Rebels Top Mississippi State 3-1
They say there's no place like home. For Ole Miss setter Amanda Philpot, that sentiment rang true Friday night as she recorded her second triple-double in four home matches this season to lead the Ole Miss volleyball team (7-5, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) to a 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-23, 25-12) victory over Mississippi State in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Gillom Sports Center.
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss volleyball team will hit the road for the final time this season as it takes on intrastate rival Mississippi State and Arkansas.
The Rebels (10-15, 4-12 Southeastern Conference) will go for the season sweep against Mississippi State (4-21, 0-16 SEC) on Friday at 7 p.m. CT. Ole Miss defeated the Bulldogs 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-23, 25-12) on Sept. 21. Ole Miss has won three of its last four matches against Mississippi State in Starkville.
Ole Miss will then face Arkansas (19-8, 10-6 SEC) on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT. The Rebels fell to Arkansas 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 21-25, 13-25) in their first meeting Oct. 7. The Razorbacks are currently second in the SEC’s Western Division.
“Going on the road in the SEC is extremely tough,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “Playing against Mississippi State is a continuation of the Egg Bowl for volleyball. We feel that State always plays well at the Newell-Grissom Building, and we’re looking forward to that challenge.
“Arkansas is a very talented team and we’re going to have to play our best against them in their facility.”
It was the first conference victory of the season for Ole Miss when the Rebels and Bulldogs got together earlier this season. Senior setter Amanda Philpot paced the Rebels with her second triple-double of the year, recording 40 assists, 12 digs and 10 kills in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Gillom Center. Two other Rebels finished with double-digit kills, including junior outside hitter Kara Morgan, who had a double-double with a team-high 15 kills and 11 digs. Senior libero Ashley Veach finished with a team-high 24 digs.
Against the Razorbacks, Ole Miss came out of the gates hot, winning the first set 25-22 as Philpot passed out 13 assists and Morgan had a team-high four kills in the opening frame. Arkansas responded in the next three sets, finishing the match with three players with double-digit kill totals. Philpot finished with a team-high 35 assists, Morgan had 14 kills and Whitney Craven had a team-high 12 digs.
The Rebels continue to be led offensively this season by Morgan, who is averaging a team-high 3.10 kills per set. Philpot has passed out 9.24 assists per set this season, and Veach is fifth in the SEC with a 4.33 digs per set average.
Freshmen middle blockers Nakeyta Clair and Ty Laporte continue to pour it on for the Rebels over the final month of the season. Over the last five weeks, Clair and Laporte each rank inside the top three on the team in kills, and are the top two block leaders on the team over the nine-match stretch.
For the season, Clair is second in the SEC among freshmen with a 0.97 blocks per set average this season, and Laporte is second in the league among freshmen with a hitting percentage of .314.
The Bulldogs are fourth in the league in digs per set with 16.30. Mississippi State freshman libero Roxanne McVey leads the SEC, and is 17th nationally, with 5.60 digs per set.
Arkansas checks in at No. 25 in the latest NCAA RPI, and has won five of its last seven matches. As a team, Arkansas ranks in the top five of the SEC in opponent’s hitting percentage, assists and kills. Razorbacks senior outside hitter Jasmine Norton is the SEC’s active career kills leader with 1,718.
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, including live stats, recaps and results, go to OleMissSports.com. Follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and go to Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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