"It was a good win and an important win for our team," said second-year head coach Tina Seals, now 3-0 against UM and 5-0 against instate rivals. "We've had our struggles lately, but it was good to get back home and have some success against our rival. There is a lot of volleyball remaining to be played down the stretch and we need to stay focused on each match."
The win kept MSU in ninth place in the league as SEC competition heads into the second half of the season.
MSU's Illinois connection, senior outside hitter Rachel Cooper from Roscoe, Ill., and sophomore middle Erin Seago of Rockford, Ill., led a balanced attack for State. Cooper registered a match-high 11 kills while Seago hit double figures with 10 kills on a .600 hitting night. Seago also paced State with three assisted blocks.
Not far behind on offense were Nicole Palazzo, Orshi Kriegel and Jamie Joyner, each with eight kills, and Eva Kriegel with seven. Senior Andre Mead drew the start as the Bulldog setter and recorded the lone double-double of the match with 21 assists and 11 digs. Sophomore libero Megan Lukasek tallied a match-high 14 digs.
The Bulldogs trailed by a point once in the early going of the first and third sets. A kill by Seago knotted the score at 3-3 and the Bulldogs pulled ahead to stay on a Lady Rebel blocking error. State led by as much as six in the opening stanza, putting the game away with a pair of kills by Orshi Kriegel.
State bolted to a 6-2 lead on a kill by Jamie Joyner and never let the Lady Rebels get closer than two points in winning game two 30-24.
In the deciding third game State used a 6-0 run to build up an 8-3 advantage and hit at a match-best .270 en route to a match-clinching 30-24 win in the third game.
The Bulldogs return to action this weekend with a 1:30 p.m. match Sunday at Auburn (7-10, 1-8 SEC), which dropped a 3-0 decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-28) Wednesday night at SEC West-leading Alabama.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 3, MISSISSIPPI 0
UM (7-14, 1-8 SEC) 23 24 24
MSU (11-7, 2-6 SEC) 30 30 30