Sept. 9, 2011
DENVER, Colo. - The Mizzou volleyball team improved to 9-1 on the season after defeating the Drake Bulldogs, 3-1 (25-13, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23), on Friday afternoon (Sept. 9) in game one of the Denver Pioneer Classic. The four-set win for the Tigers is their first of the season after sweeping all eight of their previous wins. Mizzou was led by a great setting effort from sophomore Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.), who spread 44 assists while tallying five digs and two kills.
Mizzou hit just .213 in the match despite hitting .476 in the first set as the story of the match was errors for both teams. In all, Mizzou committed 22 attack errors (19 in the last three sets) while Drake had 32 as the Bulldogs hit just .061 in the match. Offensively, three Tigers finished with double-digit kill totals, highlighted by 16 from Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) who hit .270 in the match. Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) and Katie O'Brien (Dallas, Texas) each finished with 10 kills, which is a career-best for O'Brien. The Tigers also tallied 12.0 total blocks in the win, matching their season-best. Freshman Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) and senior Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) each led the way with five while Kreklow pitched in four more.
In the back row, senior Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) led the way with 17 digs while freshman Jade Hayes (Ozark, Mo.) pulled in eight. The Tiger defense was huge in the match as they forced Drake into more than seven attack errors in each set that Mizzou won. In fact, in the third and fourth sets, Drake had 11 and 10 attack errors, respectively.
The Tigers got things going early in the first as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead behind the serving arm of Kreklow. That run seemed to put Drake away early as the Tigers ran away with the first, 25-13, behind a great offensive attack. As a team, Mizzou hit .476 with 13 kills on just 21 attacks and only three errors. Henning led the way with five kills on .571 hitting while Brimmage added four more on .600 hitting. Kreklow assisted on all 13 Tiger kills in the first. Armendariz had a great first set with six digs as well.
In the second set, the Tiger attack fell apart after a very efficient first set. In fact, Mizzou committed nine attack errors and lost the set, 25-20, despite tallying 15 kills in the frame. Errors were key in the set as Drake just committed four compared to Mizzou's nine and ultimately won the set by five, 25-20. After hitting .476 in the first, Mizzou hit just .162 while allowing Drake to hit .290.
Out of intermission, the Tigers and Bulldogs struggled to seize momentum in what was a very sloppy set. With the score knotted at five, Little went back to serve for the Tigers and they ran off five straight points to go on top 10-5 and eventually took a 16-10 lead before allowing Drake back into the set. But the Tigers rallied again and took the third, 25-17, behind 11 Drake attack errors. In fact, Mizzou had just 10 kills in the third on .167, but the Tiger block was strong as Mizzou took a 2-1 lead to the fourth.
The fourth set saw both teams continue the sloppy play and Mizzou eventually fell behind 17-14 as it just couldn't seem to run off any long scoring rallies. But behind the serving arm of Armendariz, the Tigers ran off three straight points to tie the set at 17, forcing a Drake timeout. But following the timeout, Drake scored three straight points of its own to regain a 20-17 lead. But Mizzou went on a 5-1 run to take a 22-21 lead, using the play of Henning and a strong block. Kreklow also made great sets on some out-of-system balls to help the Tigers take a 25-23 set win after a kill from Henning.
Mizzou will be back in action tonight at 6 p.m. (CT) as it will square off against UT-San Antonio in its second match of the Denver Pioneer Classic. MUTigers.tv will stream the match on internet radio beginning at 5:45 (CT). For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team in twitter @MU_Volleyball.