September 22, 2017
STARKVILLE, Miss. – In a hard-fought, five-set showdown, Mississippi State dropped its SEC opener against South Carolina Friday night.
MSU (9-7, 0-1 SEC) fell to USC (8-5, 0-1 SEC) in five (25-19, 17-25, 24-26, 25-22, 6-15) at Newell-Grissom, but must regroup fast as it now travels to Tennessee on Sunday.
“We started out really well with energy, but I think we lost some aggression,” third-year coach David McFatrich said. “I was proud of the way we fought back even though we weren’t hitting on all cylinders, but somehow we took it to five. We made so many unforced errors. We’re a young team, but that has to stop. We have to do better and play with pace.”
The first set displayed dominance from the beginning, as MSU took an early 10-point lead for most of the game. Freshman Gabby Zgunda had three aces that contributed to the early lead. From there, the Bulldogs were in control as they capitalized on errors from the Gamecocks winning set one, 25-19.
Making it different from the first, set two went back and forth the majority of the game. MSU battled hard, but fell behind at the end. South Carolina capitalized off of errors and won the set, 25-17.
The Gamecocks came out swinging in the top of the third taking an early 6-0 lead. The Bulldogs then countered with kills and took an advantage over errors as they tied the set up at 23-23. The Dawgs had set point at 24-23, but a service error was the difference as the two teams tied it up again before South Carolina took set three, 26-24.
Set four was a tight battle as both teams stayed between three points of each other the majority of the game. Mississippi State only trailed once and took an early lead off of errors. A kills battled ensued to make it a thriller. Back-to-back kills by Jelena Vujcin and Sara Maddox sealed the set for the Bulldogs, 25-22.
MSU fought hard, but kills were the difference in the deciding set as the Gamecocks won, 15-6.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs travel to Knoxville to face the Volunteers (7-3, 0-1 SEC). First serve is set for 12:30 p.m. CT in Thompson on SEC Network +.
– Harris earned 23 digs and is now 40 digs away from tying the career record.
– Vujcin had 17 kills and 20.0 points.
– Khristian Carr had 10 kills and 11.0 points.
– Laura Rose Gray had 11 kills, a .391 hitting percentage and 11.0 points.
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