OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics/WTVA) - Two nights after setting an attendance record in Gillom Athletics Performance Center, Ole Miss volleyball shined on Sunday, downing in-state rivals Mississippi State 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-18) in front of the largest attended crowd in facility history of 1,207 fans.
Ole Miss improves to 12-11 on the year and 2-7 in league play, while State drops 5-17 and 1-8 in the SEC.
The Rebels were paced by a trio of double-digit kill performances, including a career day from sophomore middle Bayleigh Scott, who turned in career-best 15 kills on a .519 hitting efficiency, adding four blocks and registering another career-high with 17.5 points.
Junior Emily Stroup collected 17 kills and senior Caitlin Wernentin added 11, both hitting at a .308 clip.
"This was an important match for our university, and to be able to win the way we did today feels amazing," head coach Steven McRoberts said. "We didn't come out with our best and give credit to State, they put pressure on us."
"The middles did a great job controlling the net, and when our middles are playing like that, it means we're also passing well, so we did a nice job in serve/receive and in transitions."
Ole Miss couldn't break out of a sluggish start, allowing the Bulldogs to an early advantage with a 5-0 run and taking eight out of 11 points to build a hefty six-point lead. MSU stayed in control for the remainder of the frame, taking the opening stanza 25-18.
In a reversal from the first round, it was the Rebels who widened the gap early. After securing the first three points, Ole Miss followed up with a 4-0 run (including a pair of Stroup kills) and build an eight-point advantage at 12-4 and maintained the lead up 17-10 as the set progressed.
MSU began to chip away, taking five of the next six points and inching to within one on two separate occasions. The Rebels regrouped, picking up the final three points courtesy of a Stroup slam and blocks from Scott and classmate Leah Mulkey.
Even at one game apiece, the third frame again found the Rebels with some early lightning, leading 7-1 and then adding cushion with a 6-0 run. Ole Miss sealed the set by earning the last four consecutive points, the final coming on a quick tip-over kill from sophomore setter Lauren Bars, to gain control of the match 2-1.
A pair of 4-0 runs and a five-point rally guided the Rebels in the fourth frame, leading by as many as seven late. The match was sealed on a slam from Stroup, who fired a rocket to the back corner to give Ole Miss the set 25-18 and the match 3-1.
Mulkey set a new career-high with five block assists, adding nine kills. Junior Nayo Warnell was also effective in the middle, tallying four rejections and adding eight kills on a .462 hitting percentage.
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