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Bulldogs come back to defeat Rebels 3-2

2573 days ago
Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE, Miss. - On this Wednesday night, Mississippi State was down, but never out. In historic fashion, the Bulldogs (13-17, 5-11 SEC) came back from a 2-0 hole to beat in-state rival Ole Miss (15-13, 4-11 SEC) in five sets (9-25, 18-25, 25-18, 25-17, 15-8) at Newell-Grissom.

The win was MSU's first from down 2-0 since storming back to defeat Eastern Michigan in five on Sept. 12, 2009. The win also gave the Dogs their third-straight win against the Rebels, the longest winning streak against their foes from Oxford since winning six-straight from 2004-06.

"That was an unreal performance by this team," MSU coach David McFatrich said. "In all my years of coaching, I have never been a part of a match like that and it was just amazing. The fight in these girls is unreal and they showed what Bulldog Volleyball is all about. Never giving up and fighting to the very end."

"And also cannot say enough but our fans and the atmosphere they brought, even through the rough first two sets. We are really blessed with an amazing family here at Mississippi State."

MSU continued its success at The Griss with the win, moving their season total to 10 home victories. That ties 2006 and 2015 for the most home victories in a season. The total also marks the first back-to-back 10 win home seasons in school history.

However, achieving that 10th win was not an easy task. Ole Miss jumped out early and didn't look back in the first set, using stifling defense to take the opening frame, 25-9.

Despite more competitive play, MSU went to the locker room down 2-0 following a 25-18 set. Freshman Emily Hill led the Bulldogs offense before the break with four of her game-high 18 kills.

Then the comeback started.

The third set saw the State side come alive. Evie Grace Singleton had 6 kills, adding to Hill's 7, giving MSU a 25-18 set win to forced a fourth set.

In that fourth set, the tides started to turn for good. Riding the wave of Jelena Vujcin, who had 4 kills in the set, the Bulldogs turned on the heat and dominated their in-state foes. Freshman Riley Duzenack landed back-to-back aces to help fuel the fire and propel the Maroon and White to a 25-17 victory, forcing one final frame to determine the winner.

After going down 2-1, the Bulldogs put it in gear and jumped out in front for good. MSU's 10-4 lead in the fifth set grabbed a strangle hold on the decisive frame. Vujcin continued to own the net while bringing energy to every point, as the junior had 3 kills to go along with 3 blocks, leading the Bulldogs to a statement win, 15-8.

Helping propel State's offensive efforts was setter Blossom Sato, whose 47 assists led all players. Four Bulldogs tallied double-digit digs, led by 17 from libero Cheyenne Spell. State was paced by Vujcin (5 blocks) and seniors Bali Leffall-Young (4) and Jazmyne Johnson (3) on the defensive side of the net.

The Dogs will now welcome Arkansas to The Griss on Sunday, Nov. 20. First serve is set for 3 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on SEC Network +.