STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State volleyball team won a thrilling five-set match over Auburn on Wednesday night in the Newell-Grissom Building.
State claimed the first 25-17, but the Tigers responded with a 25-16 victory in the second to tie the match up. The Bulldogs answered back with a 25-21 win in the third. Auburn forced a deciding fifth set by winning a tightly-contested 26-24 fourth frame. MSU claimed the match with 15-12 victory in the fifth.
"We came out super strong and it was a back-and-forth match," head coach Julie Darty Dennis said. "Auburn was playing really well, and it felt like it was a game of momentum. I am so proud of how they responded after being down at the switch in the fifth set. It shows me that even though it's late in the season, we're still getting better and working on ourselves. We still have a lot to play for, and it's about pride. We love playing at home in front of our amazing family and friends; we only get to do that one more time this year. I'm just so happy for our team." The Bulldogs improve to 12-13 overall and 5-10 in SEC play, while Auburn, who is receiving votes in the AVCA rankings, moves to 18-8 overall and 8-7 in conference play.
Offensively, Karli Schmidt led the Bulldogs for the second consecutive match. Schmidt cranked 17 kills on the night while collecting four digs. Amina Shackelford added 10 kills to the stat sheet to go along with six digs and a block.
Zoe Gonzales followed behind Shackelford with a season-high nine kills on a .308 hitting clip. Gonzales also added a team-best three blocks on the night.
Sophie Agee tallied seven kills along with Rebecca Walk, who also collected seven kills on a .353 hitting mark. Agee and Walk also each added a block on the night. Caylee Sharkey came away with five kills and three digs.
Libero Lauren spearheaded the back row with 24 digs to go along with six assists and two aces. Defensive specialist Mary Neal garnered 14 digs and an ace against the Tigers.
Bulldog setters Alexa Fortin Goede and Emily Oerther distributed a combined 40 assists and 14 digs. Oerther paced the Bulldogs with 22 assists and added seven digs, while Goede collected 18 assists and seven digs.
The Bulldogs hit the road to Oxford, Mississippi, to face in-state rival Ole Miss on Nov. 19 for the second time this season. First serve is set for 3 p.m. CT and will be aired on SEC Network+.