What are your thoughts about the game?
"I think you have to applaud (junior) Ashley Newsome. She is a big part of our team as an emotional leader and, obviously, skill wise. I guarantee you Georgia knew that we would set her as much as possible and they still couldn't stop her. And she did that despite taking a hard hit Friday night that caused her to land on the hardwood floor square on her hip. It really looked like a tackle football play. That was in the second set and she didn't play the rest of the match. And she had a hard time walking around yesterday and having a hard time bending. To come out here and play today through that kind of adversity speaks about her character and her desire to win.
"(Sophomore) Faith Steinwedell really stepped it up today. We actually had a talk yesterday about how she has been struggling a little bit. And she knows she is better than that. And she just has to make up her mind that she is going to be great, going to pass well, hit well and going to get there on the block and play defense. I told her after the first set that she had one dig. She ended up with 16 digs and led our team the rest of the match.
"That is what this young team is learning - it's a mindset just as much as it is talent and skill. They can talk all they want to about wanting to play well and wanting to win but you still have to do it on the court. We are working through that and we were a little bit better today."
You actually started out pretty strong today then tailed off. It that part of the youth showing up?
"It is. And they don't understand how to play consistently at a high level. They have a lot of talent but they sometimes have a hard time continuing to do the things that were working well for them or when the other team makes adjustments they have a hard time making the adjustments themselves. A perfect example of that was when Georgia called a timeout. We told them to watch the ball going to number 5 on the outside and watch her roll shot it and do not let her get that. But they still got killed on it. We couldn't give them any more specific feedback on what will happen. But that is youth and inexperience. And they are learning those lessons right now. When they learn them that will make for really strong teams in the future."
Another player that seems to be playing well is true freshman Hillary Parker.
"She has come in as a true freshman and won the starting setting position. And as a true freshman, running the 5-1 and staying in the whole match, she has done a great job. She has actually been injured as well with a bulging disc in her back. She and Ashley were the ones who collided on Friday. And I had to take both of them out. I could tell she was hurting today, but she still comes out and plays. That speaks a lot about her desire. She and Ashley are the kind of young people that we want to build our program around. And that is what we are doing.
"We will have a team full of people like Hillary and Ashley who people will say have that determination and winning attitude. Winners win. And when all these girls make up their mind that they want to win it will happen."
To help keep their confidence up, what do you tell a team full of young players that has lost their first two SEC matches?
"We talk a lot about execution. We tell them that throughout the match. We can have a great gameplan going in but it still comes down to execution. Ultimately, when that whistle blows and we are playing in the match, we can't go out there and play it for them. It comes down them executing. Like I said before winners win. So, to be a winner you find a way to take care of the ball, you find a way to win. If you have that mindset and that attitude we will win."
Match Photo Gallery
MSU Media Relations Game Article
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State got off to an impressive start in Sunday's SEC volleyball match with SEC East rival Georgia at the Newell-Grissom Building. MSU claimed a 25-21 opening set win before Georgia (9-3, 1-1 SEC) reeled off wins in the next three sets --- 25-21, 25-21, 25-15 to notch a 3-1 decision. The win gave Georgia a split of its SEC season-opening weekend matches while State (4-9, 0-2 SEC), fell for the second time in as many league matches. Georgia's comeback spoiled an impressive offensive display by State junior middle blocker Ashley Newsome. Newsome, sidelined by a painful hip pointer midway in the second set of Friday's 3-0 loss to Auburn, matched a career-high with 19 kills, leading State with a .293 hitting percentage and three blocks. The Florence, Ala., product established a career-best with 19 kills Sept. 12 against Northwestern State and now leads State with 160 kills.
"Ashley continues to show amazing determination on the court," said head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "She was in a great deal of pain and could barely walk earlier today. But she came out and got six kills and a couple of blocks in the first set to get us going. We're looking for that same type of determination from all of our players. It's a learning process for this team, which includes a lot of young players."
The Bulldogs used an 8-0 run midway in the opening set to take a 14-8 lead, stretched the advantage to as many as nine before a Georgia service error scored the winning point in State's 25-22 decision in the first set. Newsome had just one attack error and six kills in her first competition following Friday's injury.
Georgia, after committing eight attack errors, had just eight more errors combined over the final three sets. Georgia raced to a 6-1 lead and never trailed in taking the second set 25-21, though Newsome had six more kills and Caitlin Rance was right behind with five.
After the break, the visiting UG Bulldogs bolted to a 10-4 advantage in the third set and turned back a State surge after Ioana Demian nailed a kill that pulled State to within a point 19-18. Erika Clark delivered three key kills down the stretch as Georgia took a 2-1 match lead with a 25-21 decision.
Valentina Gonzalez, who paced Georgia on the afternoon with 18 kills, a sizzling .630 attack percentage, and a match-high seven blocks, ripped five kills and three blocks to spark Georgia to a match-clinching 25-15 win in set four. State led just once, 6-5 on a kill by Demian, but Georgia regained its footing and closed the set and the match with a 9-2 burst.
Behind Newsome's 19 kills, Ioana Demian and Kellye Jordan tallied nine kills each and Caitlin Rance added eight kills with three service aces. Faith Steinwedell, in her second start of the season, had six kills and matched a career-high with a team-leading 16 digs.
Georgia, which held the statistical advantage in kills (62-51), digs (62-59) and total team blocks (10-5), placed four players in double figures in kills, led by Gonzalez' 18 kills. Ann Dylla had 11 and Erika Clark and Briana Bahr tallied 10 each.
The Bulldogs continue SEC competition next weekend with their first league road trip of the campaign. State travels to Gainesville, Fla., to test the fifth-ranked Florida Gators Friday (6 p.m. CT) and then tangles with South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., Sunday (2 p.m. CT) in a match televised regionally on FOX Sports Net South.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.