The nine nonconference wins are the most in the five-year Jenny Hazelwood era.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team today,” Hazelwood said. “After struggling last night, we had to come out today and play well. UAB is a very good club and to be able to grind out a win in five sets like we did can go a long way for our young team. On top of that, we had the ability to remain disciplined and focused tonight and beat Arkansas State.”
Freshman Kimmy Gardiner turned in yet another career day as she notched a career-high 27 kills against UAB and followed it up with 18 against ASU. She also had 13 digs and six blocks on the day.
In the first match of the day, the Bulldogs and Blazers traded each of the first two sets with UAB claiming a 25-20 victory in the first and MSU rebounding 25-23 in the second.
After notching eight kills in the second set, Gardiner posted seven more in the third. State led much of the set but UAB managed to pull ahead at 16-15. A 10-3 MSU run capped off by three straight kills from Gardiner ended the set at 25-19 and put the Bulldogs ahead 2-1 in the match.
The Blazers wouldn’t go away quietly, though, as they claimed the fourth set 25-20 to force a deciding fifth game. State wasted no time taking a 4-1 lead in the final stanza behind a pair of Gardiner kills. After UAB tied the match at nine, the Bulldogs rattled off five straight points and clinched the match with a 15-12 victory.
In the second match of the afternoon, the Redwolves jumped up to a 7-1 lead out of the gate but it was the last they would see of any momentum. After a Hazelwood timeout, a kill from Gardiner sent the Bulldogs on a 9-2 run that gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. MSU claimed the first set 25-20.
State used a 7-0 run ignited by Scott to break an eight-all tie in the second set and the Bulldogs never let up claiming the stanza 25-16. The third set was sung to the opposite tune as Arkansas State jumped out to a 7-3 lead that MSU could never rebound from. ASU won the set 25-21.
Hazelwood’s squad never gave the Redwolves a chance in the fourth set by sprinting out to a 10-3 lead and taking them out of the match. Gardiner and Chelsea Duhs posted four kills each, while Alex Warren notched four of her seven blocks.
McVey added 14 more digs and Horner notched her third double-double of the season with 50 assists and 15 digs.
MSU is set to open SEC play Friday, Sept. 27, at 7 p.m. against No. 4 Florida followed by a 1 p.m. matchup against Arkansas on Sunday, Sept. 29.
- HailState.com -