Big Ten Medal of Honor: Jenilee Rathje, Michigan State Volleyball

Michigan State volleyball player Jenilee Rathje

Jenilee Rathje
Michigan State Volleyball

Jenilee Rathje finished her Spartan volleyball career as one of the most decorated student-athletes in the program’s history. Not only did she excel on the court as the program’s 11th All-American, but she earned Academic All-America honors, graduated with a master’s degree and was heavily involved in the Greater Lansing community.
For her career, the Mt. Pleasant, Mich., native, finished first in Michigan State history in sets played (496) and matches played (142), seventh in block assists (333) and eighth in kills (1,504). In addition to her third-team AVCA All-America honors this past season, Rathje is just the seventh Spartan to earn back-to-back first-team All-Big Ten recognition.

A two-time team captain, Rathje led MSU to a 22-12 record and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009, advancing to the second round. The senior outside hitter paced the team in kills this season with 505 (4.17 per set), which ranked third in the Big Ten and top-25 in the nation. Her kill total was a career high and is the 10th-most in a MSU single-season. She also finished the season third on the team in digs with 257 (2.12 a set) and fifth in blocks with 61 (0.50 a set). She was also picked to the AVCA All-Mideast Region team, becoming the first Spartan since 2007 to be named to the 14-member team.

Rathje was just the third MSU volleyball student-athlete to be named a CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-America this past year, being named to the second team. In addition, she was MSU’s Big Ten Sportsmanship award winner and an Academic All-Big Ten selection.

Rathje, who received her bachelor’s degree in marketing in December 2010, graduated with her master’s degree in kinesiology in May.