Facing two match points in the third set and a 20-16 deficit during the fourth set, Mississippi State’s volleyball team dug deep to dial up a gritty 25-27, 16-25, 30-28, 25-21, 15-10 comeback victory over Ole Miss on Sunday afternoon at the Gillom Athletics Performance Center in Oxford.
The win vaulted the Bulldogs (14-5, 5-2 SEC) to their second RPI top 50 victory over the past five days and into a fourth-place tie with Arkansas in the SEC standings. The 5-2 start continues the best league start in program history and marked State’s third consecutive victory over the Rebels (13-5, 2-5 SEC).
“You could feel the rivalry in the building,” Bulldogs coach Julie Darty Dennis said. “It was intense in there. To pull a reverse sweep like this at their place is pretty fun. I never ever gave up on this group because I know what they’re made of. I know they’re tough and extend volleyball play as long as they can, especially in an away gym.”
Gabby Waden posted a career-high 31 kills, Lauren Myrick collected 13 kills in her return to the lineup, Margaret Dean dished out a career-best 36 assists, and Lilly Gunter added 17 digs coupled with a spotless 37-for-37 mark in the serve-pass game.
Waden pounded 24 of her 31 kills over the final three sets, ignited by 10 kills on 11 swings during the third set. The 31 kills are the most by an SEC player during a conference match this season. She has smacked 10-plus kills in all seven SEC matches, with 15 or more in six of her seven SEC outings.
Waden tallied her 31 kills on an efficient 44 swings en route to a .591 hitting percentage and tacked on 3 blocks.
Dean contributed 36 assists and 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the season, while Gabby Coulter came away with 24 assists and 7 digs.
Antonaki, Racine advance to regional semifinals
Mississippi State women’s tennis picked up five outstanding wins Sunday and will be represented in the semifinals of both singles and doubles at the ITA Southern Regionals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The 41st-ranked duo of Emmanouela Antonaki and Tamara Racine defeated Lillian Gabrielson and Reka Zadori of Ole Miss 8-7 (7-1).
Antonaki also had a fantastic day in singles play. The nation’s No. 22-ranked player took down Auburn’s Adeline Flach 7-5, 7-5, rallying from 4-0 down in the second set. She then defeated LSU’s Ena Babic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, winning six consecutive games to close the match.
Racine took early leads in both sets against 45th-ranked Carolyn Ansari of Auburn and finished with a 6-3, 6-3 win. She then fell to LSU’s No. 96 Safiya Carrington 6-4, 7-5.
In consolation matches, Alexandra Mikhailuk defeated Lillian Gabrielsen of Ole Miss 6-2, 6-4, while Marta Falceto dropped a nail-biter against Adela Wasserbauerova of UAB 2-6, 7-5, (10-7)
The semifinals for doubles play will begin at 9 a.m. today, when Antonaki and Racine will face Alabama’s Loudmilla Bencheikh and Anne Marie Hiser. The singles semifinals will be played at 1 p.m., when Antonaki will take on the No. 4 seed, 69th-ranked Tiphanie Fiquet of Ole Miss.
Hernandez collects main draw win on Sunday
Mississippi State’s Carles Hernandez picked up a second-round win in the main draw of the ITA Southern Regionals on Sunday in Auburn, Alabama..
Hernandez started the day by defeating Carles Anton of Troy 6-4, 6-1, then fell 6-4, 6-2 to the nation’s No. 11 player Finn Reynolds of Ole Miss.
Hernandez’s day was not done. He teamed with Alberto Colas in the doubles quarterfinals but lost 8-3 to Alabama’s Juan Martin and Filip Planisek.
The doubles match was also the second of the day for Colas. The No. 92-ranked singles player dropped his second-round match in the main draw to Rafael de Alba of Tulane 6-3, 7-5.
No. 27 Florian Broska beat Ole Miss’ Jakob Cadonau 6-2, 6-4 in his consolation match.
No. 54 Davide Tortora took his first consolation set 6-2 against Sebastien Collard of South Alabama only to see Collard rally in the next two 7-5, 6-3 for the victory. Gregor Ramskogler also came up short in his consolation match against 19th-ranked Tyler Stice of Auburn 6-0, 6-4.
MSU next will play in the ITF Tallahassee 15K on Oct. 23-31.
Lopez Ramirez finished in top 10 at Tar Heel Invitational
Freshman Julia Lopez Ramirez earned the second top-10 finish in her young career after shooting 5-under 211 over three days to tie for eighth at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Lopez Ramirez recorded the third-most birdies of the tournament with 13.
Mississippi State finished eighth with a three-day total of 4-over 868. The Bulldogs totaled 44 birdies, the fifth most of the 19 teams competing.
Hannah Levi carded a 1-under 215 to tie for 21st, while Abbey Daniel’s 6-over 222 to finish in a tie for 52nd.
Blair Stockett carded a three-day total of 8-over 224 to tie for 61st, and Lauren Miller rounded out the scoring for the Bulldogs by finishing tied for 75th with her 12-over 228.
Next time out, Mississippi State will be hosting The Ally on Oct. 25-27 at Old Waverly Golf Course in West Point.
Steely runs to top-20 finish at Princeton
Sydney Steely ran Princeton University’s 6.17-kilometer course in 22 minutes, 13.4 seconds to finish 20th at the Princeton Invitational on Saturday in New Jersey.
Mississippi State finished 11th as a team with 298 points. The host Tigers won the event with 39 points, followed by Dartmouth (99), Boston University (117), Stony Brook (124) and Monmouth (205).
Steely was followed by freshman Tekara Aimer, who crossed the line 61st in 23:25.9. Ava Weems (66th, 23:26.2) and Mary Beth Woodward (69th, 23:37.6) finished just 1.4 seconds apart. Hayley Ogle was State’s fifth scoring runner, finishing in 24:34.8 in 116th place.
The Bulldogs now turn their attention to the SEC Championship hosted by the University of Missouri. That meet will be run Oct. 29 in Columbia, Missouri.