Alabama battles past Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Alabama needed just three sets to dispatch Mississippi State Friday night on the road, completing the sweep with set scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-20.
Alabama (19-10, 6-9 SEC) was led offensively in the win over Mississippi State (5-23 1-14 SEC) by junior Ginger Perinar, who tallied 13 kills with a .343 attack percentage in addition to a pair of solo blocks on the defensive end. Sophomore Meghan Neelon was one dig shy of a double-double, finishing with nine digs and 19 assists. Senior Quincey Gary inched closer to second place on the Crimson Tide's career digs list, posting a team-leading 16 Friday to push her career total to 1,425, now 76 shy of former teammate Natalie Murison's mark of 1,501.
The Tide scored four unanswered points to open the first set before an attack error gave the Bulldogs their first point. Alabama continued to surge ahead, holding a nine-point lead at the media timeout, 15-6. A block on the next rally from senior Cidavia Hall and freshman Mylana Byrd made it a double-digit game. With the Tide leading by the same margin later at 18-8, the Bulldogs scored four in a row to trim the deficit to six but took a timeout soon after trailing by seven, 20-13. Mississippi State took its second timeout five points later after a kill from junior Ginger Perinar put Alabama ahead 22-16. The Tide would keep the Bulldogs at arm's length and win the set, 25-19.
Alabama started the second set on a 5-1 run but Mississippi State responded with six-consecutive points to take its first lead of the match, 7-5. The Tide would tie the score twice but could not retake the lead before the media timeout, trailing 15-14. Soon after, a service ace from junior Mahalia Swink put Alabama back in front, 17-16, and Mississippi State took its first team timeout. The Bulldogs spent their second timeout trailing 21-19 and would only score one point in the rest of the set as the Tide won, 25-20, to take a 2-0 match lead.
Mississippi State scored the first point of the third frame but three-straight from Alabama quickly erased the home team's brief lead. The Bulldogs tied it at 3-3 but the Tide otherwise remained ahead, leading 15-12 at the media timeout. Mississippi State would draw within a point three times but could not tie it, ultimately taking a timeout after a big block from Hall and Swink gave Alabama a 20-17 lead. The Tide held on to win the set, 25-20, and complete the sweep.
Alabama concludes its weekend Sunday, Nov. 18 in Oxford, Miss., facing Ole Miss at 3 p.m. CT.