“This is a great opportunity for our young team to face one of the best teams this season in a great environment on the road,” fifth-year head coach Jenny Hazelwood said. “We must take care of everything that we can control against Missouri and Arkansas. If we limit our mistakes and take care of our controllables, the scoreboard will handle itself.”
The Bulldogs will follow their Friday night fight with a trip to Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Ark., for a rematch with the Arkansas Razorbacks (14-12, 7-8). MSU dropped a three-set decision to the Hogs during opening weekend of conference play on Sept. 29.
McVey earned her defensive recognition from the conference after posting an astonishing 7.57 digs per set against No. 16 Kentucky and Georgia over the weekend. Her 53 digs in the two matches were the second-best of her career to only the sophomore’s 83 dig performance her rookie year when she became just the 20th player in NCAA history to record 50 or more digs in a single match.
The standout libero is also a mere 12 digs away from breaking the single-season digs record at MSU, which she set a season ago at 558. McVey needs just four more digs to surpass her current head coach on the all-time career digs list at 1,107 and move into sole possession of ninth all-time. At 5.52 digs per set on the year, the Magnolia, Texas, native ranks second in the SEC and 12th-nationally in that category.
Fellow sophomore Taylor Scott moved into sole possession of second-place among SEC underclassmen with 563 kills after her 10-kill performance against Georgia Sunday afternoon. The outside hitter from Claremont, Calif., has put away 280 attacks, which is just three shy of her 283 from a year ago.
State’s top newcomer, Kimmy Gardiner, is resting just outside the school’s top-10 in single-season kills with 399 and is within striking distance of the program’s single-season freshman record. Gardiner currently leads all SEC non-seniors in kills per set (4.03) and points per set (4.49)
MSU will try to snap a 10-match losing streak against ranked opponents. The last time it knocked off a team in the Top 25 was Oct. 14, 2011, when it downed No. 25 Kentucky 3-0 in Humphrey Coliseum. It would also be the Bulldogs’ first road victory of the season although they took three early neutral site matches and have posted the second-most wins in Newell-Grissom Building history (8).
After the weekend road trip, State will return home to face Alabama (21-8, 8-6) on Nov. 27 for Senior Night when it will honor the 2013 squad’s lone senior, Dani McCree. The Bulldogs will wrap up the season Nov. 30 at Tennessee (9-19, 1-13).