Niagara Falls To MSU In Straight Sets, Bulldogs Sweep Weekend

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Freshman Chelsea Duhs tallied 45 kills on the weekend en route to earning Bulldog Invitational Most Valuable Player honors.
Photo Courtesy of hailstate.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Two days. Four wins. The equation doesn’t get much sweeter for the Mississippi State volleyball team (7-4) as it swept Wofford (4-6) and Niagara (0-10) to claim the Bulldog Invitational title Saturday afternoon.

After surrendering only a single set Friday, the Bulldogs never let up Saturday, claiming a 3-0 victory against Niagara (25-8, 25-12, 25-18) to begin the day before matching the results against Niagara (25-15, 25-15, 25-17) in the tournament finale.

MSU opened the day with a 17-3 run to clinch momentum and essentially take Wofford out of the early match. Freshmen Kimmy Gardiner and Chelsea Duhs combined for nine kills to lead MSU, while Suzanne Horner added 14 assists. State hit .630 in the opening frame.

Wofford again fell behind 12-3 in the second set and never recovered. With Gardiner serving, the Bulldogs rattled off six straight points including a trio of service aces. Duhs matched her four kills from the first set and Gardiner added eight digs.

The Terriers managed to keep the third set even until State went a 5-0 run to break a 10-all tie. Duhs, Gardiner and Horner all had three kills in the final set.

Gardiner finished with her SEC-leading seventh-straight double-double (10 kills, 10 digs), while Duhs recorded a match-high 11 kills with a .733 hitting percentage.

Roxanne McVey again notched double-digit digs with 13 and Horner recorded 31 assists to help the Bulldogs hit a season-best .400 as a team.

Niagara battled MSU early in the first set of the nightcap but with the match knotted at 10-all, an Alex Warren kill sent the Bulldogs on a dominating 13-0 run. State posted a pair of 25-15 wins in the first two sets.

The third set stayed on course with weekend with six kills from Gardiner and five from Duhs that produced a 25-17 match-clinching victory for the Bulldogs.

Six different Bulldogs recorded a kill with Duhs’ eight kills leading the way. Horner tacked on another 24 assists, while McVey had 14 digs.

Bali Leffall-Young made her career debut and recorded her first-career kill, while Katlyn Mataya Kaitlyn Schoeppner and Kelsey Stommes all made their career debuts on Friday.

Duhs was named the Most Valuable Player for the Bulldog Invitational, while McVey and Horner were also on the All-Tournament Team.

MSU returns to action Sept. 20 and 21 in the Belmont Bruin Classic in Nashville, Tenn., against Arkansas State, Belmont and UAB. The Bulldogs then return home to open Southeastern Conference play against No. 5 Florida on Sept. 27.

Fans can follow the Mississippi State volleyball program on Twitter @HailStateVB, Instagram @HailStateVB and Facebook at facebook.com/HailStateVB.


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