- Missisippi State def. SMU 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 27-25)
- Mississippi State moves to 1-0; SMU drops to 0-1
- Box Score
In a marathon match that took more than two and a half hours to complete, Mississippi State came out with the five-set win. The teams combined for 13 match-point chances in the final stanza, which ended in a 27-25 score in favor of the Bulldogs.
MSU had the first chance at the match at 14-13, after boasting an early 9-6 advantage, but saw it thwarted by a kill by outside hitter Brittany Adams. A block by setter Kendall Patterson and opposite Katie Hegarty gave SMU its first shot at 15-14. The Mustangs would have five more chances before the Bulldogs had another shot at the match at 21-20. A pair of kills by Sarah Maddox and a block by redshirt freshman middle Liv Benner and senior opposite Jelena Vujcin gave MSU three more chances, last at 24-23. Senior outside Lauren Mills came through with back-t0-back kills to give SMU its final try at 25-24. Vujcin thwarted the effort with a kill, then added an ace to set up the final point, which came on a putaway by junior outside Khristian Carr.
Maddox paced the Bulldogs with 25 kills, while hitting at a .396 clip. Vujcin added 19 kills and nine digs, while Carr pounded down 15 kills to go with her team-best two blocks and two aces. Freshman middle Laura Rose Gray chipped in 10 putaways. Freshman libero Gabby Zgunda pulled up a team-leading 21 digs, while junior setter Morgan Kath (13) and senior Payton Harris (12) also managed double-digit saves. Kath rounded out a double-double with 61 assists.
Mills led the way for SMU with a 22-kill, 13-dig double double, while Hegarty added 21 kills and 12 digs, while hitting at a .348 clip. Redshirt freshman middle Meryn Kennedy registered nine kills, while turning in a team-best .571 hitting performance. Junior middle Kelly Brunstein put up a team-best four blocks, while sophomore libero Montana Watts managed a team-leading 22 digs.
Mississippi State edged SMU 8-6 in aces, 8-7 in blocks and 72-70 in kills, but were outhit .287 to .250. The Mustangs also won the back court with 72 digs to the Bulldogs’ 68.
SMU led Set 1 from start to finish, leading by as many as seven at 17-10 en route to the victory, which was capped by a Julia Dibona ace.
The teams were tied at 15 midway through Set 2 and again at 19-all before MSU pulled away. A kill and a block by Gray helped the Bulldogs to a 22-19 advantage. SMU was within one at 24-23 after thwarting two MSU set point chances, but a service error ended the stanza.
The teams played to an 18-all tie in Set 3, but a 7-3 final run lifted the Bulldogs to the 25-21 win. Karr had the final two kills in the stanza.
SMU kept the match going with a 25-21 victory of its own in Set 4. The teams were knotted at 17 before SMU mounted a 4-1 run to pull away. Kennedy had two kills in the rally. Mississippi State did not go quietly, however, pulling within one at 22-21as Vujcin downed a pair of kills. Putaways by Mills and Adams and an MSU miscue wrapped up the set.
SMU, which went 26-8 including an NCAA Second round appearance, wraps up Day 1 of its own Doubletree Invitational with an 8 p.m. ET match against Rice. Mississippi State gets a two hour break before returning to the court against Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Courtesy: SMU Athletics
The SMU volleyball team ended up on the wrong side of a five-set thriller Friday, losing its season opener to Mississippi State, going down 27-25 in the fifth set. Seniors Lauren Mills and Katie Hegarty each eclipsed 20 kills en route to double-doubles. Hegarty hit .348 with 21 kills and 12 digs, while Mills led the team with 22 kills and had 13 digs.
The Bulldogs held a 12-10 lead in the fifth, but SMU scored the next three points. Back-to-back points by MSU set up the first match-point opportunity. There were 13 match-point serves between the two teams, with Khristian Carr scoring a kill on the Bulldogs sixth chance for the win.
Mississippi State took a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-21 win in the third set. SMU scored three straight with two kills and a block, taking a 13-10 lead, but the Bulldogs answered with a 6-1 run, taking a 16-14 lead. The Mustangs rallied back, taking a 17-16 lead, and led 18-17 before an 8-3 run by the Bulldogs ended the set. Mills and Hegarty each had four kills, and SMU hit .269 in the set, but MSU hit .345 with 14 kills.
The Mustangs forced a fifth set with a 25-21 win in the fourth set. After SMU scored five of the first six points, MSU went on a 6-1 run to take a 7-6 lead. Neither team led by more than one point again until SMU scored two straight for a 19-17 lead. The Bulldogs kept it close, trailing 22-21 before SMU scored three straight for the win. SMU had 17 kills in the set, the most by either team in the match, hitting .316. The Bulldogs had 15 kills, but committed three service aces.
Freshman Julia DiBona served an ace on the first set-point attempt, giving the Mustangs a 25-20 win in the first set. SMU scored the first three points of the match, including an ace by Patterson, and never trailed against the Bulldogs. Hegarty scored four of SMU’s 14 kills in the set, with SMU outhitting MSU .323-.143.
The Bulldogs tied the match, 1-1, with a 25-23 win in the second set. A 3-0 run, featuring a kill and two blocks, broke a 19-19 tie, and Mississippi State was able to hold on at the end. Trailing 24-21, SMU scored back-to-back points, including Patterson’s second ace of the match. The next serve was long, giving the set victory to MSU. Mills led SMU with four kills, but it was the five blocks by the Bulldogs that made the difference.
SMU outhit the Bulldogs, .287-.250, but MSU had more kills, 72-70. The Mustangs had 72 digs, with sophomore Montana Watts accounting for 22 digs. Brittany Adams scored 10kills, and Kendall Patterson finished with 58 assists and eight digs. Kelly Brunstein scored five kills with four of SMU’s seven blocks.
The Mustangs host Rice in Moody Coliseum Friday at 7 p.m. before closing out the SMU DoubleTree Invitational Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Courtesy: Mississippi State Athletics
In a Friday double-header to open the season at the SMU DoubleTree Invitational, the Mississippi State Bulldogs were impressive with two wins.
After rallying to upend SMU 3-2, MSU came back and held on to beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 3-2.
State showed a lot of hustle, grit and confidence during the two games, which ultimately led to the success on the court.
“We had two good wins today against two very good opponents who have been doing really well in their conferences the past two years,” third-year coach David McFatrich said. “Both have won their conference titles and gone to the NCAA tournament. They are both very well-coached teams. There were some adjustments both teams made that we had to adjust to, and our kids made a good job at adjusting to the changes.”
The first game of the season started off against the SMU Mustangs. State had some difficulty with communication in the first set, as the Mustangs won 25-20. McFatrich’s team would then go on to win the next two sets due to a kills battle, scoring 25-23 and 25-21, before losing the fourth game 25-21.
The fifth set proved to be the most challenging for the Bulldogs, as both teams went back and forth the whole match. Neither team was more than three points ahead of the other. Multiple kills by Sara Maddox and Jelena Vujcin helped lead the Bulldogs to victory, winning 27-25.
“The fifth game against SMU in the first match, I don’t remember being in a game like that ever as a player or a coach,” McFatrich said. “27-25 in the fifth game is almost unheard of, and we had several instances where it could have gotten away from us, but our kids kept battling. I think the coolest takeaway is that we stayed together and persevered.”
Maddox completed the game with a total of 25 kills, a .396 attack percentage and 25.0 points. Behind her was Vujcin with 19 kills and 22.5 points. They were the key players in helping the Bulldogs defeat SMU, 3-2.