MSU rallies for five-set volleyball win over Auburn


Mississippi State's volleyball team celebrates Wednesday night's win over Auburn.

By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

It could have been very easy for the Mississippi State Bulldogs to throw in the towel during Wednesday night's Southeastern Conference home volleyball match against the Auburn Tigers.

After going down 2-0 to Auburn, MSU was faced with quite an uphill battle.

The Bulldogs showed that they were up to the challenge.

MSU rallied to win three-straight sets to pull out the victory 3-2 at Newell-Grissom Building and ended a five-match losing streak.

It was the best win to date in the coaching career of Julie Darty with the Bulldogs.

"We've been waiting for that breakthrough," Darty said. "I think this was our breakthrough and I am so happy it happened so early so maybe we can push the limits even more.

"We've talked about smalls steps, but I thought tonight was a big step. We just stayed with it and stayed the course. We've talked a lot about the process. We really stayed the process, battled and it was really beautiful to see."

MSU dropped the first set 25-21 and the second set 25-12. The Bulldogs went down 3-1 early in the third set and it appeared the match was slipping away from them at that point.

An ace by Deja Robinson gave MSU a 4-3 lead and the momentum of the match began to swing in the favor of the home team. The Bulldogs went on to win the third set 25-21, then also claimed the fourth set 25-23 as Paige Shaw clinched it with an ace.

"We just know we have nothing to lose and it's all out," Shaw said. "We just play all out to try and get the win.

"The first two games didn't go out way, but we picked it up. We worked together and found what was working and just executed way better."

In a close fifth set, MSU secured the 15-13 victory on a kill by Shaw, who is an Alabama native from Hoover.

Shaw had a career-high 18 kills for the Bulldogs and also contributed four digs, four blocks and one ace. Amarriah Cooks added 10 kills and three blocks, while Kendall Murr chipped in four aces and 19 digs, Robinson had six kills and Morgan Kath contributed 19 assists.

MSU improved to 5-11 overall and 1-2 in SEC play. The Bulldogs will not play again until they host Kentucky on Oct. 5.

"We go on a nice long break," Darty said. "We've got to get back in practice and fix some stuff, but this is a good breakthrough to find the confidence they needed."

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