

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The Michigan State University Women’s Club Volleyball Team traveled to Dallas, TX for the NCCS (National Collegiate Championship Series) Volleyball Championships April 9 thru 11th. The Spartan’s sent 2 teams to compete in 2 divisions. And the ladies brought home their second national championship in the last 3 years, (last year they had a 3rd place finish). The club competed in the Division 1 championships and the Division III championships. (Each school is only allowed to enter 1 team in each division.)Â

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The Women’s “White” team started their championship run out on Thursday with 2 hard fought 3 game battles with Texas A&M, who was the #1 overall seed, (MSU was the #3 seed) and UC Santa Barbara. The ladies lost in a back and forth match in game 3 to Texas A&M 26-24, 23-25 and 12-15. They then came back with a 3 game win 25-27, 25-22 and 15-9 vs UCSB. For their last match on Thursday they defeated the University of Wisconsin Madison easily in 2 games 25-18 and 25-14. This secured for them 1st place in their Thursday pool.Â

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The ladies came back Friday with another tough pool. Playing Grand Valley State University and UC Davis. The Spartan ladies defeated GVSU 25-20, 23-25 and 15-4. They then went on to defeat UC Davis 25-20, 9-25 and 15-9. Securing for them a first round bye and the #1 overall seed in bracket play on Saturday.

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The Spartan ladies started Saturday off with an easy semi-final win over Baylor 25-12, 25-21. They then faced an old foe and rival in the finals in GVSU. To get their second national championship they would have to beat a very motivated team who they had beaten the day before. The final was everything it was billed as both teams went back and forth and battled each other for the first two games. With MSU winning game 1, 25-17 and GVSU coming back to win a tight game 2, 23-25. But the Spartan ladies living up to their namesake came out and took it to GVSU in game 3, 15-4 for the National Championship! As Kristen Lazzell described the final point, “I would have to say that the best part was probably when we were up 14 to 4 in the third game and basically knew that we had the game in the bag. We were all basically freaking out at that point, whenGVSU sent a ball back over the net and Mary jumped up and just completely slammed it right back in the corner where no one was. It was freakin awesome and then all of the teams rushed the court. I would definately say that was my favorite part.”  

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One of the most amazing occurrences at the NCCS championships and anywhere the Spartan ladies play is the school spirit and club unity that is on display. As Carissa Jenkins said, "When I think of nationals, I think of team spirit. It is a great feeling
to be out on the court and look over to see the other Michigan State teams
cheering for you. Nationals is the first time all of the four teams are
playing in the same tournament, so we all attend one another's games and
cheer as loud as we can." Lindsay Wilson adds, “And just having all the teams there for the finals when we won and everyone started singing the fight song, most definitely a moment I will never forget.”
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So congratulations to the Spartan ladies, Laura Rybicki, Justine Tupirit, Caroline Slater,
Lindsay Wilson, Mary Balog, Lauren Peterson, Kristen Lazzell, Jenna Kuhn and Carissa Jenkins.
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And Congratulations to Laura Rybicki for being named the Tournament MVP and to Kristen Lazzell and Lauren Peterson for being named to the all tournament first team.

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The Spartan ladies who competed in the Division I championships battled the flu and their opponents and wound up finishing 9th out of 40 teams. Congratulations to Stephanie Arseneau for her all tournament team honorable mention. And thank you to our Seniors for all their leadership and drive to push the club to new heights, Katie O’Neill, Rachael Broker, Ashley Hudson and Stephanie Arseneau.  The Spartan “Green” team is composed of Sam Aliah,, Stephanie Arseneau, Rachael Broker, Grace Brockheimer, Shannon Grubich, Ashley Hudson, Kristen Lowe, Katie O’Neill, Stephanie Rice and Laura Vielbig.