Sept. 3, 2011
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Mizzou volleyball team earned its second win of the day after sweeping Florida International, 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-14), on Saturday night (Sept. 3) at the Murphy Center in game seven of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Bash. The win improves the Tigers to 7-1 on the season and 3-0 in the Blue Raider Bash. Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) continued her fine play in the tournament with nine kills on .600 hitting to pace the Tiger attack.
Defensively, the Tigers were very good on Saturday and the match with FIU was proof. The Tigers finished with a season-high 12.0 blocks and 39 digs while holding FIU to .069 hitting in the match. Freshman Jade Hayes (Ozark, Mo.) was outstanding in the back row with a career-best 12 digs while senior libero Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) pitched in eight more. The Tigers were aced just once on Saturday night.
The offense was anchored by setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) who set the Tigers to a .301 attack percentage, including a .455 mark in the third set alone. She assisted on 30 of the Tigers' 35 kills in the match and posted a career-best seven blocks in the match. Aside from Brimmage, sophomore Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) had a nice match with eight kills while freshman Katie O'Brien (Dallas, Texas) added seven more. Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) posted five blocks in the match as she now has 35 this season, making her the quickest Tiger freshman under Wayne and Susan Kreklow to get to 35 blocks in a season; she also hit .429 with four kills. Classmate Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) also pitched in five kills on the night.
The first set was very competitive in the early stages, but the Tigers eventually built a 12-9 lead behind the play of Little and Wilson and a stingy defensive effort on the back row before letting FIU back into the set at 13 all. Mizzou then scored three of the next four points, the last of which came after a spectacular defensive play by Henning that transitioned into an O'Brien kill to give Mizzou a 17-14 lead and force an FIU timeout. The run eventually went to 7-1 as Mizzou built a 20-14 lead as it won the first set running away, 25-17, scoring 12 of the set's final 16 points.
In all, the Tiger attack was balanced in the first as six different attackers posted kills. Mizzou finished with 16 kills on .387 hitting in the set, highlighted by four from both Brimmage and Little. Brimmage hit .667 in the set with four kills on six swings while Little was even better with four kills on just five attacks. Kreklow dished 13 assists on the 16 Tiger kills in the first while pitching in two kills of her own. Hayes pulled in a team-high five digs in the set.
Mizzou struggled with its attack in the early stages of set two as it fell behind 5-1. But the Tigers rallied to eventually take an 11-8 lead, going on a 10-3 run due in large part to an imposing block that forced plenty of hitting errors from the Panthers. Mizzou extended its lead as FIU continued to struggle on the attack and eventually claimed set two, 25-21, on a set-ending kill from Henning.
Mizzou did not hit very well in the second as the offense had just eight kills, due in large part to an FIU attack that struggled to keep the ball in play with 12 attack errors. In all, Brimmage led Mizzou through two sets with five kills on .500 hitting while Hayes continued to shine in the back row with eight digs through two sets. The Tiger block was the story of the second set with six blocks in the frame. O'Brien had three solo blocks in the second set alone.
Coming out of intermission, FIU cut down on its attack errors and took a 3-2 lead early in the set. But the Tigers rallied to cut the lead to 4-3 and then Little served up three straight aces and a kill from O'Brien gave Mizzou a 7-4 lead. The Tigers continued to cruise in the third as Brimmage and Henning were unstoppable as they helped the Tigers run out to a 12-7 lead. Mizzou continued to dominate the set from there and ended up winning the match-clincher, 25-14.
Mizzou will play in its final match of the Blue Raider Bash tomorrow at 12:30 against Auburn. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.