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Volleyball Roars Back to Top Aggies, 3-2

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Paola Ampudia was one of two Tigers to post a team season-high 19 kills on the night.</i>
MUTIGERS.COM
Paola Ampudia was one of two Tigers to post a team season-high 19 kills on the night.
MUTIGERS.COM

Sept. 26, 2009

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By:Ryan Schmitz, Media Relations Student Assistant

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The Mizzou volleyball team rallied back from a two-set deficit Saturday night (Sept. 26) to defeat Texas A&M, 3-2 (21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-19, 15-13), at the Hearnes Center. With the win, the Tigers improve to 10-4 overall, 2-1 in Big 12 play and 6-0 at home. The perfect start at Hearnes is Mizzou's best record at home to start a season since they opened the 2003 campaign at 8-0.

Junior outside hitters Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) and Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) each had a team season-high 19 kills to lead the Tigers, while junior libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) led Mizzou with 29 digs. Klein contributed 13 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco (Shanghai, China) finished just four blocks shy of a triple-double as she passed out 50 assists, collected 17 digs and posted six blocks.

"Tonight was great win for us. Texas A&M is a very good team and we knew they were going to be tough to beat, especially after going down 2-0," head coach Wanye Kreklow said. "I thought our team showed a lot of heart to be able to come back like they did. This is a huge win for us especially since we go on the road for two tough matches next week."

The first set was tight as neither team was able to gain more than a two-point lead until the Tigers took a 12-9 advantage. A&M responded with five straight points, prompting Kreklow to use a timeout. Following the break, the Aggies stretched their lead to five before an A&M error started a 4-0 Tiger run, pulling Mizzou back within one at 16-17. A&M rebuilt its lead to four and the Tigers saved two set points before the Aggies converted on their third chance to close out the frame. Ampudia posted a team-high four kills while Klein added three and a service ace.

A kill from junior middle blocker Weiwen Wang (Nanjing, China) allowed Mizzou to tie the second set at five before the Aggies used a 14-7 run to stretch their lead to seven. The Tigers climbed back and eventually saved four set points before A&M converted on its fifth chance to take a 2-0 lead after claiming the second, 25-22. Klein led Mizzou with seven kills in the set while Ampudia, Amanda Hantouli (Omaha, Neb.) and Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) each had two.

Mizzou opened the third set on a 10-5 run before the Aggies called a timeout. A&M won four straight points and seven of eight to take a one-point lead. The Tigers then won three-straight points to regain the lead, which they held until the Aggies evened the set at 18. A&M took the lead, but the Tigers tied the set again at 20. Mizzou later gained a one-point advantage at 23-22 and won the next two points to take the set. Ampudia led the Tigers with four kills in the set, while Klein added three.

The Tigers won eight of the first 12 points in the fourth set, due in large part to the Tiger back row of Vann, Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Annie Lopez (St. Louis, Mo.). But A&M closed to within one at 11-10 which parked a 10-4 run by the Tigers, giving them a seven-point lead. The Aggies closed the gap to five before a kill by Ampudia sent the match to a decisive fifth set, Mizzou's first of the season. Ampudia led the Tigers with five kills in the fourth, while Hantouli contributed three.

The Aggies took an early lead in the final frame, but Mizzou came back to gain a one-point edge at 8-7. A&M tied the set again at 12, but the Tigers regained the lead after a timeout, winning three of the next four points to complete their comeback. This was the first time that the Tigers won after facing a 2-0 deficit since Oct. 1, 2005, when they defeated Texas Tech on the road.

Mizzou is on the road next week for matches Wednesday (Sept. 30) at Baylor and Saturday (Oct. 3) at Iowa State. The Tigers' next home match is Oct. 7 when they will host Colorado at 6:30 p.m. in the Hearnes Center. For all the latest information on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to www.MUTigers.com.