Volleyball: Turning the Tide, taming the Tigers and setting records
The Bulldogs volleyball team posted wins and set records during an impressive week. On Wednesday, State swept Alabama 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-19) and moved back into sole possession of second place in the Southeastern Conference standings. During that match, senior captain Gabby Waden became just the 11th Bulldog in history to reach 1,000 career kills by notching a match-leading 11 kills.
Mizzou provided stiffer competition on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s match in Columbia, Missouri, proved to be a back-and-forth affair, with State clinching the match 3-(22-25, 25-17, 25-15, 19-25, 16-14). The Tigers took an early lead by claiming the first set, but the Bulldogs fought back to win the second and third sets. Mizzou showed heart to claim the fourth set, but the Bulldogs would not be denied in decisive set five.
Waden provided a timely stuff with the score tied at 13-13, and the Bulldogs held on to that momentum to clinch the match. This win enabled the Bulldogs to claim their 10th SEC victory, a program high for a single season. This victory was also the 100th in Julie Darty Dennis’ head coaching career.
Sunday’s match at Mizzou again saw a split of the first two sets, but the Bulldogs prevailed in both sets three and four to clinch the match from the Tigers with a 3-1 victory (25-16, 25-27, 25-15, 25-23). The Bulldogs (20-5, 11-2 SEC) have pulled within a half match of SEC standings leader Kentucky, and MSU extended its conference winning streak to eight straight matches. These Bulldogs received their first votes for the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 this week.
Two MSU players notched conference recognition this week. Sophomore middle blocker Rebecca Walk notched a career-high 14 kills on 18 swings over the weekend, earning double accolades as SEC co-offensive player of the week and SEC player of the week. Senior setter Gabby Coulter pulled in MSU’s first-ever SEC setter of the week award by serving three aces and conducting the team to 14.33 kills per set during the 3-0 week.
Next up: MSU volleyball hosts the No. 24 Tennessee in Starkville on Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm CT.
Hardwood and Hoops
The MSU women’s basketball team hosted Mississippi College last Monday for the team’s sole exhibition game this preseason, and MSU prevailed by doubling up the Choctaws 94-47. MSU built a 50-17 lead by halftime and never looked back. Rickea Jackson led all scorers with 22 points in just 17 minutes.
Next up: The women’s basketball team and interim head coach Doug Novak will host the Alabama State Hornets in nonconference play on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT at Humphrey Coliseum.
For the men’s basketball team, head coach Ben Howland and the Bulldogs will host the University of North Alabama Lions in nonconference play on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT at the Hump.
Both midweek basketball games will be available on SEC Network+.
The Country Club Circuit: Fairways and Aces
MSU men’s tennis finished strong in the fall season at the Georgia Tech Invitational this weekend. The Bulldogs’ 27th-ranked Florian Broska took the singles championship, boasting a 3-0 singles record over competitors from Ole Miss and Georgia Tech. The doubles pairing of Broska and Gregor Ramskogler also went 2-1 for the weekend. On Sunday’s Day 3 of the invitational, MSU posted a 4-2 singles record and 2-1 doubles record.
Next up: The men’s tennis team will host Tennessee Tech on Jan. 14, 2022.
The MSU women’s tennis team hosted and dominated the inaugural John Cade Invitational this weekend in Starkville, pitting competitors from Xavier, Ole Miss, Louisville, Memphis, Denver, Georgia Tech and MSU against each other. Two rounds of doubles and one round of singles were played Friday, one round each of doubles and singles were played Saturday and Sunday saw one round of singles scheduled to complete the weekend’s action.
The Bulldog netters set the tone with a perfect 12-0 record on Friday, sweeping both rounds of doubles and all singles matches. Saturday also started with a bang, with the Bulldogs again sweeping the three doubles matches and posting a 4-2 record in singles. Sunday’s singles matches brought the team back to Earth a bit, with the Bulldogs splitting their six matches 3-3. Total for the weekend: 9-0 in doubles and 13-5 in singles, marking a fine closeout to the fall tennis season.
Hope you enjoyed catching up on these other fall sports. Hail State!