COACH TINA SEALS
What are your overall thoughts on how you played?
"I think it was great because everybody got a chance to contribute."
I noticed you started your freshman center, Madison Hill, the third game of the match. How important was that for her?
"She's worked really hard. We had a harder time focusing, but she did great. I'm sure that there was a lot on her shoulders, but she pulled through, and that was great."
Have you played her as much as you did tonight?
"No, she's not played an entire game. She's come in a lot for relief."
Did she improve as the game went along?
"Yes. I feel like she got more comfortable."
Your team had a lot of blocks tonight.
"We had 13 blocks. It was better. We work on blocking everyday."
How do you think the setter-hitter chemistry was tonight?
"It was good. Our tempo was a little off. I know you couldn't tell it, but we could. And then Madison got a chance to work on her tempo, and her connection with the hitters. I think near the end of the game that was coming along better, too."
Ten of twelve in the game all had kills. Was that a team effort?
"It was very much a team effort, and it's fun to see. It's fun to coach when everybody contributes."
After winning just 3 games last season, this year's team has won 7. Do you feel like you've changed the attitude of the team to where they believe they can win?
"They've worked hard. They've done everything we've asked. I just expect them to win."
I noticed that you seem to really rely on your assistants during the game.
"I always have. I worked construction as an engineer and I learned a lot from that. I worked overseeing people that had worked longer in that area than I had, so I relied on them. It's the same way in coaching. I have two great assistants. I believe in getting their opinions and their philosophies, and putting us all together and seeing what we can create. Their ideas are just as important as mine. We're all a team, the coaching staff and the players."
FRESHMAN SETTER MADISON HILL:
This is your first time to actually start and complete the entire game. Were you a little bit nervous going in?
"I'm used to a lot of competition, but it was nerve racking because it was my first time starting a (college) game."
When did you feel comfortable?
"It's the first set, the first time the hitter kills it. You're comfortable after that."
You're the setter. What exactly is the job of a setter?
"You try to watch the blockers on the other side. You try to get the middle blocker so that there's only one blocker for the outside hitter. You try to watch the other side, watch the blockers, and give them a good tempo to your outside hitter."
What is one of the main goals of this team?
"One of our main goals this year was to have really good serves. If you serve really well, the other team can't pass, and that messes up their offense, causing them to not hit the ball well.."
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State set the tone with a blistering .458 hitting percentage in the opening game and rolled on to a 3-0 win over UA (0-9) in the Volleyball Bulldogs' initial contest this season at the Newell-Grissom Building. State (7-5) rolled to 30-12 and 30-13 wins in the opening two stanzas and the MSU bench sealed the win with a 30-28 verdict in the third set.
Junior outside hitter Orshi Kriegel led a balanced MSU attack, totaling 12 kills on a .421 hitting performance. Six of those kills came in the opening game and helped spark a 13-1 MSU run midway in the period. Another junior outside hitter, Jami Hester, had eight kills, six of those coming in the final stanza when State overcame a 10-4 deficit. Julie Hamilton's service ace broke a 14-14 deadlock and the Bulldogs never trailed the remainder of the third and final set.
"We saw a good team effort tonight," said first-year MSU head coach Tina Seals. "We had players up and down the lineup that contributed, and it's fun to coach when a lot of players are involved like that. What pleased me most was that our bench was strong enough to overcome a slow start in the third game and secure the win."
Senior libero Ashley Sledge led the MSU defense with nine kills, but Orshi Kriegel and junior setter Andrea Mead combined for 13 while playing in just two games.
Freshman opposite hitter Jamie Joyner hit .429 and delivered four kills in the second period when MSU raced to a 2-0 lead in the match. Starting freshman middles Christa Fulenwider and Erin Seago combined for seven kills and eight blocks to pace State at the net. In her most extensive playing time as a Bulldog, rookie setter Madison Hill delivered 14 kill-producing passes.
It was the second straight loss to an SEC foe for UAB, who dropped a five-game thriller at Auburn Saturday. The Blazers got five-kill performances from Nicole Bowland and Shaniquwa Cooper and a two-kill, six-block effort from Cassi Ociesa. Brianna Galvin had 13 kills.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 3, UAB 0
MSU (7-5) 30 30 30
UAB (0-9) 12 13 28
Source: MSU Media Relations