The Auburn volleyball team put up a tough fight, but they lost to the Mississippi State Bulldogs 3-2. The Tigers now sit at 7-6 on the season and 0-3 in SEC play.
Set one started in the Bulldogs’ favor when they took a 6-3 lead. Anna Stevenson and Gwyn Jones made some big blocks which kick-started a seven point run that got Auburn ahead, 14-9. Auburn got up nine points at 20-11, but Mississippi State came back to make it 20-17. Auburn prevailed and won set one, 25-21.
The Tigers kept the pressure on the Bulldogs when they took an early 8-2 lead in set two. A kill from Taylor Rowland sent the Tigers off on another run for a 16-8 lead. Auburn won the set 25-12 on a block from Mica Allison and Chesney McClellan.
Set three had a slower start, but kills from Stevenson, Rowland and Brenna McIlory got Auburn ahead, 11-8. Errors from the Tigers gave the Bulldogs a chance to come back and take a 12-11 lead. The Tigers came back to retake that lead at 17-15. A kill from McIlroy gave the Tigers a 20-17 lead, but the Bulldogs came back to get ahead, 22-20. Mississippi State won its first set of the match, 25-22.
Auburn had the early advantage in set four, but MSU went on a seven-point streak to take a 10-6 lead. The Bulldogs stayed ahead until Auburn fought back with two three-point runs to jump ahead 19-18. Tough serving from the Bulldogs gave them back their momentum, and they won the set, 25-23.
Set five was a back and forth battle between the teams. It saw seven ties and three lead changes. The Tigers went up first at 5-3, but the Bulldogs came back to take the lead at 7-5. Kills from Jones and McIlroy got Auburn ahead again with a 11-10 lead. MSU took a 12-11 lead and held on for a 15-13 win.
"We didn't stay mentally tough," said Auburn head coach Rick Nold. "We came out really strong both offensively and defensively in the first two sets but let the little things really affect our game in the end."
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The Tigers played well defensively, having 13 blocks total for the match. Stevenson led the group with nine, a career best. Jones had five, while Allison and McIlroy had three each.
On the offensive side, McIlroy hit 19 kills, while Jones had a season-high 17 of her own. Stevenson had 10, and Rowland finished with nine. Allison had a career high 54 assists.
Three Tigers had double-digit digs. Bella Rosenthall dug up 17. Payton White tied her career high with 14, and Karis Beasley had 11 in the match.
The Bulldogs were led by Paige Shaw who had 18 kills. Their libero Kendall Murr had 19 digs and four service aces. Amarrah Cooks finished the night with 10 kills.
Next, the Tigers will take on Ole Miss in Oxford on Sunday, Sept. 30. The game is set to start at 2 p.m. CT and will broadcast on the SEC Network.
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