OXFORD, Miss. – Behind a fantastic performance from freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow, the Ole Miss volleyball team (3-1) cruised to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-10, 25-18) victory over Kennesaw State in the opening match of the Magnolia Invitational at the Gillom Sports Center.
Playing in their home opener, the Rebels fed off the energy of the crowd to take the match in three quick sets. The Rebels tallied a season-high hitting percentage of .311, and trailed just once throughout the entirety of the match.
“It’s great to be back home and put on a show for the young kids on School Day,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We play well at home and it was good to see that we played better today than last week. We’ve made some progress on some things.”
Sophomore setter Skylar Johnson passed out 34 assists, while freshman libero Kristen Brashear had a match-high 10 digs. Crow’s match-high 10 kills came on an impressive .500 attacking clip. Sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte had nine kills on a .412 attack percentage, while fellow sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair had six kills on a .625 clip, one solo block and three block assists.
The Rebels controlled the first set from the beginning. A four-point run and two five-point runs gave the Rebels a comfortable cushion at 16-4, and they finished off the set with a final score of 25-16. Laporte paced the Rebel attack in the first set with four kills, while Johnson had 13 assists.
Three separate four-point runs in the second set and a pair of three-point runs gave Ole Miss an emphatic 25-10 win in the second set as the Rebels hit at a .524 clip. Crow had four kills on six attempts and Laporte hammered down three more kills on just four attempts as the Rebels held KSU to a .000 hitting percentage.
Ole Miss jumped out to a 4-0 lead to open the third set. After KSU cut the Rebels’ lead to 7-5, Ole Miss went on a 5-0 run and led by at least four points for the remainder of the match. Sophomore outside hitter Seini Moimoi had a set-high four kills, while Crow added three more kills on five attempts. Johnson again passed out 13 assists while Brashear had nine digs.
Ole Miss has had great success in the Magnolia Invitational in the past. The Rebels have won the annual tournament seven times overall, including each of the past six years.
The Rebels will close out their Friday doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. CT when they take on Georgia Southern. Ole Miss will then face Arkansas State on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT to close out play at the Magnolia Invitational.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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