Bulldogs hold competitive volleyball scrimmage

White team members Khristian Carr, left, and Deja Robinson listen to instruction during a timeout of Sunday's Maroon-White Scrimmage at Newell-Grissom Building.

Staff Writer

It's less than a week now before the Mississippi State Bulldogs open the 2018 volleyball season under new head coach Julie Darty.

The Bulldogs enter this week's preparation for the season opener against Mississippi Valley State on Friday with an idea of where they stand after Sunday's Maroon-White Scrimmage at the Newell-Grissom Building.

After the White Team won a competitive 3-2 (23-25, 20-25, 25-16, 25-20, 15-6) match against the Maroon White, it gave MSU a chance to work out some kinks.

"Overall, it was pretty cool to feel the energy and there were definite momentum swings," Darty said. "You could feel that energy and it was pretty obvious when we went on the point swings like that. Overall, pretty happy about the level across the board. There are bright spots for sure with some of our younger players."

The winning White Team used eight players, while the Maroon Team put nine players on the court.

Darty was interested to see how the Bulldogs would respond with the lights on and the fans watching.

"I think we got out jitters (Sunday) and there was a little bit of nervous energy from some of these kids playing under the bright lights so I hope the jitters got out and we'll be 100 percent dialed in and ready to get after it," Darty said.

AJ Koele led the White Team with 28 kills and Gabby Zgunda led both teams with 25 digs. Taylor Hoskins paced the Maroon Team with 14 kills.

Hoskins liked the close nature of the match and believes it will benefit MSU moving forward.

"I thought the teams both played really, really well," Hoskins said. "It shows us what we need to work on moving forward into the season. It was just a little friendly competition to end two-a-days."

The Starkvegas Classic will begin Friday and the Bulldogs play the Delta Devils at 11 a.m.

Two-a-day practices are over and classes start on Wednesday so Darty knows MSU enters a new phase of the season.

"I'm just excited to get somebody else across the net that's not in maroon or white," Darty said. "That's when hopefully we can really find ourselves and find our true identity.

"We don't have any more two-a-days. This week is just a normal practice and business as usual. We'll get prepared for our Friday, Saturday and Sunday home opener."