A historic season for the Mississippi State volleyball team came to a painful end Friday night in Seattle.
The Bulldogs (25-6) lost their first-ever NCAA tournament match in five sets to Hawai’i at Washington’s American Airlines Arena. Set scores were 17-25, 25-14, 25-13, 21-25 and 15-11 in favor of the Rainbow Wahine (22-7).
Mississippi State won the opening set and fought back to capture the fourth set after dropping the second and third. But Hawai’i took an early lead in the decisive fifth set and went on to win.
The Rainbow Wahine broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth set and scored the next three points, a big enough advantage to hold on for the victory.
Right-side hitter Gabby Waden led the Bulldogs with 20 kills. Lauren Myrick had 10, and Shania Cromartie had five.
For Hawai’i, Amber Igiede led the way with 18 kills, while Brooke Van Sickle had 16 and Skyler Williams had 12.
The Rainbow Wahine hit .290 as a team to the Bulldogs’ .189 mark. Hawai’i will face the winner of Friday night’s match between No. 15 Washington and Brown.
Mississippi State finished at 25-6 and 16-2 in Southeastern Conference play under coach Julie Darty Dennis. The Bulldogs broke into the AVCA top 25 for the first time ever and finished the regular season on a 13-game winning streak, winding up in second place in the SEC standings.
Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.