TROY, Ala. -- In their final non-conference match of the season, the Mississippi State volleyball Bulldogs (14-10, 3-7 SEC) took down the Troy Trojans (13-16, 6-8 Sun Belt), 3-1, Monday night at Trojan Arena.
The win was hard-fought for the Bulldogs, as the Trojans kept pace with State throughout a majority of the match, including a 25-18 second set win that would tie up the match. MSU rallied to take the third set and found its groove in the fourth, using a 10-1 run to pull away for good, taking a 3-1 victory (25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21).
MSU has now won six-straight matches against the Trojans. State also finishes the season with an 11-3 record in non-conference play, the most wins since garnering 13 non-conference victories in 2000. The win also puts the Bulldogs three away from guaranteeing their first winning season since 2006.
"We're still not hitting on all cylinders, but there are definitely some positives we can take from this match," MSU coach David McFatrich said. "I thought Shelby Anderton did a good job of coming in those last two sets and running our offense the last two sets. Also very proud of the job Cheyenne Spell did at libero after being out the last three weeks, along with Payton Harris as a DS. That was the best we have passed the ball in a while."
Both sides went back-and-forth early on in the match before a 7-0 MSU run, highlighted by a pair of Jazmyne Johnson kills, pushed the Bulldogs into the lead, 11-6. The Trojans would chip away at State's lead before jumping ahead by two, 16-14. The two squads would trade points until MSU took six of the last eight to take the first set, 25-23.
The Trojans would even the match at 1-all after dominating play in the second set. Troy started the set up 3-0 and would not relinquish its lead from there on out. The home team would push its lead to as much as seven before State attempted a late rally, drawing within three, down 20-17. However, Troy would call a timeout, regroup and push ahead to take the set, 25-18, evening the match at 1-1.
State came out of the intermission looking to take back the momentum, but faced more resistance from the home team. Once again the team traded blows back and forth before Troy pushed ahead by five and looked poised for a 2-1 match lead. Not to be deterred, the Bulldogs would mount a rally behind kills from Evie Grace Singleton, Alex Warren and a block from Singleton and Bali Leffall-Young. Troy would jump back ahead by two, but only for a short time as a Cheyenne Spell ace and Chelsea Duhs kill would put State up for good, pushing the Bulldogs to a 25-23 set win.
Up 2-1, MSU would go into overdrive to pull away and seal the victory. Play was close to start, but a 10-1 run, highlighted by four Singleton kills, put the Maroon and White ahead for good. Troy would attempt a late rally, but it wouldn't be enough, as the Bulldogs put the nail in the coffin with Singleton's 20th kill, taking the fourth set, 25-21, and the match, 3-1.
Evie Grace Singleton was MSU's offensive leader, setting a season high with 20 kills, while adding 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Alex Warren fired off 14 kills, while Chelsea Duhs earned double-digit kills with 10.
Shelby Anderton put together a season-high 34 assists to go along with two blocks and an ace. Blossom Sato earned 13 assists on the night.
State kept its serving prowess going with six total aces to up its season total to 125. Singleton was the match leader with two on the night.
MSU led the blocking game with 10.0 for the match. Bali Leffall-Young was the match leader with six total blocks, while Jazmyne Johnson earned five. Cheyenne Spell led the team in digs with 13, while Payton Harris tallied 11.
Blair Winston topped the Troy attack with 13 kills, while Reina Terry led the team with 39 assists. Ali Dowdall was the match leader with 20 digs, while Winston and Symone Shaw led the Trojans with four total blocks.
The Bulldogs return to action on Friday, Nov. 6 with their third split weekend of the year. State travels to Florida for a 3 p.m. CT, match on Friday before coming home to host Arkansas on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. Both matches will be streamed on SEC Network +.