Bulldogs Bow To Auburn In Friday SEC Opener At Newell-Grissom
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Auburn spoiled Mississippi State's SEC sendoff party Friday night at the Newell-Grissom Building, and did so in impressive fashion. The Tigers (10-1, 1-0 SEC) never trailed in the first two sets and stayed on top for much of the third frame in a straight-sets win (25-20, 25-16, 25-19) over the Bulldogs (4-6, 0-1 SEC) in the SEC season-opener for both teams.
State was unable to got into a rhythm on offense, thanks in part to an impressive showing at the net by the Tigers. Auburn players combined for 21 total blocks and the Tigers amassed an 11-5 advantage in total team blocking.
But Sarah Bullock backed a match-leading 10-kill effort with 21 digs and Camila Jeronsky had nine kills and a match-best six blocks on a solid .471 hitting night. Seven of Jeronsky's kills came during a tone-setting opening set that saw the Tigers jump out to a 7-3 advantage and then successfully fend off MSU challenges that trimmed the AU lead to two points on three occasions.
Baker and Wyman put down four kills each in the second frame. But Auburn out-hit State .289 to .056 and piled up 12 blocks in cruising to a 25-16 win and a 2-0 match lead at the break.
State finally warmed up in the third set, hitting at a match-best .195 and hanging close to the visiting Tigers through much of the stanza. Lainey Wyman delivered a kill that put State up 3-2, Katie Enright capped a 5-0 Bulldog run with a service ace that put MSU on top 11-10 and Taylor Scott used one of her four kills in the set to put MSU up 12-11. The Bulldogs' third lead of the set and of the match would be their last, however, as Auburn answered with a 5-1 spree and never looked back in claiming the league opener for both teams.
An enthusiastic Residence Hall Night gathering of 603 watched the action. It ranks the seventh-largest volleyball crowd at the Newell-Grissom Building.
Auburn held the upper hand in kills (41-32), digs (64-61) and team blocking (11-5) in notching its 10th win in 11 matches this season. State's best showing came on defense, with freshman Roxanne McVey notching 17 digs. Junior setter Paris Perret recorded her third double-double of campaign, backing her 28 assists with 12 digs. Taylor Scott, one of four Bulldog freshmen in the starting lineup, had 10 digs to go with her six kills. Wyman, in her first home competition of the campaign, paced MSU at the net with three blocks.
Freshman Taylor Hackemack drew her first start of the campaign, notching a kill and a pair of blocks, while Baker, with eight kills, eclipsed the 500-kill milestone for a career, now with 505.
MSU continues its SEC season-opening weekend play at home Sunday afternoon hosting Georgia (6-4, 0-1 SEC) in a 1:30 p.m. match. UGA also dropped a straight-sets match in its SEC season-opener Friday night, bowing at unbeaten South Carolina (24-26, 18-25, 19-25).