Volleyball opens B1G second half at #9 Minnesota, Michigan

Story Links EAST LANSING, Michigan — Michigan State Volleyball returns to the field this week, opening the second half of B1G competition with a midweek game on Wednesday, October 26 at #9-ranked Minnesota before the season’s list of rivalry games against Michigan on Sunday. 30 October. The Spartans will wrap up a run of three games in six days when they meet the Golden Gophers at Maturi Pavilion on Wednesday night. Michigan State football isn’t the only team on campus heading to Ann Arbor this weekend, as the volleyball schedule even resembles the Sunday afternoon season series. Over Minnesota Minnesota is 12-6 overall (7-4 at home) and 7-3 in the Big Ten this season. The Golden Gophers are coached by Hugh McCutcheon in his 11th season at the helm. McCutcheon recently announced that this will be his last season in Minneapolis, currently holding a 266-71 collegiate coaching record career. Minnesota ranks ninth in the final NCAA RPI and ninth in the KPI. Taylor Landfair is one of the best hitters in the country with an average of 4.55 kills per set on 0.255 strikes. Landfair has a strong all round game with 43 blocks and 106 digs in the season. Landfair is number 12 nationally in kills per set, number 13 in points per set (5.09) and number 25 in attacks per set (11.48). Melani Shaffmaster handles the setting duties for Minnesota with an average of 10.54 assists per set, second in the Big Ten and number 31 in Division I. Four Golden Gophers have made more than 100 digs this season, led by CC McGraw’s 198 out of 3.05 excavations per set. Carter Booth leads the number 6 blocking team in the country with 66 total at 1.29 blocks per set. Booth’s blocks per set are national number 31 and number 7 in the B1G. Middle blocker Naya Gros is a Michigan state graduate and played four years for the Spartans from 2018-2021. Gros finished her MSU career #6 overall with 464 blocks. Over Michigan, Michigan is 13-7 overall (5-5 at home) and 4-6 in B1G play this season. The Wolverines have lost three in a row as the second half of the conference game kicks off. Michigan is coached by Mark Rosen in his 24th season at Ann Arbor and 31st season as head coach overall. Rosen is 673-330 overall and 464-293 with the Wolverines. Michigan dropped out of the AVCA Top 25 this week, but is still among the teams getting votes, ranking number 33 in the latest NCAA RPI and number 31 in the KPI. Jess Mruzik leads the Wolverine hitters with 3.64 kills per set on .234 hits. Mruzik is seventh in the Big Ten in kills per set, points per set and attack per set. May Pertofsky plays well for the Wolverines averaging 2.14 kills per set for the season but playing 2.46 in B1G to take second on the team. Pertofsky has hit .356 in 10 B1G matches. Maddie Dowd and Scottee Johnson share the setting duties for Michigan, with Dowd leading the team with 6.78 assists per set to Johnson’s 5.52. Jess Robinson hits a DI-leading .480 in the middle for the Wolverines averaging 2.42 kills per set. Robinson has an average of 1.06 blocks per set and has a total of 73 blocks to her name this season. Jacque Boney has placed 1.03 blocks per set with 71 blocks to her name. Hannah Grant leads the team in digs with an average of 4.06 digs per set. Mruzik is second on the team in digs with an average of 2.29 per set. Over the Spartans Michigan State is 10-11 this season with a 1-9 mark in Big Ten play. MSU will be coached by Leah Johnson in her first year with the program. Johnson arrived in East Lansing in February and is in her 12th year as head coach. Over 12 seasons, Johnson has amassed a career record of 194–162. Sophomore Aliyah Moore leads the Spartans with 3.01 points per set and 2.80 kills per set, hitting .169 in her first season with MSU. Moore leads the team with 224 kills. Freshman Maradith O’Gorman is second on the team in kills per set with 2.48 and puts Moore ahead of the team leader in points per set of 3.01 with a score of 0.203. One player on the rise for Michigan State is freshman Selin Aslayan who has pulled four consecutive starts on the outside. Aslayan is hitting .199 this season and has averaged 2.06 kills per set in her last four games. Graduate student Zoe Nunez has been setting the scene for Michigan State since returning to the lineup, averaging 8.07 assists per set with 484 assists this season. Junior Nalani Iosia leads the team in digs with 3.73 per set. Nunez is second on the team with an average of 2.12 per set and has posted double-doubles in each of her last two games. Freshman Nil Okur leads the team this season with 64 blocks in total at 0.90 blocks per set. Okur was strong on the offensive side, hitting .322 for 1.45 kills per set. Fifth-year Rebecka Poljan leads the team with a success rate of .375 at 2.37 kills and .88 blocks per set. Michigan State is 19-60 all-time against the Golden Gophers, with Minnesota winning seven in a row. The Spartans are 7-30 when playing in Minneapolis, last defeating Minnesota on the road on September 24, 2017, in a 3-0 sweep. MSU holds a 54-49-1 series advantage over the Wolverines, but has lost in nine consecutive appearances. The Spartans are 15-27 when they play in Ann Arbor. MSU’s last road win in Michigan came on November 27, 2013, a 3-0 sweep. Up Next Next week, Michigan State will begin a series of four consecutive home games to open the month of November. The Spartans host Alumni Weekend games on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, when the team welcomes No. 12-ranked Purdue and No. 6-ranked Ohio State to East Lansing. Friday’s first service against the Boilermakers is at 6 p.m. and the match will be broadcast nationally on the linear Big Ten Network. Saturday’s game time against Ohio State is TBA.

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