OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss volleyball team will play under the bright lights Wednesday evening in a showdown with intrastate rival Mississippi State in Starkville. The match will begin at 7 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPNU.
“They’re very similar to us statistically and record-wise, as well,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “It doesn’t really matter when you play your in-state rival, it’s always going to be a tough match. We’re also really excited to play on national TV Wednesday night.”
Adam Amin will handle the play-by-play duties for Wednesday’s broadcast, while Maria Taylor will provide the analysis.
Ole Miss (11-12, 1-9 Southeastern Conference) has won five of its past six meetings with Mississippi State (11-13, 2-8 SEC), including a season sweep of the Bulldogs one year ago. The Rebels are 1-1 against Mississippi State in televised matches dating back to 2010.
Sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair had a fantastic match last season against Mississippi State in Starkville. Clair led the Rebels to a 3-0 victory that night with a team-high 11 kills, two solo blocks and four block assists. Clair’s 11 kills came on 18 attacks and did not include an error (.611).
Clair leads the team this season in hitting percentage (.298) and blocks (1.22 blocks per set), and is second on the team in kills (2.32 kills per set). Clair has followed up her all-freshman campaign from a year ago with another impressive season this year. The Country Club Hills, Ill., native is currently third on the single-season solo blocks list at Ole Miss (21), fourth in block assists (79) and third in total blocks (100). Clair’s 1.22 blocks per set average in all matches this year is No. 3 in the SEC.
Fellow sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte leads the Rebels in all matches with a 2.53 kills per set average. In conference action, freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow has paced Ole Miss with 2.64 kills per set. Freshman setter Aubrey Edie is passing out 9.14 assists per set in SEC play, the most among first-year players.
Mississippi State head coach Jenny Hazelwood is in her fifth season at the helm in Starkville. Hazelwood’s Bulldogs have been led by sophomore libero Roxanne McVey, who is averaging 5.35 digs per set, the second-highest mark in the league. As a team, Mississippi State is No. 2 in the SEC in digs with an average of 17.07. Freshman right side hitter Kimmy Gardiner has led the Bulldogs’ attack with 4.07 kills per set, which is the third-highest mark in the conference.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including recaps, live stats and results, go to OleMissSports.com. Fans can also follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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