Sept. 5, 2009
OREM, Utah - Four Tigers posted double-digit kills as the Mizzou volleyball team topped Utah Valley 3-1 (25-20, 16-25, 25-21, 25-23) in the fourth match of the Utah Valley La Quinta Invitational at the Shurian Family Activity Center on Saturday (Sept. 5). The Tigers will play No. 17 Utah at 5:30 p.m. (CT) in their final match of the invitational.
"I thought we did a really nice job of recovering from last night and it was a total team effort today," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "I think after last night, we regrouped a little and became more focused and I thought it showed today. We showed the ability to battle back when we got down as well and we played the way that I expect this team to play."
Junior Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) led all Tiger attackers with 16 kills while hitting .286 while Rosa Medrano (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) added 15 as the pair dominated the left side of the net throughout the match. The middle hitter spot was also a key position for the Tigers as Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) and Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) combined for 23 kills, totaling 12 and 11, respectively. Brimmage's 12 kills are a career-best. The pair also accounted for seven blocks in the Tiger win. Those four players combined to tally 55 of the team's 70 kills and hit .360 to pace Mizzou.
The Tigers, who were sluggish during yesterday's match, got off to a quick start against the host Wolverines as they were able to build a 3-1 lead early in the first frame. Sophomore defensive specialist Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) kept several rallies alive for the Tigers in the early going and the Mizzou attackers were able capitalize. The teams traded blows from there until the score was knotted at 10. From that point, the Tiger service kept UVU out of system as Mizzou took advantage of several overpasses to build a 13-10 lead, highlighted by a pair of kills from Wilson. In fact, Wilson posted four kills on five attacks during that span.
The Wolverines clawed back into the set after a timeout as they pulled within one at 13-12. But a solo block from senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco
(Shanghai, China) put the Tigers back up by two at 14-12. The block also seemed to seize the momentum for the Tigers. After a long rally that ended with a kill from Julianna Klein
(Keota, Iowa), the Tigers found themselves on top, 16-13.
From there, Wilson, Klein and Medrano helped Mizzou build a 21-17 lead as the trio accounted for 11 of the Tigers' 13 kills at that point. Mizzou kept the pressure on and closed the set with a kill from Klein as it would claim the first frame, 25-20.
Wilson paced all attackers in the first, posting seven kills while hitting .455 while Klein added four kills on eight errorless attacks. Medrano was next best on the team with three kills while Wang-Francisco and Amanda Hantouli (Omaha, Neb.) each added a kill. Libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) finished with a team-high five digs as the Tiger back row collected 12 in the set. Mizzou hit .364 in the first in comparison to UVU's .185.
Mizzou continued its efficient attack in the second set as the team did not commit an attack error on its first 19 attempts of the set. Despite the errorless attack and a .415 match hitting percentage, Mizzou still found itself down 16-13. From there, the Tigers struggled to find their stride as UVU rallied behind its hometown crowd and finished the set on a 9-3 run, winning 25-16 and knotting the match heading into intermission.
Despite hitting .300 in the set, highlighted by five errorless kills from Brimmage, the Tigers struggled to slow the Wolverine attack as UVU hit .423 in the frame. The two teams combined to commit only 16 errors in the first two sets as both were hitting better than .300 as they headed to the locker room.
With the score at 7-5 in the third, the longest rally of the match came that saw plenty of athletic plays - in particular from Annie Lopez (St. Louis, Mo.) and Vann - to keep the point alive. Ultimately, a kill from Klein ended the rally and pulled Mizzou within one. Even more importantly, that rally gave Mizzou some much-needed momentum. That point sparked a 7-3 Tiger run which culminated in a kill from Wilson that gave Mizzou a 12-10 edge. The third set continued to see plenty of exciting rallies as the teams traded points, but that two-point lead stayed intact, forcing a UVU timeout at 18-16. The Tigers would hold that lead and the set ended after Wang-Francisco dumped on two to catch the Wolverines napping, earning Mizzou the set, 25-21.
The eye-catching stat of the third set was that Mizzou had 21 kills in the third set while hitting .354 while Wang-Francisco handed out 16 assists on those 21 kills. Both Medrano and Klein each posted five kills in the set while Wilson and Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) pitched in three apiece. Through three sets, Wilson, Medrano and Klein all had 11 kills while Brimmage had seven. The Tiger back row was also impressive in the third, posting 22 digs as Vann and Armendariz each collected five.
The fourth set was also closely-contested in the early stages until and ace from Wang-Francisco and block from Ampudia on back-to-back plays gave Mizzou a 13-11 advantage. The back-and-forth play continued from there as each team seemed to battle for every point. But Utah Valley once again rode the momentum of the crowd to find itself on top, 22-21, late in the set.
Things got even more exciting from that point as a net violation from UVU evened the score at 22. After the teams traded points, Medrano posted a solo block to give Mizzou a one-point edge at 24-23. From there, Medrano would earn the final kill of the match off of a ball that struck the rafters, giving Mizzou the set, 25-23, and the match.
Aside from the four Tiger attackers that finished in double-digits, Ampudia finished with seven kills in the match while hitting .400. Wang-Francisco added four kills and handed out a season-best 51 helpers while adding seven digs. Vann led the Tigers with 17 digs while Armendariz pitched in 14 as the Tigers had 56 as a team. Mizzou also had 11.0 total blocks in the match, highlighted by five solo blocks, two of which belonged to Wilson. Brimmage also pitched in three block assists.
Mizzou will return to the floor at 5:30 p.m. (CT) to face No. 17 Utah. For a complete recap of that match, stay tuned to www.MUTigers.com.