Tigers Top Towson, Out to Best Start in 32 Years

<i>Lisa Henning wrapped up a great day with 11 kills on .500 hitting vs. Towson.</i>

Lisa Henning wrapped up a great day with 11 kills on .500 hitting vs. Towson.

Sept. 20, 2013

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou volleyball program is off to its best start in 32 years after defeating Towson, 3-0 (25-11, 25-16, 25-15), in its second match of the Mizzou Classic on Friday night (Sept. 20) as it improved to a national-best 13-0. The undefeated mark to open the season is the best start to a campaign since Mizzou began the 1982 season 19-0. Mizzou was anchored by All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.), who posted 11 kills on .500 hitting in the win. In all, the Tigers hit .481, a season-best and the eighth time this season that they have hit above .390 this season.

"I was pleased with our energy and the pace that we played with tonight - I didn't think we were as sharp earlier today against Samford, but tonight was a whole different story," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "We played well at the net and did a very good job in transition and I thought we did a good job defensively in the back row. Now we have two very good teams to play tomorrow and we just have to continue to take this one match at a time."

A lethal as Henning was in the win, the Tigers also got a huge performance from junior All-SEC middle Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) as she tallied six total blocks (one solo, five assists) and posted eight kills on 12 errorless attacks. She improved her national-best hitting percentage to .584 after the win. Classmate Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) posted eight kills on .353 hitting and Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.), who played in just two sets, posted six kills on just seven attacks. Freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) bounced back with a big performance on Friday night as she tallied five kills on just 11 attacks with eight digs. Junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) had a match-high nine digs. Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) assisted on 40 of 43 Tiger kills in the win and pulled in six digs.

Although the theme of the night was the Tiger offense, it was hard to overlook the Tiger defense that limited Towson to .022 hitting, the second-worst clip by a Tiger opponent this season. The Tigers tallied 10 total blocks with 40 digs in the win and forced 22 Towson attack errors. Little led the Tigers with six blocks.

In the third set, Wayne Kreklow got a lot of players some valuable playing time as the team hit .609 in the third as several players came off the bench to make huge contributions. Regan Peltier (Nixa, Mo.) tallied a pair of kills in the third on .400 hitting, freshman Julia Towler (Blue Springs, Mo.) added two kills on just two attacks with three blocks and Lydia Ely (St. Louis, Mo.) converted her only attempt into a kill. Also, freshman defensive specialists Courtney Meek (St. Louis, Mo.) and Linda Steinhardt (Austin, Texas) saw plenty of playing time, each recording a dig, while teaming for one of the best hustle plays of the night as Steinhardt ran down and saved a ball before Meek sent it back over to Towson. The Tigers eventually won that point - all thanks to the hustle of Meek and Steinhardt.

The Tigers, in addition to their .609 clip in the third, hit very well all night. Mizzou had 12 kills on.478 hitting in the first and added 16 on .387 hitting in the second set. They committed just six attack errors all night, including just one attack error in both the first and third sets.

The Tigers will look to win the Mizzou Classic tomorrow as it faced SEMO at 2 p.m. and Middle Tennessee at 6:30 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.



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