Mississippi State Volleyball Unveils 2021 Schedule
Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, July 14, 2021
STARKVILLE – With 45 days until first serve, Mississippi State volleyball announced its 2021 schedule Tuesday (July 13).
MSU’s schedule features five opponents who competed in the 2020 NCAA Volleyball Championship; non-conference opponents Georgia Tech and Jackson State and SEC foes Florida, Missouri and defending national champion Kentucky.
“We are very excited about the schedule we have put together for this fall,” MSU head volleyball coach Julie Darty Dennis said. “From our exhibition match against Southern Miss to each opponent we have scheduled before we start conference play, we have set up a really tough schedule to challenge our team and get us ready for the always tough SEC.
“We have an experienced group of student-athletes and believe that they are up to the challenge. It will be tough, but I think it will get us ready for conference play and put us in a good position. We are always focused on our goal of making the NCAA Tournament, and we feel that this schedule will help us get to the postseason if we can take care of business on the court. We are excited to play so many tournament-caliber teams.”
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced SEC programs to play a conference-only schedule stretching from fall 2020 to spring 2021, the volleyball slate has returned to its normal fall format. The Bulldogs will play four non-conference tournaments before transitioning into conference play with a series against Florida beginning September 23.
State will host two of those tournaments in the Newell-Grissom Building, bookending its non-conference schedule. To open the campaign, MSU welcomes Southeastern Louisiana and Gonzaga in the StarkVegas Classic, August 27-28. From September 16-18, the Bulldogs will take on Syracuse, South Alabama and Jackson State at The Griss in the Hail State Invitational.
During the second weekend of the season, MSU will travel to Houston, Texas, to participate in the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup, where it will face McNeese State, host Houston and ULM between September 3-4. The next weekend, the Bulldogs travel east to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech Classic where it will be tested against Indiana, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma.
The regular season conference schedule consists of 18 matches in which each member institution will play each other at least once. It features six two-match series and six singular contests.
Of note, State will face defending national champion Kentucky on Wednesday, October 6, on the road in Memorial Coliseum. After sweeping the two-match series at The Griss in February, State will travel to Oxford to take on in-state rival Ole Miss on Sunday, October 17. MSU’s regular season is set to conclude on Friday, November 26, when the Bulldogs welcome Auburn to the Newell-Grissom Building.
MSU will look to continue its climb up the SEC standings in year four of the Julie Darty Dennis era. State finished 5-15 in the conference-only 2020-21 slate, helped on by All-SEC right side hitter Gabby Waden and SEC All-Freshman team member Lilly Gunter, who are both returning for the 2021 campaign.
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