STARKVILLE, Miss. – Matches come and go one right after another. A newcomer plays her first-career match and next thing you know, another standout freshman is the new sophomore sensation. Before anyone realizes it, a young phenom outsider hitter from Rialto, Calif., has become the wise veteran leader among a new group of rookies in the Newell-Grissom Building.
Mississippi State’s lone senior on the 2013 squad, Dani McCree, is set to be honored as part of Senior Night festivities when the Bulldog volleyball team (11-19, 2-14) battles the Alabama Crimson Tide (23-8, 10-6) in its final home match of the season Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
“Dani is exactly what we look for when we recruit student-athletes to Mississippi State,” fifth-year head coach Jenny Hazelwood said. “She is one of the toughest and most determined individuals we have in our program and I could not be more proud of what she has accomplished in her career. She is the type of person that will be successful in whatever she does because she just has that mentality. I know she will always wear and represent the Maroon and White with pride.”
This year’s co-captian has started 34 matches in her career to go along with 399 kills, 97 digs, 63 blocks and 437 points. Earlier this season in MSU’s first conference win of the year against South Carolina, McCree turned in a season-best 12 kills to go along with a .308 hitting clip. Later that weekend State swept Tennessee to record the first back-to-back conference sweeps in school history. She had seven kills and a career-best seven digs against the Volunteers.
During her junior season, McCree posted a career-best 14 kills against Alabama, the Bulldogs’ Wednesday opponent. In fact, McCree always turns in solid performances against the Crimson Tide. Her only service ace in her career came against UA in 2010.
“I cannot thank Mississippi State University and the fans enough for the support we’ve had the last four years,” McCree said. “Coming to school this far away from home was a challenge at first but the people in Starkville and my teammates have become my second family. I will always cherish my experiences and the people I’ve met over the last four years.”
During McCree’s four years in Starkville, the MSU fan base has set nine of the school’s top-10 volleyball attendance records, including a state of Mississippi record 4,525 fans at State’s 3-0 upset of then-25th-ranked Kentucky on Oct. 14, 2011. McCree picked up three kills in the match.
The biological science major is set to graduate in May and wants to attend physical therapy school afterward. She would also like to return home and coach club volleyball in southern California.
McCree will be joined on court by her parents, Bruce and Dana McCree, as well as her brother, Bryant.
Admission to the match is free and Hail State decals will be given away while supplies last. In addition, students will have the chance to compete in the final $10,000 Perfect Serve Challenge of the semester and earn two Hail state Rewards points by attending the match.
A free live video stream will also be available via HailState.com/HSTVlive.
Mississippi State wraps up the 2013 season Saturday afternoon in Knoxville against the Tennessee Volunteers (9-22, 1-16).