Dogs Fall To Pitt In Allstate Sugar Bowl Title Match
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Lainey Wyman and Sarah Nielsen combined for 30 kills and 10 blocks Saturday afternoon but the Volleyball Bulldogs came up short in their bid to win the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic. The Pitt Panthers (8-2) topped the Bulldogs 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 18-25, 25-19) to complete a three-match sweep in the two-day tournament hosted by the Tulane.
State (4-5) went 2-1 for the weekend and took runner-up honors in the tournament, their final tuneup before the start of the 2012 SEC volleyball season this weekend.
"Having Lainey (Wyman) back this weekend helped us to see more of what we're capable of as a team," said head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "But today's match reminded us that we still have a lot of areas in which we need to improve."
Passing and serving woes plagued the Bulldogs much of the match. "When we're at our best, we're serving tough and passing well," she said. When that happens, any of our hitters are capable of getting kills. Today our passing wasn't very good and it defined the match."
Wyman, a 2011 SEC All-Freshman Team selection, registered a match-high 17 kills with four blocks, including a pair of solo blocks, to lead the Bulldogs. The Plainfield, Ill., product also registered State's two service aces. Nielson finished with 13 kills and six block assists. The duo represented State on the all-tournament team.
State hit at a match-best .324 clip in the opening set and fended off three set-point serves before the Panthers nailed down a 25-23 win. State held an 18-17 edge in kills in the opening set, including seven by Nielsen.
State trailed by as many as six in the second frame and rallied to pulled within two at 23-21 before Pitt closed out the set with kills by Jasmine Dittrich and Alexa Campbell.
State committed but one attack error and hit a crisp .316 en route to a 25-18 win. Chanelle Baker delivered four kills as State used an early 5-0 run to take control in a set that featured double digit MSU leads.
The match appeared to be headed to a deciding fifth set when the Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-5 advantage in set four. But a match-high nine attack errors let the Panthers back in the match, and Pitt pulled away from a 17-17 with a match-clinching 8-2 run.
Baker and Taylor Scott finished with nine kills each, with both players hitting double figures in digs with 12 and 14 respectively. State held a 69-63 edge in digs, with Roxanne McVey carding a match-best 25. Five Bulldogs contributed to MSU's 11-8 advantage in total team blocking, led by Nielsen's six.
Monica Wignot came off the bench to lead Pitt with 14 kills while Jessica Boddy chipped in 12.
State opens its 20-match SEC schedule at the Newell-Grissom Building in the upcoming weekend, hosting SEC West rival Auburn Friday (7 p.m.) and Georgia Sunday (1:30 p.m.)