OXFORD, Miss. – Sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair tied an Ole Miss volleyball single-match record with nine block assists Saturday afternoon at the Gillom Sports Center, and the Rebels (4-2) topped Arkansas State 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 25-23) in the final match of the Magnolia Invitational.
“I was pleased with the way we responded to last night’s loss,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “The kids did a great job of bouncing back and playing a very scrappy Arkansas State team. If we didn’t do the things we did today we would have ended up with a flip of the score. I’m really pleased with the team and how they handled it.”
In addition to her nine block assists, Clair also had a team-high 13 kills on a .440 attacking percentage to round out her phenomenal offensive and defensive match.
“Nakeyta kind of came into her own again, getting a little more comfortable with her connection to the setter, and also did a great job blocking,” Getzin said.
Tied 8-8 in the first set with five lead changes, Ole Miss went on a 5-1 run to take a 13-9 lead, and led by at least two for the remainder of the set to win 25-19 and take a 1-0 lead in the match. Clair had four kills and three block assists in the set to lead Ole Miss.
Following a 25-22 loss in the second set, Ole Miss responded to win a hard fought third set 25-19. The back-and-forth third set saw nine ties and seven lead changes before the Rebels broke open a 15-15 tie with a 4-0 run.
The fourth set was similar to the opening three sets as the two teams had seven lead changes and 10 ties. Ole Miss was down 21-20 late in the fourth set, but regrouped following a timeout to go on a 4-1 run to grab three match points. After the visiting Red Wolves scored two points to narrow the Rebels’ lead to one, freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow hammered down the final kill to give Ole Miss the 25-23 win.
Ole Miss will take the court again Friday in a doubleheader against Grambling State and Stephen F. Austin in Fort Worth, Texas, as part of the TCU Tournament. The Rebels will close out play in the tournament Sept. 14 against Houston and tournament-host TCU.
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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