VB Bulldogs Head To New Orleans For Allstate Sugar Bowl Tourney
State (2-4) takes on Sam Houston State (3-3) Friday at 10 a.m. and tourney-host Tulane (1-5) at 7 p.m. before wrapping up the weekend at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against the Pittsburgh (4-2). The two-day event is being held at the Hertz Center, Tulane's recently-completed basketball and volleyball practice facility.
The defensive-minded Bulldogs enter their third weekend of play eager to snap a four-match losing skid that includes last weekend's setbacks against No. 23 Northern Iowa and No. 5 Southern Cal. State begins the weekend with an SEC-leading average of 18.27 digs per set. State freshman Roxanne McVey (Magnolia, Texas) leads the Bulldogs and the SEC's 12 other volleyball teams in both total (138) and average (6.27) digs. McVey, named to the all-tournament teams of MSU's two earlier tournaments, was honored as the SEC Freshman of the Week after an 88-dig performance in the season-opening Maroon Classic.
On offense, freshman Taylor Scott (Claremont, Calif.) averages 3.59 kills per set (eighth best in the SEC) and leads the youthful MSU squad with 79 kills. All six of MSU's first-year players have seen playing time in the first six matches, with rookies accounting for 26 of MSU's 42 starts.
Veteran rightside hitter Chanelle Baker (Carrollton, Texas), the lone senior on this year's team, enters the weekend with 468 career kills.
Improved play at the net is forecast for the Bulldogs this weekend with the anticipated return of sophomore middle blocker Lainey Wyman (Plainfield, Ill.). The 2011 SEC All-Freshman Team selection is expected to return to the lineup after missing the first two weekends of the campaign.
Mississippi State begins its 30th season of Southeastern Conference competition and a 10-match home SEC schedule next weekend when MSU entertains Auburn (Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.) and Georgia (Sept. 16 at 1:30 p.m.) in the Newell-Grissom Building.