Sept. 4, 2017
STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Louisiana Tech women's volleyball team put up a late rally, but dropped a 3-0 decision to Mississippi State Monday evening at the Newell-Grissom Center. Tech (1-5) faced an uphill battle after the Bulldogs (5-3) staked victories in both the first and second frames. In the third, the Techsters battled throughout, leading 15-14 midway through, but an 8-2 final run for Mississippi State ruined any chance of a Tech comeback.
"We had some chances tonight, but we did not capitalize on them," head coach Adriano de Souza noted. "I know the players felt they could have done better. They care for each other and I know they will recover from tonight and be ready for their next matches at home."
Marta Monne and Gina Cortesi led the offense with eight kills apiece. Newcomer Marie-Helene Verlinden was the most efficient Tech hitter of the evening, cashing in on three of her four attempts. Sophomore setter Courtney Rutledge stepped in for her first start and contributed an 18-assist (new career-high), 10-dig double-double.
Mississippi State was led by Jelena Vujcin (16 kills, .375 hitting percentage) and Sara Maddox (10 kills on 31 attempts). Morgan Kath dished out a match-best 36 assists. The Bulldogs outhit the Techsters .245 to .099 on the evening.
In the first set, inconsistent serve/receive hurt the Lady Techsters, as MSU benefited from three service errors and struck for three aces in the frame. In her first start, Rutledge showed good composure early on, leading the squad with seven assists and five digs in set number one. The problems behind the service line were too much to overcome, however, and Tech dropped the first set 25-20.
The second set began with a 5-2 rush for the Techsters, propelled by kills from Cortesi, Madeline Davis and Verlinden. However, Mississippi State responded with nine straight points en route to staking an 11-5 advantage. Tech clawed back and got as close as three (14-11) but fell, 25-15 in the frame.
In the third, Tech battled back from an early deficit, drawing within one at 11-10. Tech took its first lead at 13-12 after a thunderous kill down the middle from freshman Carter Mirich, giving Tech some much-needed momentum. The points went back and forth between the teams until a 6-0 burst from the Bulldogs provided them with a 20-15 lead. Mississippi State would close out the frame by a 25-17 final and secured the sweep.
Tech will open its home season on Friday, hosting Arkansas-Pine Bluff to open the Lady Techster Invitational. Memphis and Sam Houston will also participate in the round-robin style tournament.
All Tech home matches can be streamed live with a subscription to CUSA.tv. and live stats can be found on the LA Tech Volleyball schedule page. For all the latest on Lady Techster Volleyball, be sure to follow us on Twitter at LATechVB.