Ole Miss Volleyball hosted the Rebel Invitational over the weekend and came out on top in all four of its matches, taking down Samford, Ohio State, Arkansas-Little Rock and Southern Miss.
“It was a very competitive tournament, so for us to come away from it 4-0 is a great accomplishment,” head coach Steven McRoberts said.
In their first sweep of the season, the Rebels defeated Samford 3-0 Friday morning to open the weekend (25-18, 25-15, 25-20). Junior Emily Stroup led the team with 13 kills on a .357 hitting percentage. Senior Caroline Adams recorded 10 digs and three assists, and freshman Aubrey Sultemeier finished with four kills, three blocks and one assist.
The Rebels won Friday’s second match in a 3-2 thriller against Ohio State (27-29, 25-17, 25-14, 22-25, 15-13). The crowd was electric, and the game went down to the wire. Stroup sent pivotal kills down the stretch to help the Rebels edge out a narrow victory.
Stroup finished with a season-high 23 kills as well as 16 digs, one block and one assist in an impressive performance. Junior Jordan Fate and sophomore Lauren Bars each had more than 20 assists in the game, with 25 and 22, respectively. Bars also contributed three blocks and three aces, attacking the Ohio State defense on every serve. Sultemeier recorded eight kills, seven blocks and one dig, finishing with a .417 hitting percentage.
“The gym was loud, everybody was cheering and I’m sure that was a good push for our
team,” assistant coach Ronaldo Pacheco said.
Ole Miss defeated Arkansas-Little Rock 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-21, 25-21) on Saturday. Stroup recorded 18 kills, nine digs, one block and one assist in another strong performance. Sophomore Leah Mulkey finished with 11 kills, nine digs and one assist. Sophomore Bayleigh Scott played one of her best games of the season and recorded 10 kills, three blocks, three digs and one assist. Adams led the team with 16 digs, while Bars and Fate both recorded more than 20 assists again, with 25 and 23, respectively. Fate also finished with 11 digs in the game.
The Rebels capped off the unbeaten weekend with a 3-2 win against Southern Miss (27-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-25, 15-10) on Sunday. Stroup finished with 20 kills, 10 digs, one block and one assist. Sultemeier recorded 11 kills on a .391 clip along with seven blocks in a dominant performance. Senior Caitlin Wernentin had 11 kills and two blocks. Bars recorded 25 assists, four kills, two blocks and one dig. Junior Nicole Purcell also chipped in 10 digs and one assist. Adams again led the team in digs with 14 to go along with four assists and two aces.
“We battled through some ups and downs in our play throughout the weekend, but we kept our composure late in fifth sets and won the big points when it mattered,” McRoberts said. “I am proud of this team and the start that we’re off to this season.”
The Rebels improved to 6-1 on the season after this weekend’s tournament and look to keep the momentum going as they move along in their nonconference schedule. Ole Miss’ next games will come in the Georgia State tournament over the weekend, where the Rebels will play Chicago State, Sam Houston State and Georgia State.