A new head coach is in the fold for Mississippi State in Julie Darty, who comes to the program out of Jacksonville. That’s not new though, but what is is that Darty is bringing a trio of her players from last season with her to the Bulldogs for 2018.
The three newcomers out of Jacksonville heading to Mississippi State are middle blocker Amarrah Cooks, setter Alleah Stamatis and defensive specialist/libero Kendall Murr.
A 5’10” native of Columbia, South Carolina, Cooks will be a junior in 2018 with two years left of play. After appearing in 21 of the team’s 28 matches, Cooks progressed to an all-conference player as a sophomore in 2017 when she was named to the second-team All-Atlantic Sun. Her season saw her notch 2.27 kills per set on a .306 hitting percentage and 0.81 blocks per set.
Joining Cooks is her former setter in Stamatis, who stands at 5’10” and comes from Lexington, Kentucky. Just like her teammate, Stamatis was a second-team All-Atlantic Sun selection as a true sophomore – making her a junior in the fall of 2018. In 2017 she totaled 9.52 assists per set and 2.02 digs per set.
Rounding out the three is Murr, a 5’8″ native of Yorktown, Indiana. She spent just one season at her previous stop and will be a sophomore in the fall. Murr was another awarded athlete at Jacksonville too, as she was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team following her year of logging 219 digs (2.31 per set) and 10 aces.
Mississippi State is coming off of a 10-23 season in which they went just 1-17 in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). They’ll look for the additions to spark a turnaround and bring some of the successes they had at Jacksonville.
But… isn’t that what McFatrich did when he came in from Central Arkansas? Maybe not three, but he brought one of his UCA players to MSU. This seems to be part of Mississippi State’s “recruiting” strategy — when previous coach can’t turn around the program in just a few years, replace him with someone who will bring players with him (or in this case, her).
I wish the new coach luck, but it’s just hard to see that MSU has any real plans for improving its volleyball program. At the rate it’s going, it may end up in the same state as Vanderbilt’s volleyball program (and I don’t mean Tennessee).