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VBall Bulldogs Drop 3-1 Decision To Kentucky

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Ashley Newsome notched 12 kills.
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STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State got 12-kill performances by Caitlin Rance and Ashley Newsome Friday night but the Bulldogs came up on the short end of a 3-1 SEC volleyball decision to the Kentucky Wildcats. UK (14-11, 8-7 SEC) completed a season series sweep over State (11-14, 3-11 SEC) with the win, prevailing 25-17, 18-25, 25-19 and 25-18.


Rance notched her team-leading ninth double-double with 12 kills and 15 digs while Newsome backed her 12-kill, .296 hitting performance with five kills. Mandy Mellencamp came off the bench and contributed eight kills, her second-highest total of the season, while Chanelle Baker finished with seven.


The Bulldogs continue weekend conference play at the Newell-Grissom Building Sunday hosting Tennessee (20-5, 11-4 SEC) in a 1:30 p.m. CST match.


State’s recent offensive struggles continued in the opening set when the Bulldogs managed but nine kills and hit at a coolish .053 rate. UK, led by Whitney Billings’ six opening set kills, used a 9-2 spree to pull away from a 3-3 deadlock and take a 25-17 win.  State bounced back impressively to knot the match with a 25-18 win. The Bulldogs hit a match-best .361 and rode a six-kill, error-free showing by Rance in the stanza.


But the Wildcats returned from intermission and regained command of the match quickly. UK raced to a 4-0 advantage in the third set and never trailed in registering a 25-19 win and then used an early 7-0 run to gain control of the match-clinching fourth set. Becky Pavan drilled five of her match-high 13 kills to lead UK to the 25-18 win in the fourth stanza.


Kentucky compiled a 53-45 lead in the kills, a got a match-best 21-dig showing by Stephanie Klefot en route to a 77-70 bulge in digs. UK was strong at the net as well, building a 12-10 advantage in total team blocks.  Newsome finished with five blocks and shared match honors with UK’s Christine Hartmann. The Bulldog senior registered three solo blocks to raise her career total to 74 and tie Theresa D’Antoni for second place among State’s career leaders in solo blocks.




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