V-Ball Bulldogs Beat Auburn for First SEC Win

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State (10-4, 1-3 SEC) used a balanced attack and got strong play at the net Friday night in blanking Auburn 3-0 (30-27, 30-27, 30-21) in SEC Western Division volleyball. It was the first league win of the year for the Bulldogs, who host Alabama (15-3, 3-2 SEC) in a 1:30 p.m. match at the Newell-Grissom Building.

Senior outside hitter Rachel Cooper tallied a match-high 10 kills to lead MSU.

"I was extremely pleased that we were able to get everyone involved with our offense tonight," said MSU coach Tina Seals. "Our opposite hitters were able to put a lot of balls down tonight and we got strong play from our middles. It's good to get that first league win. Now we have to focus on a very fine Alabama team."

State fell behind 4-1 to open the match but pulled even at 5-5 and took its first lead on a kill by Eva Kriegel. A service ace by freshman Lialah Putman capped a 6-0 MSU run that gave the Bulldogs a solid 13-9 lead. Freshman middle Nicole Palazzo tallied six kills, four of them in the opening set won by the bulldogs 30-27.

Auburn stepped up its efficiency on offense in game two, out-hitting State .382 to .341 while committing but two hitting errors. But senior Rachel Cooper delivered six kills and sophomore opposite hitter added four more as State pulled away from a 28-27 contest for a 30-27 win and 2-0 match lead.

The Bulldogs took charge early in the deciding third game, racing to a 12-5 lead before cruising on for a 30-21 win. Joyner had three kills and middle blocker Erin Seago added two kills and three blocks to power MSU on to its first SEC win in four league battles. Joyner finished the night with nine kills while Eva Kriegel and Seago added eight each. Seago was error-free on a .615 hitting night and registered a match-leading five blocks.

Megan Lukasek led MSU on defense with 15 digs while Orshi Kriegel delivered 11 digs.

Auburn got nine kills each from Jennifer Amobi and Julie Bosler.

MSU will be out to snap a 12-match series win streak in Sunday's 1:30 p.m. match with Alabama. The Crimson Tide bested Mississippi 3-0 Friday night 30-26, 30-23, 30-22.


AUB 27 27 21 (76, 1-4 SEC)
MSU 30 30 30 (10-4, 1-3 SEC

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