Volleyball Bulldogs Fall In Home Closer To Auburn
Eleven different Tiger players registered kills as Auburn, after spotting the Bulldogs a 25-23 opening set win, rebounded to claim the next three sets 25-17, 25-22, 25-22. The win completed a two-match series sweep by AU and extended MSU’s late-season losing skid to nine matches.
During pre-match ceremonies, State paid tribute to seniors Ashley Newsome and Kayla Woodard and junior outside hitter Kellye Jordan. The three players will conclude their collegiate careers with MSU’s season finale next Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Alabama (10-19, 2-17 SEC). MSU President Mark Keenum and Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin were on hand to take part in Sunday’s salute to MSU’s departing players and student managers.
Junior Caitlin Rance notched her team-leading 12th double-double, pacing State with 14 kills and contributing on defense with 11 digs. Freshman Dani McCree followed with eight kills while both Mandy Mellencamp and Newsome finished with seven kills apiece.
Auburn, a straight-sets winner over State earlier this season at Auburn, posted a 57-43 advantage in kills and, led by a match-best 25-dig effort by libero Liz Crouch, claimed a 73-60 edge in digs. State did finish with a 7-6 advantage in team blocking, with Newsome leading the way with two solo blocks and three assists. The SEC’s blocks leader raised her four-year MSU career total to 402 blocks, one shy of the school career mark of 403 blocks set by Shauna Owens (1988-1991).
With 22 digs, Woodard raised her season total 481, fifth-most in a single-season at Mississippi State.
Mandy Mellencamp had four kills and both Ashley Newsome and Kellye Jordan tallied four kills each in the opening set as Mississippi State battled back from a 20-17 deficit to claim a 25-23 win in set one. AU had nine attack errors, four down the stretch of the opening set.
But the Tigers warmed up offensively, piling up 49 kills in the next three stanzas. Auburn used a 6-0 run to pull away from a 12-12 deadlock in the second set to even the match at a game apiece at the break. AU then rode an impressive seven-kill showing by Morgan Johns in the third frame, and hit at a match-best .378 in taking the match-clinching fourth set. The Bulldogs trailed 21-17 after Johns’ seventh kill in the set but rallied back to knot the score at 22-22 on a combined block by Mandy Mellencamp and Hannah Wilkinson. But after a timeout the Tigers registered the next three points to close out the match. Johns finished with 13 kills and Kelly Fidero added 12.