The Mississippi State University women's volleyball team started their season on their home court in Newell-Grissom on Saturday against the Razorbacks where the Bulldogs fought to five sets but were not able to pull out a win.
In the first set of the match, the Bulldogs got the first point after a serve from Margaret Dean, a graduate student setter from Bedford, Texas, followed by a kill from junior middle blocker and right side hitter Gabby Waden. The 5'10" hitter spoke in a press conference after the match about how it felt to be back on the court for the start of the SEC volleyball season.
"I thought it was very exciting," Waden said. "Me coming back into my role of just being a point scorer and me being the first point of the season is really just exciting for me."
Waden and her teammates fought hard throughout their first set of the season, coming out with it in their pockets. They took the Razorbacks 25-18 in the first set, followed by a loss in the second set of 25-15. In the third set, the game was back and forth until Arkansas' Jillian Gillen took the last kill of the match to take that set from the Bulldogs with a close score of 25-23.
For the fourth set, the Bulldogs pulled out a 25-23 win of their own, forcing a fifth set to break the 2-2 tie. During the fifth and final set of the night, the Razorbacks started out strong by taking the first three points with kills. One of Arkansas' players, Taylor Head, showed out in her first collegiate match with 16 kills.
"I was nervous at first, but once I was out there with my teammates, it felt so natural," Head said in a press release. "I'm so proud of everyone for continuing to push through the first five-setter of the season, and we are so excited for tomorrow and the rest of the fall!"
The Razorbacks ended up winning the final set of the night with a final score of 15-11, thus winning the match for the night. The Bulldogs and Razorbacks matched up again on Sunday, where the Bulldogs lost another all-out battle of five sets .
The next match for the MSU volleyball team will take place at Louisiana State University, where the Bulldogs will battle the Tigers on Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. and again the next day at the same time. This will continue their SEC play for their shortened season.
Although the Bulldogs took a loss during the games, Head Coach Julie Darty-Dennis spoke highly of her team and said how grateful she was for the opportunity to be back on the court for the SEC play they feared they would lose because of the pandemic.
"This is the way we open our season with a five set all-out battle against Arkansas," MSU head coach Darty-Dennis said after Saturday's match. "I think that sets the tone for us this year that, you know, anything's possible. We're just going to have to fight and compete every single match."