“Kimmy and Rox are both outstanding players and each are the focal point of our offense and defense,” fifth-year Bulldog head coach Jenny Hazelwood said. “For the two of them receive the first All-Region selections in Mississippi State history as underclassmen shows the progress the program has made and the potential it has over the next few years.”
Gardiner turned in 399 kills on the season to go along with a .244 hitting percentage, 247 digs, 44 blocks, 26 assists, 24 service aces and 445.0 points.
She was twice named SEC Freshman of the Week during year. Her first selection came just one weekend into her career when she earned Maroon Classic All-Tournament team honors by tallying 64 kills, 52 digs and five blocks in the four-match tournament. Gardiner’s second selection came after turning in 32 kills, 18 digs, four aces and three blocks against then 15th-ranked Kentucky and Georgia.
The opposite from Grapevine, Texas, finished the season leading all SEC non-seniors with 4.03 kills per set, which was third-best overall. She also led all underclassmen with 4.49 points per set and was fourth overall in the category. Gardiner turned in 10 double-doubles on the season, good enough for sixth-most among NCAA rookies.
Gardiner was also named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team.
“Looking at what Kimmy has accomplished this season and her leadership ability on the court, I have to take a step back and remind myself that she’s still a freshman sometimes. It’s truly remarkable,” Hazelwood said. “Our opponents focused on her and she still managed to put up her numbers. Kimmy has the potential to be one of the greatest players to come through our program if she continues to work and strengthen her game as I know she will.”
McVey never missed a beat after breaking the SEC record for digs per set (5.64) during her freshman campaign. In fact, she tied her own record again this season. Her 5.64 average this season ranks sixth-nationally.
The Magnolia, Texas, native finished the season with an MSU single-season record 632 digs, once again breaking her own school record of 558 digs. McVey also ranks eighth all-time in Bulldog laurels with 1,190 career digs. On her current pace, she will break the school record for career digs midway through her junior year.
McVey earned SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors on Nov. 18 after posting an astounding 7.57 digs per set again then-No. 17 Kentucky and Georgia. Her 53 digs that weekend would only be out-done by a 55-dig weekend against Alabama and Tennessee to conclude the season.
“Roxanne has been tremendous for us the last two seasons,” Hazelwood said. “She has worked her way into being one of the top liberos nationally and is finally getting recognized for it. She not only holds the conference record for digs in a match but set the season digs per set record in back-to-back seasons. I could not be more proud of both of our student-athletes for how they represent Mississippi State on and off the court.”
The SEC tallied 23 athletes across all regions and tacked on another four with Honorable Mentions.