Tigers Are Champs in Malibu

<i>Paola Ampudia was Tournament MVP.</i>

Paola Ampudia was Tournament MVP.

Sept. 5, 2010

Box Score

MALIBU, Calif. - The Mizzou volleyball team won its sixth match in a row after topping Pepperdine, 3-1 (26-24, 21-25, 25-21, 27-25), to claim the Pepperdine Asics Challenge Tournament Title on Saturday night (Sept. 4) at Firestone Fieldhouse. Senior outside hitter Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) paced Mizzou with 19 kills while Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) and Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) combined for 23 kills on .460 hitting while Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) dished 52 assists in the win. Mizzou is now 6-0 for the first time since 2005.

"I am really proud of how we played today," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "We really showed a lot of grit in how we persevered after losing some leads and I think that was a huge part of why we were able to win. It was a great team effort out there and I was really proud of how our team just continued to fight when it looked like they were out of it."

Ampudia was named Tournament MVP after totaling 50 total kills on .261 hitting with six blocks and three service aces. Kreklow earned a spot on the All-Tournament team with 136 total assists (13.60 per set) as she continues to lead the Big 12 in that department this season. Mizzou hit .306 on the weekend highlighted by a .467 clip from Wilson and a .443 percentage from Brimmage. Mizzou is hitting .315 through the first six matches in 2010.

The Tigers hit .266 in the win while Pepperdine hit .312, marking the first time this season that Mizzou has been outhit and come away with a win. The win also marks the Tigers first road win in 2010. The Tiger back row shined in the win as it pulled in 62 digs, 25 of which came from libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) and 14 from Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa). Ampudia also finished just two digs shy of a double-double with eight digs and Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) added eight as well.



The first set of the match was a back-and-forth affair that featured 11 ties and five lead changes while going into extra points, but ultimately a kill from Ampudia ended the set as Mizzou claimed the first frame, 26-24. Mizzou hit .359 in the set while Kreklow dished 16 assists as Mizzou had 20 kills. Pepperdine served the Tigers tough in the first, but great back row play from Vann and the rest of the Tigers helped them stay in system enough to come away with the set win. Vann pulled in 10 digs, helping Mizzou pull in 20 as a team, five better than Pepperdine, which may have been the deciding factor as both teams hit better than .300 in the set. Wilson led Mizzou with five kills in the first on just six attacks without an error. Brimmage and Klein each added four kills while Henning and Ampudia had three.

The second set was equally as competitive as it featured seven lead changes and 13 ties, the last of which came at 21-21. But Pepperdine rattled off the last four points of the frame to take a 25-21 win into the locker room at intermission. Mizzou hit just .159 in the set while Pepperdine came in at .375.

Mizzou raced out to a 14-5 lead in the third set, riding the arm of Ampudia. Pepperdine rallied to make things interesting, but Mizzou fended off the Waves, 25-21, after hitting .341 in the set. Ampudia provided the spark that the Tigers needed. Through the first two sets, Ampudia had just seven kills with six attack errors. In the third set alone, Ampudia had eight kills with just one error.

Fatigue seemed to set in for both teams in the fourth set as each team did not hit as well and committed a lot more errors. Mizzou jumped out to an early lead and led almost all the way through the set, but Pepperdine took a late 22-21 lead, but Mizzou rallied to take the set in extra points, 27-25.

Mizzou will return to action next weekend at the Western Kentucky Invitational, its final tournament before Big 12 play begins. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com.

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