Sept. 5, 2009
OREM, Utah - The Mizzou volleyball squad concluded play at the Utah Valley La Quinta Invitational by dropping a close match to No. 17 Utah, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 20-25), at the Shurian Family Activity Center on Saturday (Sept. 5). The loss drops Mizzou to 4-2 on the season and 1-2 in the tournament. Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) led the Tigers with a .600 hitting percentage while tallying 13 kills with just one attack error. Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) also added 15 kills in the loss, moving her tournament total to 38. Brimmage finished the tournament with 26 kills.
The first set opened with the teams trading points as neither squad could put together a substantial run until Mizzou earned the first two-point lead of the set at 14-12 after a kill from senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco (Shanghai, China). On the very next point, junior Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) aced the Utes to put the Tigers on top, 15-12, forcing a Utah timeout. Both Rosa Medrano (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) and Klein had three kills apiece in that span.
Out of the timeout, Mizzou continued its run by taking four of the next five points, making the score 19-13 in favor of the Tigers. Utah ran off three points in a row following its second timeout until a block from Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) kept the Tiger advantage at four at 20-16. That edge proved to be enough as Mizzou took the first frame, 25-21.
Mizzou hit. 378 in the first as it committed just four attack errors. The Miami-Dade duo - Medrano and Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) - combined for nine kills on 17 attempts without an error to lead the Tigers in the first frame. Klein also pitched in five kills as well. Mizzou also collected 20 digs along the back row, led by libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.), to help limit the Utes to just 13 kills in the first set. Wang-Francisco handed out 15 assists in the first frame to quarterback the Tiger attack.
Contrary to the first set, which saw both teams trade points until the 12-point mark, Mizzou jumped all over the Utes in the second, building a 4-1 lead after a service ace from sophomore Annie Lopez
(St. Louis, Mo.). The lead would not last for long as Utah would tie the score at seven and eventually build a two-point edge at 12-10. That two-point advantage would last late into the set as Utah claimed the second set, 25-23, after a rotation violation by the Tigers.
Mizzou hit .371 in the second, continuing its fine offensive play. Klein led all Tigers with five errorless kills on 10 attacks in the second frame. The difference in the set was the blocks as Utah posted 3.0 and Mizzou came away with only 1.0. Nearly every other stat line was identical between the two teams in the second frame.
The third set began similar to the first until a long rally was capped off by a kill from Klein, giving Mizzou a one-point edge. Klein added a kill on the very next play, extending the lead to 5-3. From that point, the Utah attack got the best of Mizzou as it built a 20-15 edge. The Utes did not surrender that lead, winning the second, 25-19.
After hitting .375 through the first two sets, the Ute block forced Mizzou to hit.208 in the third frame. Klein and Brimmage each added five kills to their respective stat lines while Brimmage did so while hitting .625 without an error. Klein's five kills moved her match total to 15 through three sets while hitting .294.
Freshman Kate Harris (Lee's Summit, Mo.) started the fourth set as the Tigers' primary setter as four of the first six points in the fourth were either service aces of service errors as both teams seemed timid out of the break. But Mizzou found itself on top, 4-2, in the early stages of the set after ending up on the good side of the miscues. After both teams settled in, the Tigers still owned a lead after a solo block from Klein made the score 6-3.
Harris continued to quarterback the offense throughout the set as the Tigers hung tough with the Utes until they fell behind by three at 18-15. Although the Tigers made a run at the Utes, a back-row attack call took away any momentum that the Tigers had gained as Utah took the fourth, 25-20, winning them the match.
Weiwen Wang (Nanjing, China) and Brimmage led the Tigers in the fourth set, tallying four and five kills, respectively. Brimmage hit .833 without an error while Wang hit .333 as Harris set the quick in the middle effectively, finishing the set with 10 assists in the set. Harris closed the match with a career-best 15 assists.
Mizzou will return to action next weekend as they will participate in the Michigan/Pepsi Challenge. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to www.MUTigers.com.