Bulldogs Drop 3-1 Decision To Georgia
STARKVILLE, Miss. - A trio of Mississippi State Bulldogs reached double figures in kills Sunday afternoon, but it was the visiting Georgia Bulldogs that prevailed 3-1 (24-26, 25-13, 25-20, 25-23) in an SEC volleyball match at the Newell-Grissom Building.
Back-to-back kills by Paris Perret and Sara Nielsen lifted State (4-7, 0-2 SEC) to a 26-24 opening set victory. But Georgia thundered back to even the match with 25-13 win in game two, trailed only once in taking the third set 25-20, and then overcame a 20-17 MSU lead en route to a match-clinching 25-23 decision in the fourth frame.
"We're still looking for consistency in our play," said head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "We were hesitant in our play this weekend, though we battled back and played more aggressively today against Georgia. The SEC is going to be tough, and our young team has to learn that they have to go out and fight for every point. Today we had a lot of ups and downs, and our players have to figure out how to play consistently at a higher level."
Sophomore middle Lainey Wyman paced MSU with 14 kills and a team-leading .344 attack percentage. Freshman Taylor Scott knocked down 12 kills and a team-best four blocks, while senior co-captain Chanelle Baker finished with 10 kills. Wyman had six kills in the opening frame when the Bulldogs rebounded from a 6-2 deficit and then pulled away from a 23-23 deadlock for a 26-24 win and a 1-0 match lead.
UGA got its offense cranked up in the second set, hitting at .414 clip and delivering four blocks in a lopsided 25-13 win that evened the match at a set apiece. Tirah Le'au registered four kills in an error-free performance in the second set. She topped that after the break with a five-kill set in a 25-20 Georgia win that put the visitors on top 2-1 in the match and overshadowed a solid five-kill performance in the frame by State's Taylor Scott.
The two teams opened the decisive fourth set with 5-0 runs. Later, with Roxanne McVey at serve, State engineered another 5-0 scoring spree that put MSU ahead 20-17 and poised to force a deciding fifth set. Georgia had other plans, however, pulling even at 20-20 and later sealing the set and the match on back-to-back kills by Le'au.
Le'au and Briana Bahr finished with 16 kills each while Brittany Northcutt added 11 Georgia out-hit State .303 to .190 and held leads in kills (63-51), digs (63-51) and total team blocks (10-5).
McVey finished with 19 digs while Perret registered her fourth double-double of the year, backing her 13-dig showing with 41 assists.
State plays its first SEC road match of the campaign this weekend, traveling to Oxford, Miss., Friday for a 7 p.m. match against Ole Miss (6-5, 0-2 SEC).