STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In one of the most dominating performances of the season to date, the Mississippi State Bulldogs (13-6, 3-3 SEC) swept the Georgia Bulldogs (5-11, 0-4 SEC) Sunday afternoon at Newell-Grissom.
The Bulldogs put together a complete effort at The Griss, taking control from start to finish to take down UGA for their third conference win of the season. Georgia was only able to take the lead three times in the match, all coming in the second set. Georgia was able to tie the score at least once in each set, but could never pull away for a win as MSU earned a 25-17, 25-11, 25-18 sweep.
The win snapped an eight-match losing streak to Georgia and also marks the first sweep against UGA since Nov. 16, 1979. The third win in SEC play also eclipses last season's total of two.
"That was a great effort by our team today from start to finish," MSU coach David McFatrich said. "We talk about being aggressive from the get-go and being 'good, good, great' in terms of our progression in a match. Today they were both of those and that's why were able to get the sweep."
State jumped out on Georgia early, 8-3, highlighted by a pair of blocks from Alex Warren, Chelsea Duhs and Emily Howard and a service ace from Amber Gass. UGA would come as close as one the rest of the way, down 12-11, but could not close the gap completely. Warren paced State the rest of the set with four kills and four blocks, leading the Maroon and White to a 25-17 first-set victory.
Georgia responded with a strong start the second set, jumping out in front several times early on. MSU would soar back into the lead and be challenged only one more time in the set, as UGA drew within one at 11-10. State would slam the door shut from there, mounting a 14-1 run, including a stretch of 12-straight points to close out the set.
Warren turned the most impressive performance of the match, bombing three-straight aces during the stretch. The MSU senior earned a total of five in the set, tying her career high, and helping seal a 2-0 MSU lead, 25-11.
The 11 points MSU held Georgia to in the set were the least allowed points in a set against an SEC opponent since holding South Carolina to 11 in 2010.
State closed out the match continuing to dominate UGA thanks to a trio of kills from Howard, Warren and Evie Grace Singleton. MSU went up by as much as eight before the media timeout, leading 15-7 at the break. Georgia would make one last attempt to climb back into the match, reeling off a 7-1 run to cut MSU's lead to 17-16. Despite the run, State would not let the lead slip away, instead pushing ahead to match point, up 24-18. Georgia would call timeout in one last attempt to stay in the contest, but Warren put the nail in the coffin with her seventh ace of the match to give the Bulldogs the set, 25-18, and the match, 3-0.
Warren was the match's top player, leading all players with 10 kills and earning a new career high in aces with seven total. The senior also led MSU with four total blocks.
"Today I feel like that was the most aggressive I have been on the service line all year and it paid off," Warren said.
MSU as a whole dominated the service game, totaling 14 aces, the most since serving up 16 against Arkansas-Little Rock on Aug. 25, 2007. Singleton was one off tying her career high with four on the day, while Gass totaled three for the match.
"Our service game was off the charts today, especially from A-Dubs [Alex Warren]," McFatrich said. "That stretch of three-straight aces in the second set is such a rarity in the sport. It's absolutely impressive the way she played today."
Blossom Sato led all players in assists with 25, her 15th match of at least 25 digs.
Defensively, freshman Torrey Tinney tied for the match high in digs with seven. Along with Warren's team-high four blocks, Howard, Duhs and Jazmyne Johnson each contributed three denials.
Georgia was led by Megan Spencer, who tallied five kills on the day. Kendall Kazor and Sarah Lagler-Clark both had seven assists, while Cassidy Anderson turned in seven digs. Desiree McCray led all players with five blocks.
State will now turn its attention to LSU and Texas A&M, as the Bulldogs hit the road nearing the halfway point of SEC play. MSU will face off with the Tigers on Friday, Oct. 16 (7 p.m. CT) and close out the weekend at TAMU on Sunday, Oct. 18 (1 p.m. CT).