Volleyball Closes Out Non-Conference Slate At Michigan Challenge

Published 1:59 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Mississippi State’s volleyball team closes out its non-conference slate this week when the Bulldogs square off against Bowling Green and Michigan at the Michigan Challenge.

MSU is set to battle Bowling Green from the Mid-American Conference on Thursday at 5 p.m. CT and Michigan from the Big Ten Conference on Friday at 6 p.m. Coverage of the tournament will be available via live stats on StatBroadcast.

“We are looking forward to our last weekend of non-conference,” head coach Julie Darty Dennis said. “We had a quick but productive couple days of practice and this group continues to impress me with their commitment to getting better for one another every single day.”

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The Bulldogs (7-1) posted a 5-0 mark during the first two weekends of the 2022 campaign and won two of three matches last weekend at the Maroon and White Invite.

Heading into the fourth weekend of the young season, MSU possesses a top five SEC mark in digs (16.75 – 1st), assists (13.71 – 2nd), kills (14.68 – 3rd) and hitting percentage (.289 – 4th). The Bulldogs have already had three players recognized as SEC Player of the Week in three different categories over the first three weekends and
five players recognized on All-Tournament teams over the past two weekends.

“I know we have some tough competition this weekend,” Dennis said. “I am hopeful that we can be the gritty, focused team that we want to be. This is a great weekend for us to get pushed before we head into the always tough conference schedule, so I am just really looking forward to seeing what we can do in Ann Arbor.”

Gabby Coulter has dished out 11.21 assists per set on the season, which ranks second among SEC setters. Coulter has captured a team-leading four double-doubles on the year with her last coming against South Alabama with 40 assists and 11 digs.

Gabby Waden has powered home 10-plus kills in all eight matches this season and boasts a team-leading 115 kills. Waden has clocked 4.11 kills on a .339 hitting percentage, while her 126.5 points are first on the squad.

Lauren Myrick, an All-Tournament selection at the Maroon and White Invite, has reached double digit kills in seven of her eight starts. She has compiled 3.54 kills, 2.36 digs and 0.36 aces per set. She popped off two doubles-doubles during last weekend’s tournament against Houston (14 kills, 11 digs) and South Alabama (11 kills, 15 digs).

Shania Cromartie has managed 2.28 kills and 2.00 digs per set. She tucked away her first double-double of the season with 10 kills to go along with 11 digs against Houston.

Deja Robinson and Sania Petties have ripped .444 and .419 hitting percentages, respectively, to rank third and fifth on the SEC leaderboard, while combining for 88 kills and 46 blocks. Their best combined effort was an 18-kill and 10-block performance against Ball State. Robinson has racked up five-plus blocks on three occasions.

Rebecca Walk, an All-Tournament selection from a weekend ago, has clocked 30 kills on a .429 hitting percentage and 12 blocks (0.86 blocks per set) on the season. Her .429 hitting percentage ranks fourth on the SEC leaderboard.

Lilly Gunter has spearheaded State’s back line with 4.46 digs, 1.32 assists and 0.29 aces per set. The 4.46 digs check second among SEC liberos. The Oviedo, Fla., native has collected 10-plus digs in seven of her eight matches this season.

For more information on the Bulldog volleyball program, visit HailState.com or search for “HailStateVB” on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.