State Hosts Auburn Friday To Begin SEC Play
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Bulldogs launch their 30th season of Southeastern Conference volleyball competition and a 20-match league schedule this weekend when Mississippi State (4-5) welcomes SEC West rival Auburn (9-1) and SEC Eastern Division foe Georgia (6-3) to the Newell-Grissom Building. There is no charge for admission.
State takes aim on its third consecutive win over Auburn in Friday's 7 p.m. match. The Bulldogs nipped the Tigers 3-2 in Starkville and blanked AU 3-0 on the Plains last fall. State has won five of its last seven Starkville meetings with Auburn.
Sophomore middle blocker Lainey Wyman (Plainfield, Ill.), after missing the first two weekends of competition, returned to the MSU lineup last weekend in New Orleans, La., sparking MSU to a runner-up finish in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Classic hosted by Tulane. Wyman, a 2011 SEC All-Freshman Team selection, piled up 47 kills, hit at a stout .416 clip, served up a team-best five aces and registered 12 total blocks en route to all-tournament team honors in the Crescent City.
Freshman middle Sarah Nielson (Cypress, Texas), finished with 43 kills and 16 blocks on a .361 hitting weekend to nail down her third consecutive all-tournament honor this fall. She represented State on the all-tournament teams at the MSU Maroon Classic and the Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational at Los Angeles.
Two other Bulldog freshmen top the MSU in assorted statistical categories. Outside hitter Taylor Scott (Claremont, Calif.) leads the club with 107 kills and ranks second with 108 digs, while rookie libero Roxanne McVey (Magnolia, Texas) sets the pace in the SEC with 204 digs and sports the nation's second-highest digs-per-set average (6.00). All six of MSU's rostered freshman have seen playing time and have combined for 26 of the team's 42 starts over the first three weekends.
The Bulldogs play four of their first five SEC matches at home, including Sunday's 1:30 p.m. match against Georgia.
FRIDAY NIGHT PROMOTIONS: Residence Life Night (Guest coach: Dr. Ann Bailey, director of student housing at MSU) sponsored by L.A. Green Boutique ... Boutique Relay Challenge(courtside between 1st and 2nd sets) ... Dawg-Eat-Dawg Challenge (Residence hall VB competition between 2nd and 3rd sets) ... MSU students: Pizza party for highest residence hall attendance ... MSU students can enter a drawing for a football sideline pass (MSU-Arkansas game) and swipe their student ID cards for the Bulldog Coalition Promotion (receive one point for attending) ... Aramark concessions special: Buy a Polk's Sausage Dog ($4) and get a free 44-ounce popcorn.