STARKVILLE - Mississippi State's volleyball team continued to put its offensive efficiency on full display with a .344 hitting percentage as the Bulldogs captured a sweep over Northwestern State [25-11, 25-14, 25-20] to open Saturday's StarkVegas Classic action at the Newell-Grissom Building.
"Another great offensive night with us hitting .344 as a team," head coach Julie Darty Dennis said. "I think our setters are doing a great job finding the right people at the right time. Karli [Schmidt] had a great night, and Zoe [Gonzales] played super well tonight as well. I think it was a good team win. We talk about out-teaming and out-working people, and we were doing all those things. It seems like they're on a relentless pursuit of working hard and seeing what happens when we work that hard."
Mississippi State (2-0) annihilated 46 kills, sprawled out for 44 digs and collected nine blocks to fuel the sweep.
State's setting tandem of Alexa Fortin Goede and Emily Oerther divvied up 35 assists and combined for eight digs.
Once again, Karli Schmidt popped a match-leading 12 kills on a .370 attach percentage, while Zoe Gonzales and Amina Shackelford each secured eight kills.
Sophie Agee and Sanaa Williams each tallied six kills, with Agee collecting eight digs and three blocks and Williams adding four digs and two blocks.
Freshman Arissa Smith saw her first debut as a Bulldog in the third set, where she collected three kills with zero errors.
Defensively, the Bulldogs limited Northwestern State's offense to 22 kills and a .056 hitting percentage. Lauren Myrick stabilized the back row with 15 digs, four assists and four aces. Freshman Mary Neal sprawled out for a career-high seven digs while issuing an ace.
"Lauren just anchors our backcourt," Dennis said. "She is exactly where she needs to be when we need her to be there. Our team trusts her; she's just super reliable and she's going to put her body on the floor to get a dig."
Mississippi State finishes up opening weekend and the StarkVegas Classic on Sunday versus Louisiana. First serve is slated for 1 p.m. CT. The match will be streamed online via SEC Network+ and the Watch ESPN app.
"Our fans have been unreal all weekend," Dennis said. "We could not do this without them, so I just hope that on day three of the Starkvegas Classic our faithful fans will come out and help us get over the hump. This Louisiana team is really fast, really athletic, and really talented. It's going to take every single one of our fans and our family to help us win. They've been incredible and I know they're going to be incredible every step of the way this season."
Admission is free to all home volleyball matches and gates will open one hour prior to first serve.