OXFORD, Miss. - With emotions running high on Senior Day, Ole Miss volleyball sent Anna Bair and Maggie Miller out with one final win in the Gillom Center, sweeping in-state rival Mississippi State Sunday afternoon.
The Rebels (11-17, 5-12 SEC) took care of business in the battle for the Magnolia State. Brandon, Mississippi, native Julia Dyess led the way with double-digit kills for the sixth time in her last seven matches, finishing with 15. She was joined by Sasha Ratliff, who tallied 12 kills and six blocks, five of which came in the first set alone. As a team, Ole Miss dominated Mississippi State, outhitting the Bulldogs .263 to .097 and adding in seven service aces on the afternoon.
Trailing 0-7 to start the first set, the Rebels never backed down. Ole Miss slowly began to chip away at the deficit, pulling within striking distance multiple times; however, Mississippi State continued to hold a slight edge. Down 21-16, as the set looked like it was winding down, Dyess and Ratliff had other ideas. The duo sparked a 6-1 run to tie the set at 22, but back-to-back points gave the Bulldogs set point.
Still, Ole Miss refused to go away as Dyess tipped one over the net for a kill, and Nia Washington crushed an overpass to turn the tables. Both teams battled into extra points, with both coaches winning a combined three challenges to extend the set. This time, with Mississippi State facing set point, two massive blocks from Ratliff and a kill from Dyess helped Ole Miss cap off the comeback and erase a seven-point deficit to win the first set 30-28.
The momentum from the first set carried over as Ole Miss looked to leave no doubt. Tied at eight, back-to-back attack errors gave the Rebels some breathing room. They quickly doubled their lead to four at 15-11 going into the media break and continued to dominate the Bulldogs, outscoring them 10-4 the rest of the way. Dyess led the way in the set with six kills on 10 swings and helped Ole Miss outhit the Bulldogs .346 to .026.
Leading two sets to none, the Rebels kept their foot on the gas to run away with the match. Mississippi State jumped out to an early lead, but it was short-lived as Bair and Ratliff started a 4-0 run, and the Rebels never looked back. Playing in Gillom for the final time in their careers, Bair and Miller helped Ole Miss finish off the sweep with five kills and an ace, respectively.
Ole Miss wraps up its regular season on Wednesday, November 22, against Texas A&M in Bryan-College Station, Texas, at 6:30 p.m. CT. Fans can tune in to the match on SECN+.