V-Ball Bulldogs Climb to 8-0 With Win

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Rachel Cooper and Jamie Joyner combined for 32 kills Friday night as Mississippi State extended its season-opening win streak to 8-0 with a 3-0 win over UL-Lafayette (3-7) in the MSU/Microtel Classic. The Bulldogs picked up their fifth shutout win of the campaign, winning 30-24, 30-18, 30-22.

State takes on UT-Martin (1-13) Saturday at 9 a.m. and closes the tournament with a 3 p.m. match against Arkansas-Little Rock (7-5). UALR blanked the Ragin' Cajuns 3-0 in Friday's other opening round competition.

"Rachel and Jamie had strong performances for us tonight," said coach Tina Seals. "Rachel has been solid throughout the season and Jamie has been getting better with each match."

Cooper, named current SEC Player of the Week, tallied a match-high 18 kills, seven in the deciding third game. The Roscoe, ill., native has paced MSU in kills in five of State's first eight matches.

Joyner did much of her damage in the opening game, notching seven of her season-high 14 kills in the opening stanza. She finished with a .455 hitting percentage. State had to overcome 10 service errors in the first period before cruising home on to the win.

Sophomore libero Megan Lukasek paced the Bulldog defense with a match-high 12 digs while freshman middle Nicole Palazzo had four kills, eight digs and a team -best three blocks.

Elina Salomaki had nine kills and Teri Vicknair nine digs to lead ULL.

"I was very pleased to see the fan support we had Newell-Grissom tonight," said Seals. "That's the biggest crowd (275) we've had in my two years back at State. It helped create a home court atmosphere and our players responded to it. Getting fan support is another one of the steps you need as you build up your program."

The Bulldogs open Saturday play at 9 a.m. against UT-Martin, coached by former Mississippi State standout setter Amy (Penrose) Draper. At 3 p.m. State faces the UALR Trojans, who got 16 kills from Larisa Durmisevic and 17 digs from Megan Naborowski in a 30-22, 30-21, 32-30 Friday win over UT-Martin.

There is no charge for admission to the tournament competition at the? Newell-Grissom Building.

MSU/Microtel Classic
Newell-Grissom Building @ Starkville, Miss.

Friday, September 16
Arkansas-Little Rock def. Tenn-Martin 3-0 (30-22, 30-21, 32-30)
Mississippi State def. UL-Lafayette 3-0 (30-24, 30-18, 30-22)

Saturday, September 17
9 a.m. - Mississippi State vs. Tenn-Martin
11 a.m. - Arkansas-Little Rock vs. UL-Lafayette
1 p.m. - Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Tenn-Martin
3 p.m. - Mississippi State vs. Ark-Little Rock

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