Volleyball Cruises to Sweep of Mississippi State, Wins Bulldog Club Invitational
Sept. 13, 2008
STARKVILLE, Miss. -
Memphis (7-3) 25 25 25 Mississippi State (5-6) 14 15 22
University of Memphis freshman Carolyn Baker hammered down a match-high 10 kills and the Tiger offense put together one of its most efficient performances of the season to breeze to a sweep of Mississippi State and take home the MSU Bulldog Club Invitational title. Libero Christine Bach, setter Laura Côté and right side hitter Rebekah Strickland were all named to the all-tournament team. Côté was tabbed the Invitational's Most Outstanding Player.
Memphis quickly disposed of the home team, hitting .311 and holding MSU to a .012 hitting clip. Baker hit .467 in the contest. Emily Underwood continued her solid play in the middle, downing nine kills and rejecting eight Bulldogs attacks. Côté added four defense blocks to go with 29 assists for the Tigers. Lauren Thompson chipped in with eight kills and a .389 average. Katlin Inglish made a match-best 11 digs.
The Tigers jumped on the Bulldogs often and early in the opening set. A service ace by Baker combined with a trio of MSU hitting errors powered a four-point run that put Memphis up 6-1. A Tiger serving error broke the run, but Strickland connected with a Côté set on the next serve to ignite a 5-0 run to push the U of M lead to a commanding 11-2. The Tigers never let up, extending the lead to as many as 11 on two occasions in a 25-14 set one rout. MSU hit -.238 in the first set.
The second period was more of the same as Memphis surged ahead 7-2 on assisted blocks from Côté and Underwood. State kept things close at 13-9 before the Tigers put the set away with a 5-0 rally. With an 18-9 lead, the Tigers were able to cruise to a 25-15 win to take control of the match.
The final set was the most competitive one. Memphis held Mississippi State to .091 hitting, but had to battle from an early four-point deficit. Trailing 6-2 after an MSU kill, Inglish put away a kill and gave Memphis momentum for a strong 8-0 push. Underwood was an instrumental facet of the rally, striking for two kills, making three blocks and adding an assist. An ace by Inglish made it 10-6 in favor of the Tigers and another ace by Côté made it 14-8. Memphis maintained the six-point advantage at 23-17 before State made things interesting with a four-point swing for a 23-21 tilt. However, the Tigers smelled the title and got kills from Baker to end the contest.
Memphis will return to action on Thursday, Sept. 18, when it opens Conference USA play at UAB. First serve is set for 7 p.m.