MSU's Volleyball Team Defeated Ole Miss 3-0

Mississippi State's volleyball team, led by freshmen Jamie Joyner (14 kills, .609 attack percent) and Megan Lukasek (16 digs), defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 3-0 (30-27, 30-16, 30-26) Wednesday night before 190 fans at the Newell-Grissom Building on the campus of Mississippi State. The victory gives the Bulldogs, currently ranked 11th in the South Region (80th nationally), a 10-9 record overall and a 3-4 record in the SEC. The victory snapped the Bulldogs three-game SEC losing streak.


POSTGAME QUOTES:

COACH TINA SEALS

Your thoughts about the match.
"That was an exciting win because it is our instate rival. I was excited to see us play good at home because I hadn't felt like we have. The fans really helped out. They really did a great job. The girls were focused tonight and played great team ball"

What was the controversy with the official in the game?
"The official made a mistake, calling somebody out of rotation. We ended up being able to get that point back."

Your team struggled early in game three, but then rebounded well. Did that show that your team is staring to develop mental toughness?
"Every team hopes to improve mentally as the season goes on. That is what we are also looking for."

How did it feel to have a former player of yours, Nikki Hill, on the opposite of the net tonight?
"I don't really know. She is like one of my kids and I feel for her."

Talk about freshman Jamie Joyner's play.
"She did an awesome job. She had 14 kills and no errors and a .609 (attack percentage)."

Is there an advantage to her being lefthanded?
"Always. It is always an advantage for a lefthander on the right side."

Your team plays Kentucky on tv this Friday night. Are they excited about that opportunity?
"We focused on Ole Miss and haven't really focused on Kentucky yet. Tonight was so important, we didn't want to look past tonight. And we really didn't make a big deal of tonight's match. Tomorrow, we will shift gears for that."

With the game against Kentucky being televised, does that help in recruiting?
"It depends on how we play (laugh). But, yes, it's great to say that we have been televised."


STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's Volleyball Bulldogs (10-9, 3-4 SEC) got their offense rolling Wednesday night, hitting at a season-best .341 mark en route to a 3-0 win (30-27, 30-16, 30-26) over instate SEC rival Mississippi at the Newell-Grissom Building. The win snapped a five-match series win streak by the Lady Rebels (8-10, 1-6 SEC) and enabled State to surpass its 2003 SEC win total less than halfway through the 2004 campaign.

"I'm proud of the way our kids competed tonight," said first-year MSU head coach Tina Seals. "We pretty much maintained our focus throughout the match and had good balance in our offense."

Junior outside hitter Rachel Cooper shared match honors in kills with freshman Jamie Joyner. Both registered 14 kills while junior Orshi Kriegel finished just behind with 13.

"That was an outstanding performance tonight by Jamie," said Seals. "We've been waiting to see her have a breakout match like this."

Joyner did not have a hitting error in 23 attacks, finishing with a .609 percentage.

UM's Tricia Eble delivered a kill for the match's first point, but it would be the Lady Rebs' only lead of the opening game and their only lead until third stanza.

Cooper registered five kills and State led by as much as six points in the opening stanza before Andrea Mead and Julie Hamilton combined for a block and the game-winning point in the 30-27 MSU win.

State turned up the intensity level in game two, hitting at a .351 clip with just two hitting errors in a lop-sided 30-16 win. Cooper, Kriegel and Joyner had four kills each and Erin Seago delivered four blocks. Cooper also delivered three key service aces to help State pull away from a close match early.

The Bulldogs put the match away with efficient and balanced hitting in the deciding third game. MSU registered 24 kills and hit at a .512 clip. Joyner led the way in game three with six kills in eight attacks without an error.

Mississippi State amassed a 55-38 edge in kills and held slim 51-48 and 7-6 leads in digs and team blocks respectively.

With 14 kills, Cooper climbed to ninth place among MSU's all-time career kills leaders with 875. She also registered her 700th career dig.

State also got balance on defense, with freshman libero Megan Lukasek leading the way with a match-high 16 digs. Senior Ashley Sledge followed with 11, while Orshi Kriegel had nine to just miss double-double status.

Katie Kramer was the lone Lady Rebel in twin figures with 10 kills and at the net added three blocks. Elena Garcia paced UM's defensive efforts with 13 digs.

The Bulldogs resume SEC competition on the road, traveling to Lexington, Ky., for an inter-divisional match with the Kentucky Wildcats (10-7, 1-5 SEC). The match will be televised live throughout the region as the SEC-TV Match of the Week on FOX SportsNet South.

State returns to Starkville this weekend and steps out of league play Sunday with a 3 p.m. match with the Troy University Trojans.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 3, MISSISSIPPI 0

MSU (10-9, 3-4 SEC) 30 30 30
UM (8-10, 1-6 SEC) 27 16 26

Source: MSU Media Relations


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