Sept. 4, 2009
OREM, Utah - Despite a fine effort from junior middle hitter Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.), the Mizzou volleyball squad (3-1) fell, 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-22), to Washington State Friday (Sept. 4) at the Shurian Family Activity Center in the first match of the Utah Valley La Quinta Suites Invitational. Wilson led the Tigers with 12 kills while hitting .310 with two solo blocks and a block assist.
The first set saw the Cougars jump out to a quick 3-0 lead over Mizzou, but a kill on a tip shot from senior middle hitter Amanda Hantouli (Omaha, Neb.) sparked a 4-0 run on the service arm of libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.), who aced the Cougars for the Tigers' fourth point in the set. The teams went back and forth from there until Washington State built a 9-6 edge, forcing a Tiger timeout.
Mizzou ran a slide attack out of the timeout and Wilson buried a kill to pull the Tigers back within two. Wilson connected on each of her first two attacks, continuing her efficient hitting for the season. The Cougar lead was extended to six at 16-10 as the Tigers struggled to find their game early in the first frame. But with the score at 20-11, Mizzou ran off four straight points, punctuated by a block by Wilson and Lei Wang Francisco (Shanghai, China), which forced a Wazzu timeout with the score 20-15.
Sophomore defensive specialist Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) aced the Cougars out of the time out as the Tigers began to claw their way back into the set. In fact, Mizzou went on an 8-1 run to pull the score to 21-19, but the early hole proved to be too much to overcome as Mizzou fell in the first, 25-20.
Washington State hit .423 in the first in comparison to Mizzou's .154. The Cougars also finished with six more kills than the Tigers as they posted 16 in the first, which proved to be the difference in the set. Wilson led the Tigers with four kills on six errorless attacks, hitting .667. Six other Tigers tallied a kill in the first while they posted only five digs as a team.
Mizzou opened the second set with the same energy that they had during its 8-1 run in the first , running out to a 5-3 lead, due in large part to the play of Wilson and junior outside hitter Paola Ampudia (Cali, Columbia), who collected four of the Tigers' first five points in the set. The Tigers continued to ride that pair as they built an 11-9 advantage. The set continued and saw Washington State gain a two-point edge at 15-13 and the two teams traded blows from there until Wazzu went up 19-16, forcing a Mizzou timeout.
The Cougars continued to hold an edge through the rest of the set and took the second by the same score as the first, 25-20. Wilson once again shined in the second, posting five kills on 13 attacks with only one error, hitting at a clip of .308; she also pitched in a solo block. Wilson hit .421 with nine kills through the first two sets, both team-highs. Ampudia also added five kills in the set as the pair accounted for 10 of the team's 15 kills in the set. After only tallying five digs in the first, Mizzou collected 17 in the second, highlighted by four from Vann. Those 17 digs weren't enough to stifle the Cougar attack as they hit .350 in the second set.
Much like the second, Mizzou came out strong and built an early lead at 7-5, but Washington State fought back to gain a 9-8 edge. The Cougars continued to dominate at the net throughout the set as Meagan Ganzer, Jackie Albright and Brittany Tillman continued to attack the ball efficiently as the Tigers struggled to put a block at the net throughout the match. Although Mizzou pulled as close as 16-13, four straight points put the Cougars on top by seven at 20-13. At that point, freshman Kate Harris (Lee's Summitt, Mo.) entered the match at setter and ignited a Tiger rally that saw them pull within two at 21-19. After a pair of unlucky breaks, Mizzou fell 25-22 despite grinding out the last several points.
Ampudia was the next-best attacker to Wilson, adding eight kills on 21 attempts; she also added 14 digs, both of which are career-best numbers. Junior Weiwen Wang (Nanjing, China) added six kills while hitting a team-best .385 despite playing in only two sets. Julianna Klein (Omaha, Neb.) added seven kills while Vann added a team-best 12 digs, giving her four double-digit dig totals in each of the Tigers' matches this season. Harris finished the match with a career-best five assists in limited action while Wang-Francisco finished the match with 29 assists, seven digs and two kills.
Mizzou will play again tomorrow (Sept. 5) at 1 p.m. (CT) against host-school Utah Valley. They will then clash with No. 17 Utah at 5:30 p.m. (CT) in their final match of the tournament. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to www.MUTigers.com.