Sept. 3, 2011
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Mizzou volleyball team improved to 6-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Bash after defeating East Tennessee State, 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-20), on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 3) at the Murphy Center. Senior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) was the highlight of the match for Mizzou with 18 kills on .773 hitting. In all, Mizzou hit .386 in the win as the offense continues to play well during the nonconference slate.
Mizzou had 50 kills in the three sets (16.67 per set), which is a team-high in 2011 while ranking third among Big 12 teams in a three-set match this season. Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) did a phenomenal job quarterbacking the Tiger offense as she spread 43 assists - a Big 12 three-set best this season - on the 50 Tiger kills while helping the Tigers hit .386. Aside from Brimmage, both Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Katie O'Brien (Dallas, Texas) had great matches. Henning finished with a season-best 13 kills on and was one dig shy of a double-double with nine; she also hit .417 in the match. O'Brien tallied a career-best nine kills in the match as well.
Defensively, Mizzou was led by senior libero Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.), who finished with a match-high 15 digs. Freshman Jade Hayes (Ozark, Mo.) was spectacular and added nine digs and the Tiger block was led by freshman Whitney Little (Keller, Texas), who finished with four blocks. She continues to lead the Tigers with 30 blocks this season.
The first set began as a back-and-forth affair as neither team could pull away, but a kill from O'Brien sparked a 3-0 run for Mizzou, giving the Tigers a 14-11 lead. Kreklow and Brimmage tallied kills in that span as well. But the Tigers gave two points right back to the Bucs, but back-to-back kills from Brimmage and Henning extended the lead back to 16-13 and a kill from Wilson gave Mizzou at four-point cushion at 17-13. In all, Mizzou ran off 11 of 13 points to a 22-13 lead and eventually put the set away at 25-14 as it finished the set on a 14-3 run.
In all, Mizzou hit .469 in the first set and Brimmage was the highlight as she finished with 10 kills on 11 swings, good for a .909 attack percentage. Henning pitched in three kills in the set and O'Brien added two more. Kreklow assisted on 16 of 18 Tiger kills in the set as well, including on all 10 of Brimmage's kills. The Tiger defense, which struggled a little in the first two matches this weekend, was good in the first as it pulled in 13 digs, seven of which belonged to Armendariz.
Set two began much like set one as neither team pulled away, but Mizzou went on a 7-0 run behind the serving arm or Kreklow to build a 15-8 lead. Kreklow tallied two aces in that span and the Tiger offense continued to click on all cylinders. The Tigers also put up a big block in the set as it extended its lead to 18-9 while eventually pulling away with a 25-15 set win.
Henning led Mizzou with six kills on nine swings in the set without an error and O'Brien had four kills in the second, but the big story of the set was the Tiger block, which pitched in five in the set. Little led the Tigers with four in the frame. In all, Mizzou hit .333 in the second as it took at .403 attack percentage into the locker room at intermission.
After dominating through the first two sets, Mizzou fell behind early as the attack was not quite as crisp allowing ETSU to jump out to a 10-6 lead. But Mizzou rallied behind the play of Henning ad Brimmage and ultimately tied the set a 14 apiece. Things stayed tied until two-straight kills from Brimmage gave Mizzou a 20-18 lead. The Tigers dominated down the stretch and took the third set, 25-20, clinching their sixth sweep of the season.
Mizzou will play again against Florida International in at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.