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Mississippi State Athletics | November 5, 2020

Mississippi State volleyball gets historic upset on the road against No. 7 Texas A&M

Morgan Hentz's top plays in her NCAA tournament career

STARKVILLE  Mississippi State volleyball started the final half of its fall with a statement.

After going down 1-0 in Reed Arena, the Bulldogs (1-4, 1-4 SEC) bounced back with three-straight set victories to topple No. 7 Texas A&M (4-1, 4-1 SEC) in four frames. State's first win of the 2020 season was also its first victory against the Aggies in the 13-match series history and MSU's first win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 25 Kentucky on October 14, 2011.

"I am so proud of this team for a gutsy win in Bryan-College Station," MSU volleyball coach Julie Darty Dennis said. "We have been working on a lot of little things that really added up to some big things tonight."

The Bulldog defense was outstanding, besting the Aggies in digs (58-52), total team blocks (10-5) and hitting percentage (.226-.150). Callie Minshew (15 digs), Lilly Gunter (13) and Margaret Dean (13) all had double-digit digs efforts. Jessica Kemp led all players with six blocks.

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Offensively, junior Gabby Waden was the difference. MSU's right side hitter tallied a season-high 20 kills, her third 20-kill performance in her career. Waden was also extremely efficient, notching a .412 hitting percentage. The Columbia, S.C., native is averaging 3.59 kills per set on a .345 average this season.

"Knowing they were No. 7 in the country, I had something to prove," Waden said. "I made everything I did count. I knew my team was depending on me, so I took the pressure as a privilege to work hard and execute."

Bulldog setter Margaret Dean collected her third double-double of the season on 25 assists and 13 digs. The graduate transfer also tallied a career-high four service aces, which all came during an 8-0 run to open the third set.

For the Aggies, setter Camille Conner tallied 41 assists and 10 digs to complete a double-double. The Bulldogs held the Aggie attackers to a .150 hitting percentage. Coming into the match, the Aggies boasted a .252 mark, the fourth-best in the SEC.

First Set (Texas A&M 25, Mississippi State 21)

Mississippi State was the first team to earn a two-point advantage in the set, coming out of the media timeout with a 15-14 lead. Robinson blocked a Camille Conner attempt to give State a 16-14 lead. Texas A&M scored five of the next six points, however, and did not give up the lead.

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Robinson had three blocks in the opening set, including two solo blocks to move her into a tie for ninth on MSU's career solo block leaderboard with Lynn Ammeson (1983-84; 55).

Second Set (Mississippi State 25, Texas A&M 21)

After the Aggies won the opening point, MSU went on a 4-0 run finished by Jessica Kemp's second kill of the night. Texas A&M recovered however, and the two teams battled until the Aggies took a 15-13 lead at the media timeout. A Robinson kill and Minshew ace got State back square at 15-15, but Texas A&M won the next four points to build a lead to 19-15.

That didn't spell the end for State, however. The Bulldogs battled to close the gap, then finished the frame on a 6-0 run to tie the match at one set apiece. Gabby Waden was part of four of the final five points, with three kills and a block assist. Callie Minshew capped the set with a kill of her own.

Waden tallied six kills in the second set on a .556 mark.

Third Set (Mississippi State 25, Texas A&M 17)

Margaret Dean landed four service aces, including three straight, as State opened on an 8-0 run and the Bulldog setter beat her career-high within as many points. The Aggies pulled within two on a Ciara Hecht kill that made it 13-11, but State regained its composure, scoring seven of the next eight to regain the eight-point lead. The Bulldogs won the frame by eight, 25-17, its first lead by sets in 12 matches all-time against Texas A&M.

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Fourth Set (Mississippi State 25, Texas A&M 23)

Texas A&M led for a large portion of the fourth frame, but MSU battled back once again. After going down 15-10, State steadily trimmed the deficit and eventually tied the set at 20-20 on another kill by Waden. The two teams traded points, but Waden set up match point, 24-22 with another kill. Fittingly, her 20th, a laser down the line, clinched MSU's victory.

Up Next

Mississippi State and Texas A&M will finish the two-match series Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT in Reed Arena as the Bulldogs close their fall road slate. The contest can be streamed digitally on SEC Network+ or the Watch ESPN App.

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