MSU Bows In Five-Set Thriller To Georgia On The Road
Ga. – A Sunday afternoon matinee at the Ramsey Center turned into an
all out dogfight as the Mississippi State volleyball team (11-11, 2-6)
overcame a 2-0 deficit to force a deciding fifth set against Georgia
(16-7, 6-5). After fedning off a pair of match points, MSU eventually
bowed to the home-standing Bulldogs.
“I could not be more proud
of the way this team fought,” fifth-year MSU coach Jenny Hazelwood
said. “Georgia is not an easy place to play and we fell behind early.
This team never quits though and we’ve shown it all season long. That
toughness will pay off down the stretch.”
Gardiner got things going for the Bulldogs on the afternoon with five
kills in the first set but Georgia overcame an early deficit to win
25-16. The Maroon-clad Bulldogs managed to pull within a point of the
Red-clad Bulldogs several times but never could to tie the set up.
like the opening frame, MSU took the first point of the second only to
have UGA steal the lead back 5-2. Behind the right arm of Gardiner,
State capitalized on a few mid-set opportunities to earn a chance to
tie the set but could not pull it off. MSU cut it to 16-15 after a UGA
timeout, but a 10-2 run did the State in. Georgia claimed the set 25-18.
third set looked to be a sleeper early as Georgia jumped up to a quick
7-2 but MSU wouldn’t go away. After a Hazelwood timeout, MSU stormed
back to tie it at seven after a solo block from freshman Brooke Sassin
but the Bulldogs weren’t done. UGA regained a slight 12-10 lead only to
see the other Bulldogs sprint back with a 7-0 run to take a lead they
wouldn’t give up. State recorded a season-most seven blocks in the
third set alone and won 25-18.
Mississippi State never gave
Georgia a chance in the fourth stanza after taking a quick 7-3 lead.
The Maroon Bulldogs would only widen their lead from there and
eventually claimed a 25-18 victory.
With the match evened up,
the excitement was yet to come. MSU earned the first point of the final
frame off an attack error and the back-and-forth began. The set
remained tied until UGA gained an 11-9 advantage to force a Hazelwood
timeout. Out of the timeout, the Bulldogs recouped the lead and earned
match point at 14-13.
Georgia fended off the match point with a
kill and set up its first clinching opportunity at 15-14, only to have
it foiled by a service error. UGA’s second match point at 16-15 was
thwarted with a Gardiner kill but the red-clad Bulldogs ended it just
three points later at 18-16.
Four MSU players recorded
double-doubles in the match, beginning with Gardiner’s 21 kills and 10
digs. It was her 10th double-double of the season, which ties for the
national lead among NCAA freshmen.
Taylor Scott also recorded
her 10th double-double of the season and 17th of her young career.
State’s duo of setters also contributed a pair of double-doubles.
Suzanne Horner posted 25 assists and 11 digs, while Katlyn Mataya
turned in 23 assists to go along with 14 digs.
Sophomore libero Roxanne McVey notched a match-high 26 digs and six assists, while Dani McCree added eight kills.
The Bulldogs’ middle blockers combined for nine kills and 14 blocks, nine of which belonged to Alex Warren.
Sassin earned her first SEC start and tallied six kills, five digs and five blocks.