The Maroon and White enter the weekend with an 8-3 record all time against the USA Jaguars, including winning the last six meetings. MSU is 7-20 against Memphis, but has won six of the last nine contests. State holds a 4-7 record against Nicholls State and is a perfect 7-0 against the Lady Demons of Northwestern State.
MSU returns home after road trips to Huntsville, Texas, and Bloomington, Ind., starting the year on the road for the first time since 2006.
Thursday’s match will give Bulldog fans the first in-person look at Hazelwood’s 2014 edition, which showcases an abundance of veteran and young talent. Notable performers throughout the season so far include freshman Payton Harris and junior Alex Warren.
Leading the nation in digs with 171 and digs per set with a 6.33 average, Harris has had a stellar start to her collegiate career. The Bulldog libero has racked up at least 20 digs in six of MSU’s seven matches, including a season-high 32, which stands as the most in a match by any player in the Southeastern Conference.
Also shining for MSU this season has been Warren, who was named to the Indiana Invitational All-Tournament Team last weekend. Warren missed the first match of last weekend’s tourney due to illness, but returned for the Saturday doubleheader, tallying double-digit kills in both matches. The junior’s performance against Miami (OH) was her best to date, as she earned new career highs in kills (15) and points (17.5) against the Red Hawks.
However, Harris and Warren aren’t the only Bulldogs off to impressive starts this year. Sophomores Bali Leffall-Young and Chelsea Duhs have been dominant on the offensive side. Leffall-Young tallied career highs of 12 kills and a .750 hitting percentage in a five-set victory against Southeast Missouri State last weekend. The .750 clip was the highest for MSU since Hannah Wilkinson hit .706 against South Carolina in 2011. Duhs has also put up solid numbers, earning double-digit kills in four of the last five matches to lead the Bulldogs with 69 on the year.
Bulldog fans unable to make it to Newell-Grissom for the tourney can catch MSU in action on SEC Network +. Fans can access the SEC’s digital platform through ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app. Live stats will be provided for all nine matches of the weekend tournament at HailState.com.
For more information and updates on Mississippi State volleyball, fans can follow the Bulldogs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at HailStateVB.