STARKVILLE, Miss. - A torrid offensive attack by South Carolina put a damper on Mississippi State's Homecoming Weekend volleyball opener Friday night at Humphrey Coliseum. The Gamecocks (15-7, 3-7 SEC) hit a sizzling .402 and trailed only once in registering an impressive straight-sets win (25-9, 25-15, 25-9) win over the Bulldogs (4-15, 0-10 SEC). It was the 11th consecutive setback for the Bulldogs.
Juliette Thevenin and Darian Dozier combined for 25 kills, matching the Bulldogs' team total for the night with one attack error and a .571 hitting percentage between them.
State wraps up SEC competition for the weekend Sunday hosting SEC West rival Arkansas (15-6, 6-4 SEC) in a 1:30 p.m. "Dig Pink" match in Humphrey Coliseum. Arkansas blanked Kentucky 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 Friday night in Lexington.
Sophomore middle blocker Lainey Wyman had a team-best eight kills for State and with nine digs fell one shy of double-double status. Senior Chanelle Baker registered six kills on a team-leading .263 hitting night. The Bulldog co-captain also paced the Bulldogs on defense with 11 digs, sharing team honors with sophomore libero Alex Scott.
The Gamecocks led State in kills (44-25), digs (60-43) and team blocking (5-1) in the 71-minute match.
Wyman put down a kill to open the match and give the Bulldogs what would be their only lead of the night. USC reeled off the next four points and later used a 9-0 run to take command of the set. Thevenin had three kills and Cara Howley served up three aces during the spree. Wyman and Baker combined for five of MSU's eight kills in the stanza.
The Gamecocks' attack percentage cooled down a bit in the second set but their kills total climbed to 18 in a 25-15 win that gave USC a 2-0 match lead at the break. Thevenin was again deadly with seven kills in 11 error-free attempts. Scott and Baker aided the MSU cause with three kills apiece.
South Carolina quickly doused Bulldog hopes for a comeback, racing to a 6-0 advantage in the third set while holding State to single digits for the second time in the match, 25-9. Dozier took charge offensive for the Gamecocks with six kills on eight error-free swings.
Taylor Scott added four kills, raising her team-leading kills total to 196.