Volleyball Surrenders SEC Opener To Third-Ranked Florida

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Senior Dani McCree notched nine kills as the Bulldogs fell to No. 3 Florida to open SEC play Friday night.
Photo Courtesy of hailstate.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. – In front of a raucous student-led crowd at the Newell-Grissom Building Friday night, the Mississippi State volleyball team (9-6, 0-1) surrendered its first match of the Southeastern Conference slate to the No. 3 Florida Gators (12-1, 1-0).

“I thought we played very well at times,” MSU coach Jenny Hazelwood said. “I felt like our girls responded well to the challenge but just could not stay consistent enough to pull it out. We saw spurts of how good we can be when this team matures and becomes more consistent.”

The Gators jumped up to a quick 7-3 lead but senior Dani McCree began a Bulldog charge that narrowed the game to 9-7. Battling back-and-forth over the next several points, MSU managed to pull to 15-13 but a 10-2 run by UF ended the match.

Much like the first set, Florida cruised to a 5-0 lead but after a Hazelwood timeout, the Bulldogs stormed back to take a 10-9 lead. State would hold onto the advantage until it built a 19-15 cushion at which point the Gators again posted a 10-2 run to end the set.

“We showed some resiliency in the second set,” Hazelwood said. “They jumped up pretty quickly but I thought we responded well. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t stop their run at the end of the set.”

Mississippi State struggled to string together any momentum in the third set as UF claimed a 25-11 victory in clinch the match.

Freshman Kimmy Gardiner posted a team-high 10 kills along with six digs. McCree also turned in nine kills, while Taylor Scott carded five.

Roxanne McVey led all Bulldogs with 22 digs and Suzanne Horner turned in 26 assists.

As a team, MSU matched the Gators’ four blocks but UF posted eight service aces to State’s one.

The Bulldogs return to action Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. matchup with the Arkansas Razorbacks (7-4). As part of the “Sundaes on Sunday” promotion, 60 free cups of MSU ice cream will be given away.

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


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