It was a victorious Friday night as Mississippi State University Volleyball took Auburn University in the fourth set to get them out of a losing streak and put an SEC win beside their name.
All three sets were back and forth, as both teams showed strength offensively and defensively. MSU head coach Julie Darty said she emphasized passing the ball and first contacts throughout the game.
“The first set, I thought it was very obvious that our game plans were very similar,” said Darty.
This proved true throughout the remaining three sets as well. The first set was taken by Auburn 25-19. MSU’s defense seemed lacking in this set but continued to pick up thought the game.
The second set was when Coach Darty said the energy of the Dawgs began to change when Auburn was up 9-2, as she spoke to her team and let them figure out how to take control of the game.
“I called a time out and I literally just told them they needed to make a decision and figure it out,” said Darty, “I walked away and let them figure it out amongst themselves.”
The second set was a close win of 25-22 for MSU. The last point of the set was scored off of a tipped ball by MSU’s Amarrah Cooks, a senior transfer from Columbia, South Carolina, that Auburn’s block misplaced.
The third set was a repeat of the second: another close back and forth battle at the net. MSU’s front row scored consecutive kills towards the end of the set, ending the set with a bigger margin of victory than the second set 25-15.
In the fourth set, MSU’s defense stood strong against Auburn. MSU went on to win the final set 25-16 with a kill from Callie Minshew, a freshman outside hitter from Brandon.
“This was a total team win," Darty said. “They made the choice that they were going to win tonight. They found that fight and just never stopped. It was a really cool thing to watch and be a part of. I’m just really proud of them.”
Paige Shaw, a sophomore outside hitter from Hoover, Alabama, seemed to be multifunctional around the court but said she felt stronger offensively.
“I think we started off a little show, but we picked it up, and we really leaned on each other to get energy,” Shaw said.
This was the team's first SEC win of the season. Gabby Wade, a sophomore middle blocker from Columbia, South Carolina said it was an important moment in the season.
“We got that win and being a part of that is just so amazing and a blessed opportunity," Wade said.
MSU has won three straight home matches against Auburn, and the victory was a welcomed relief for the team.
“It’s awesome because we had such a good non-conference season with 11 wins,” said Darty. “To actually get a real win next to our name, it’s one of those moments where you feel like you can finally take a breath.”
The team has around one month of play left, many of which are SEC games. The team’s performance against Auburn will set the tone for the remainder of their season.
“We just proved that we can hang with the best in the SEC,” Wade said. “So, the confidence is there. We just have to go in and play hard."