ORLANDO, Fla. - The Mississippi State volleyball team collected its fourth win of the season as the Bulldogs swept FIU [25-21, 25-23, 25-23] during Saturday's action at the UCF Challenge.
"It was a crazy weekend and there is a lot for us to look back on and be proud of," head coach Julie Darty Dennis said. "The way we finished against FIU is a testament to the mindset shift we talked about. They came in with attitude, played with heart and wanted to be the team that outworked their opponent across the net. I am so proud of the effort and the execution, and we followed a really good game plan. It was a total team win and a very balanced night."
The Bulldogs (4-1) tucked away their fourth win of the 2023 season. Lauren Myrick earned her first all-tournament team nod of the season for her efforts.
Myrick was all over the court and tracked down 14 digs, coupled with five assists and an ace. State's defense held the Panthers to a .206 attacking mark.
"Lauren was amazing for us," Dennis said. "She was named All-Tournament team, and she certainly earned it because she is playing her heart out."
Karli Schmidt led the Bulldogs in kills for the fifth consecutive match. Schmidt produced a career-high 19 kills while adding five digs and two blocks. Caylee Sharkey also came away with a career-high nine kills on a .571 hitting clip and provided three digs and a block.
"Karli was electric offensively; she is putting up crazy numbers right now and giving us an opportunity to score on the outside," Dennis said. "Caylee [Sharkey] and Amina [Shackelford] did a good job on the right side and in those clutch moments."
Amina Shackelford collected six kills, whereas Zoe Gonzales totaled five kills on a .714 hitting percentage and added two blocks and an ace. Sanaa Williams also came away with five kills on a .500 hitting mark.
"Our middles, Sanaa and Zoe, were effective and we chose to set them early and establish them," Dennis said. "They did a good job of getting up and producing points."
Mississippi State setters Alexa Fortin Goede and Emily Oerther passed out a combined 33 assists and 12 digs. Freshman Mary Neal tallied eight digs of her own while producing an ace.
The Bulldogs will travel to Kennesaw, Georgia next week for the Kennesaw State Invitational. State is set to take on Western Michigan on Friday (Sept. 8), the host Kennesaw State on Saturday (Sept. 9) and Wake Forest on Sunday (Sept. 10).