OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss volleyball seniors Lexi Thompson and Kate Gibson get to play at least one more match, as the Rebels defeated Arkansas State 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-21) in the second round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship here Thursday night at the Gillom Athletics Performance Center.
The Rebels will host a familiar opponent in the third round, as Georgia comes to Oxford on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match. The Bulldogs defeated Alabama A&M and UCF by scores of 3-0.
Sophomore Emily Stroup only had five kills through the first two sets and eight after three, but she erupted for 11 of the Rebels 17 kills in set four to finish with a team-high 18 on a .429 clip.
Arkansas State came out firing in set one, hitting .323 to Ole Miss' .094 and won it 25-18 to grab the early momentum.
The Rebels found their groove in the second set and led 15-12 at the media timeout. They went on to win the set 25-20 behind a .333 hitting percentage and 5 kills from Thompson.
Ole Miss kept the pressure on Arkansas State, hitting .344 in set three. The Rebels raced out to a 13-1 lead and never looked back, winning it 25-16 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Arkansas State led 10-6 early in set four, before the Rebels went on a 9-5 run to tie it at 15-15. Tied at 20, the Rebels closed out the set on a 5-1 run for 25-21 and the 3-1 win. Stroup delivered four of her 11 kills in the set in the final run. The Rebels hit .389 in set four.
• Ole Miss improved 19-14 on the season.
• The Rebels now lead the all-time series against Arkansas State 27-18.
• The Rebels set the record for most home wins in a season now with 14.
• Ole Miss became the ninth team in the nation to have two players with 400 kills this season. Emily Stroup has 423 and Kate Gibson has 400.
• As a team, Ole Miss hit .294 and tallied 13 blocks.
• Sophomore outside hitter Emily Stroup posted a team-high 18 kills on a .429 clip and a career-high 6 blocks.
• Sophomore middle blocker Nayo Warnell tallied 10 kills on a .562 clip and added 8 blocks.
• Senior outside hitter Lexi Thompson chipped in 12 kills and 8 digs.
• Senior outside hitter Kate Gibson finished with 8 kills, 10 digs and 2 service aces.
• Freshman middle blocker Bayleigh Scott tallied 6 kills on a .500 clip and 2 blocks.
The Rebels will face Georgia for the third time this season, Sunday at 1 p.m. Ole Miss won the first meeting, 3-2 in Oxford on Oct. 1, and then the Bulldogs claimed a 3-0 win in Athens on Nov. 10.