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Mississippi State fall sports roundup: Week of Nov. 15

Catching you up on non-football Bulldogs sports news

MSU’s Julie Darty Dennis coaches Rebecca Walk
Sloane Bush/MSU Athletics

Enjoy this recap of fall Mississippi State University sports updates:

Volleyball: handling the Hogs and perching in polls

Head coach Julie Darty Dennis and the Bulldogs volleyball team set more team records during two matches Saturday and Sunday, sweeping the Arkansas Razorbacks at Fayetteville, Arkansas. MSU set a new team record for season victories on Saturday and extended that record on Sunday to 24 wins. The Bulldogs also extended their Southeastern Conference winning streak to 12 games, and MSU has almost certainly cemented a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs (24-5, 15-2 SEC) won their first match against Arkansas (18-10, 9-8 SEC) since 2010 and secured their first victory against Arkansas in Fayetteville since 2007. The Bulldogs won both weekend matches 3-1.

MSU and Arkansas split the first two Saturday sets 25-20 and 21-25. The Razorbacks surged ahead in the third set to a 19-14 lead, but the insertion of sophomore Francesca McBride into the lineup provided a spark to the Bulldogs and MSU reeled off 11 of the next 12 points to secure the set 25-20.

The fourth and deciding set of the match was a back-and-forth effort early. The Razorbacks once again held a small lead of 14-12 when MSU began streaking. The Bulldogs recorded 10 of the next 12 points to establish a lead they would not relinquish. The final totals showed the Bulldogs taking the match 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 25-18). Senior Gabby Waden had a team-high 17 kills and added six blocks as well. McBride provided five kills on nine attempts in the final two sets.

Sunday’s match started much like Saturday’s, with MSU and Arkansas splitting the first two sets 25-17 and 23-25. The Bulldogs did close out the first set on an 8-1 run. Arkansas built a 24-20 lead in the second set, but MSU fought back to within one point before the Razorbacks claimed the game 25-23.

The third set was a nip-and-tuck affair, with MSU holding a 19-18 late advantage. The Bulldogs notched six of the next seven points to win the set 25-19. This momentum carried through to the deciding fourth set, as MSU quickly dispatched the Razorbacks 25-12. This effort gave the Bulldogs another 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 25-12) match win. Waden once again led the Bulldogs with 12 kills, while McBride contributed 11 kills as well.

The conference winning streak put the Bulldogs into the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll for the first time in school history, registering at No. 24. Dennis has also led MSU to a better conference record in each of the past three years at the helm of Bulldogs volleyball, but the level of improvement from the 2020 campaign to the current season is truly remarkable.

Next up: MSU plays its final regular season match on Friday at 4 p.m. CT, hosting Auburn at the Newell-Grissom Building. The match can be viewed on SEC Network+. There is no SEC championship tournament in volleyball, but the NCAA Division I women’s volleyball tournament selection show will be broadcast on ESPNU on Sunday at 8:30 p.m.

Fairways and Aces

On Nov. 15, MSU signed a talented Canadian prospect to the women’s tennis team. Dharani Niroshan inked a Class of 2022 national letter of intent with the Bulldogs. Niroshan is a three-time champion at the Canadian Nationals, holding a current ITF ranking of 895 and career-best ranking of 616. Niroshan is the No. 34-ranked women’s tennis player in Canada, and she will be arriving at MSU for the fall 2022 season.

Hardwood and Hoops

To follow the winning ways of the MSU men’s basketball team, see Mississippi State men’s basketball tops Morehead State 66-46.

To follow the latest on the MSU women’s basketball team, see Mississippi State women’s basketball to face Bethune-Cookman on Monday.

Hope you enjoyed catching up on these other fall sports. Hail State!