Chanelle Baker sets up a play for MSU during Saturday's volleyball match against ULM. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Mississippi State's young volleyball team stuck to the plan even when things did not go well early in its afternoon match against the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at the Newell-Grissom Building.
Despite losing the first set 30-28, the Bulldogs took the next three by consecutive 25-18 scores and won a 3-1 decision in the Maroon Classic.
MSU volleyball coach Jenny Hazelwood liked the resilient nature of her squad, especially with four freshman filling vital roles on the court.
"ULM does a lot of stuff that's very different so you have to be focused and very aware of what's going on," Hazelwood said. "You don't want to go into the tough weekends like next weekend and SEC play without having been challenged and see how we respond. We tell these girls that you've got to figure out when you struggle a little bit, what your self-talk is or what routine you are going to get out of that. They acted like they had to fight through that and did a great job."
One freshman, in particular, was on top of her game in her second-ever match as a Bulldog.
Taylor Scott recorded a double-double with 21 kills and 23 aces. She added a couple of key aces during the match.
"She's just a great all-around player," Hazelwood said. "She's really stepping it up when we need her. She's a great server and plays really good defense. We're putting a lot on her and Sarah Nielson, who was fantastic, so two true freshmen who are saying bring it and I can handle the pressure."
Despite losing the first set, Scott continued to fire kill after kill. She showed the determination and a refuse-to-lose attitude of a veteran.
Scott had six of her kills and 10 of her digs in the second set as MSU began to make its comeback.
"You can't just roll over when you lose the first game," Scott said. "There's a lot more and you've got to move on to the future rather than the past.
"In the first game, we were trying to execute the gameplan and had to really feel it out, but in the second game, we knew what they were doing and nothing was going to change so we started executing and stayed confident."
The 21st kill for Scott came at match point. She was the most active Bulldog with 61 attacks.
As her numbers indicate, Scott likes to be known as the type of player that can provide whatever MSU needs to be successful.
"To be a great volleyball player, you have to be versatile," Scott said. "You have to be a passer, a server and you have to kill the ball so that's going to help your team. It's not just putting away the ball."
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