STARKVILLE, Miss. - Alabama turned back a strong set two challenge by Mississippi State Friday night and went on to claim a straight-sets win in SEC volleyball at the Newell-Grissom Building. The Crimson Tide (11-10, 4-8 SEC) snapped a four-match losing skid in winning 25-17, 25-23, 25-21 while the Bulldogs (6-17, 1-11 SEC) dropped their ninth consecutive match.
The Bulldogs never led in the opening set as Alabama came out hitting at a .290 clip en route to a 25-17 decision. Brooke Webster, who paced Alabama for the night with nine kills, tallied four of those in the opening stanza.
State trailed by as many as seven points at 17-10 in the second set but scrambled back into the fray on the strength of a four-kill effort by Ioana Demian and hitting mistakes by Alabama. Four straight Bama attack errors pulled the Bulldogs to within a point at 23-22 and forced the Tide to take a timeout. But Alyssa Meuth and Calli Johnson nailed kills that sealed the 25-23 UA win and gave the Tide a 2-0 match lead at the break.
MSU opened the third set with a 4-1 run and took a 19-16 advantage on a kill by Kellye Jordan. Bama answered with three straight points, two on aces by Lauren Martin, to tie the score at 19-19. State freshman Caitlin Rance then delivered a kill for a 20-19 lead, but it would be the Bulldogs' last of the night. Alabama out-pointed State 6-1 down the stretch to register the match-clinching 25-21 win in the third set.
Demian shared match honors for kills with nine, while Jordan added six off the bench. Sophomore middle Ashley Newsome finished with five kills and a team-best four total blocks.
Alabama got five assisted blocks from Lindsey Buteyn and a pair of solo stops by Ashley Frazier to take a 9-5 edge in total team blocks.
The Bulldogs close out their October schedule Friday at Auburn, Ala., with a 6 p.m. match against the Auburn Tigers (5-18, 0-12 SEC). In their earlier meeting this fall, the Bulldogs bested the Tigers in a five-set thriller Sept. 28 at the Newell-Grissom Building.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mississippi State softball team had a school-record 10 student-athletes named National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar-Athlete, the association announced this week.
The record number of players receiving the honor stands one better than the previous best of nine which was set following the 2007 and 2006 seasons. State was one of just nine Division I teams with 10 or more selections.
Three Bulldogs received the honor for the third time. Sammie Jo Bailey, a business information systems major, received the honor for a third time along with former Bulldogs Lindsay Hunley and Gina McCloud. Bailey, Hunley and McCloud each compiled a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
Jessie Bailey, a general business administration major, also compiled a 4.0 GPA in earning the academic honor for the second straight year. Fellow junior Chelsea Bramlett, who was named ESPN the Magazine First Team Academic All-American, also earned her second honor from the NFCA. Sophomores Ali Bainbridge, Courtney Nesbit and Jessie Spain received their first nod to the list along with former Dogs Nakita Boyce and Megan Bateman.
"I am very proud of having a record number of players named NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete," MState head coach Jay Miller said. "It's a tribute to our players' dedication on the field and in the classroom. It is nice to see these players rewarded for the hard work and effort they have put in to becoming outstanding student-athletes."
The 10 individual honors helped State to the eighth-highest team grade-point average in Division I softball on the Girls Got Game/NFCA All-Academic Teams list that was released last month. That eighth-place standing put MState into the top 10 for the first time and matched South Carolina for the top spot among Southeastern Conference teams.
The Bulldogs' record number of all-America scholar-athlete selections continues the program's long tradition of academic success. State has now had 36 players named NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete a collective 69 times. Since 1997, Mississippi State has put 133 players on academic honor rolls.
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State will dedicate its newest campus facility on Saturday, November 1, when it opens the doors to the Templeton Athletic Academic Center. A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. The event is open to the public and will be followed by a tour of the new facility.
Scheduled speakers at the event include Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, former Auburn Director of Athletics David Housel, former Mississippi State University presidents Dr. Donald Zacharias and Dr. Malcolm Portera, current MSU interim president Roy Ruby and Director of Athletics Greg Byrne.
The 34,000 square-foot building will serve the entire athletic department and includes individual computer rooms, academic counselor offices, tutor work areas, a large open study area and a 300-seat dining facility with a fully-functioning kitchen.
Templeton, now Athletic Director Emeritus, served 22 years as Director of Athletics and during his tenure helped position MSU Athletics as an innovative, progressive program, with equality in sports for women, new and renovated facilities and keen fiscal management.
During the 1990s almost every sport came away with a best-ever finish. Achievements included six football bowl games, men's basketball's trip to the 1996 NCAA Final Four, three baseball trips to the NCAA College World Series, five Southeastern Conference championships and participation in the NCAA Championships by sport teams 29 times.