STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State opens its preseason volleyball practices Monday morning at the Newell-Grissom Building as the Bulldogs prepare for their 37th season of volleyball. The Bulldogs' initial practice of the preseason is set to begin at 8:45 a.m. with an afternoon opening day practice sessions scheduled at 3 p.m.
Jenny Hazelwood, in her third season as MSU volleyball head coach, will send the 15-player squad through morning and afternoon practice sessions five times over the next eight days in advance of the start of MSU fall classes August 17 and the season-opening Maroon Classic August 26-27 on campus. The Bulldogs host Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Illinois and Tennessee-Martin during that two-day event.
Mississippi State returns four starters and three other letter-winners from last year's 11-20 edition. Among the returnees are a pair of seniors, outside hitter Caitlin Rance (Kingwood, Texas), who paced the team with 403 kills and ranked second on defense with 254 digs, and middle blocker Hannah Wilkinson (Elk Point, S.D.), who ranked among the team leaders at the net last fall with 48 blocks.
This year's squad also features seven newcomers.
Hazelwood's MSU staff includes Lindi Bankowski and Branden Higa, both beginning their third seasons as assistant volleyball coaches at State.
In addition to the Maroon Classic, Mississippi State also plays in early-season tournaments at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., and at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. State then launches its 20-match SEC schedule Sept. 16-18 with home matches against Florida and South Carolina.