MS State opens conference play with win over UGA
STARKVILLE - The Mississippi State volleyball team opened its SEC slate with a four-set victory over Georgia in Newell-Grissom on Wednesday night.
State (8-3, 1-0 SEC) took the first set 25-14 before the Georgia Bulldogs (9-3, 0-1 SEC) answered back in the second set with a 25-20 victory. MSU followed that up with a 25-15 triumph in the third set and closed out the match with a 25-15 victory in the final set.
"The theme for today was to figure out who we are," head coach Julie Darty Dennis said. "I thought it was a great opportunity to start SEC play by figuring out that identity and setting the tone on our home court. We upped the service pressure that we talked about all week in practice. We had to serve tougher and win the serving pass game for us to really be the Mississippi State team that we want to be. I am really proud about our first contact, it was great. Overall, they seemed confident, loose, and they were having fun."
State's offense was led by a 15-kill performance from Lauren Myrick, who also added eight digs on the night. Shania Cromartie pitched in a 13-kill effort in the four-setter, coupled with six digs.
Gabby Waden notched 11 kills of her own on a .455 hitting percentage, while adding three blocks and four digs.
Sania Petties and Deja Robinson added five kills apiece on the night. MSU recorded 10.0 blocks, led by a five-block effort from Robinson. Myrick and Cromartie added a block in the victory as well.
Gabby Coulter posted her sixth double-double of the year, recording 44 assists and 14 digs. Coulter also added a season-high five kills.
Lilly Gunter paced the backcourt defense with 12 digs, while adding two service aces.
As a team, the Maroon and White registered 54 kills, 52 assists and 51 digs. MSU held Georgia to a .199 hitting percentage on the night.
"We have the best fans in the country and we certainly felt their energy," Dennis said. "We needed their help after that second set. When we play hard, it's pretty fun. It was fun to watch them get after it. I am really proud of the Dawgs. A good Dawgs win tonight. It's fun to start SEC play 1-0."
Mississippi State heads to Auburn, Ala. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 to take on the Auburn Tigers. First serve is set for 7 p.m. CT.