Volleyball: Rebels Route Stephen F. Austin in First Round of NIVC

Rebels play strong offense at the net. Photo by Elyse Lenaburg

The Rebels swept Stephen F. Austin in three sets to win the first round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. The quick, clean win was also Ole Miss Volleyball’s first postseason win in program history.

“I’m just very proud of these young ladies and the hard work that they put in all season and to see them so excited to get that win tonight. Especially on our home court, it’s just really rewarding for our program,” Head Coach Steven McRoberts said.

From the first serve, the Lumberjacks and the Rebels volleyed back and forth, building suspense from the crowd and momentum behind the ball. Ole Miss capitalized offensively at the net and took off with the lead. By the first called timeout, Ole Miss was leading 18-8 and went on to win the set 25-12.

Standout seniors Lexi Thompson and Kate Gibson both had an impressive night. Gibson reached her 21st double-double on the season, racking up 15 kills and 12 digs. Thompson was not far behind, totaling 13 kills.

The Rebels, as a whole, played consistently from start to finish. Defensively, there were a lot of great touches at the net. The blocking slowed the ball down and visibly frustrated the hitters from SFA.

Ole Miss sealed sets two and three with aggressive offense, hitting the ball with direction and strength and staying alert on defense by blocking and digging all night. Final set scores in the Rebels’ favor were set 2: 25-21 and set three: 25-19.

Next up in the tournament for Ole Miss is Arkansas State. Earlier in the season, Arkansas State swept the Rebels, but with momentum from tonight’s win and the home court advantage, the Rebs have a chance to redeem themselves.

On the rematch, Coach McRoberts said, “You don’t get many chances to get a rematch with a non-conference school, and so the fact that they beat us gave us some motivation. I’m glad we get to play at home this time.”

Ole Miss hosts the Red Wolves tomorrow, November 30th. Game time is 6 p.m.

By Elyse Lenaburg, Social Media Editor of HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at elyse.lenaburg@hottytoddy.com

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