STARKVILLE - The Mississippi State volleyball team cranked out a .327 hitting percentage to roll to a 3-0 sweep [25-23, 25-19, 25-14] over Eastern Kentucky inside the Newell-Grissom Building during Friday's season opener at the StarkVegas Classic.
"They showed great composure and resilience in some tight pressure moments in that first set," head coach Julie Darty Dennis said. "Then I thought we just got into a groove. It was really awesome for us to rely on everybody to do their job. I thought it was a really clean offensive night. For us to hit .327 and have only nine errors is huge. I thought we served super well and we just followed our game plan. I'm really proud of their effort." Alexa Fortin Goede and Emily Oerther ignited the Bulldogs (1-0) to 44 kills. The duo combined for 35 assists as Oerther dished out 21 dimes followed by Goede's 14 assists.
Offensively, Karli Schmidt popped a match-leading 13 kills on a .448 attack percentage. She also secured three blocks and two digs. Sophie Agee followed right behind Schmidt with 12 kills, while also collecting nine digs, three aces and a block.
"Karli [Schmidt] had a phenomenal night," Dennis said. "To go 13 kills with zero errors is insane. She had similar numbers against UAB, and for her to replicate that for a second match in a row is pretty special. Sophie [Agee] had a great night tonight. She was ball-controlling, she was swinging and she was just doing a little bit of everything. When she plays with confidence like that, she's pretty solid." Amina Shackelford provided six kills and three blocks, while Rebecca Walk tallied six kills on nine swings for a .667 hitting clip and notched three blocks.
Defensively, the Bulldogs limited Eastern Kentucky's offense to 39 kills and a .174 hitting percentage. Lauren Myrick fueled the back row with 22 digs. Sanaa Williams led the Bulldogs with seven blocks, while also adding three kills.
"I thought Lauren Myrick was insane," Dennis said. "She anchored our back row and she anchored our serving pass. I don't know the last we had a libero with 22 digs in three sets, so I believe she's becoming a super reliable for our first contact." Mississippi State takes on Northwestern State on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. for the second match of the StarkVegas Classic.
Admission is free to all home volleyball matches with gates opening one hour prior to first serve.