Bulldogs Bow To Ranked Foes Northern Iowa, USC
Freshman middle Sarah Nielsen represented Mississippi State on the all-tournament team announced following Saturday night's finale. It was the second all-tournament team selection in as many weekends for the Cypress, Texas, product. Nielsen finished the USC tournament with
In the opener, the NIU Panthers claimed 25-20 wins in the first and third sets and erased a 23-21 MSU advantage with a 5-1 run in winning the second set 26-24.
Freshman Taylor Scott, one of four rookies (including the libero) in MSU's starting lineup, paced State with 12 kills. It was the fifth double-figure kills total in as many matches for the Claremont, Calif., native.
The Panthers had four more attack errors than the Bulldogs, but built up a 53-29 edge in kills. UNI also held the upper hand on defense with a 50-42 advantage in digs and a 7-4 edge in total team blocking.
Scott's fourth and final kill of the second period put State ahead 24-23 and a point away from evening the match at the break. But UNI reeled off the final three points, two on kills by Shelby Kintzel and Krista DeGeest, to end the set.
Both offenses warmed up in the final stanza, with State delivering 13 kills and hitting a match-best .211. Junior Dani McCree came off the bench in the third set to make her season debut, giving the Bulldogs a spark with four of those kills and a solo block. McCree, from Rialto, Calif., helped draw the Bulldogs to within three points at 16-13 with her third kill of the set. But the Panthers then ran off four straight points and cruised on to a match-clinching 25-20 win.
SEC Freshman of the Week notched her second 19-dig performance of the weekend to pace MSU on defense.
DeGeest had a match-high 15 kills while Megan Lehman added 12 and Kintszel chipped in 10 with a match-high four blocks.
Precision hitting propelled USC to its tourney-clinching win. The Trojans had but one attack error in each of the first two sets and hit a sizzling .472 for the match.
The Bulldogs scored the first point of the match on a USC double hit call. It would, however, be the only lead of the night for MSU, as USC cruised to 25-13, 25-10, 25-12 wins.
Samantha Bricio took match honors with 11 kills while tourney MVP Katie Fuller added 10.
The Bulldogs (2-4) continue their non-conference tournament schedule next weekend in New Orleans, La., joining Pittsburgh (4-2), Sam Houston State (3-4) and Tulane (1-5), the host for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic.