Oct. 7, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Mizzou volleyball team rebounded from a tough five-set loss at Tennessee to defeat Alabama, 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-18, 25-16), on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 7) at Foster Auditorium. The Tigers rode the play of All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) as she tallied her sixth double-double of the season with 23 kills on .305 hitting and 16 digs while adding seven blocks, finishing just shy of a triple-double. The win moves the Tigers to 13-5 and 5-3 in SEC play.
"I thought we played pretty well coming off of a tough five-setter Friday night and a long travel day yesterday," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "Alabama is a pretty athletic team and we all know how hard it is to win on the road in this league, so I am thrilled with the win and how we responded after losing the second set."
Sophomore middle Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) was a great compliment to Henning as she finished the match with 14 kills on .448 hitting while adding eight blocks (one solo, seven assists) with five digs. She remains atop the SEC standing in blocks per set this season. Freshman Regan Peltier (Nixa, Mo.) also provided a spark with 12 kills and 11 digs, both career-bests for the frosh. Looking more into the statistics, junior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) had another great all-around match with 48 assists, 12 digs, three aces and two blocks. Sophomore libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) led the team with 24 digs, marking her fifth 20-dig effort of SEC play and second of the weekend. She finished the weekend with 48 digs (5.33 per set).
Mizzou fell behind early in the first set as it looked out of sync, allowing Alabama to run out to a 6-1 lead, forcing a timeout from Wayne Kreklow
. Following the stoppage, Henning came out with two big-time kills to draw the Tigers within three. The Tigers continued to cut into the lead and drew within one after back-to-back blocks at 11-10. The Tiger block stayed strong through the middle portions of the set as it forced several attack errors and Mizzou gained its first lead of the frame at 16-15. From that point, Mizzou rode its block and the attacking arm of Henning to a 9-4 run to close the set, 25-19.
Henning led all attackers with seven kills on 13 errorless attacks as she hit .538 in the set. Little was also very good, posting two kills on six errorless swings and she posted three blocks (one solo, two assists) as she continued her torrid blocking pace as of late. Mizzou was aided in the first by 11 attack errors by Alabama in the first.
The Tigers were much sloppier in the second set despite opening up a 4-1 lead in the frame. Mizzou also went on top 11-10, but allowed Bama to score 10 of the next 12 points as the Tide took a 20-13 lead. The Tigers attempted to rally but fell apart late as Bama took the second set, 25-22, after the Tigers fended off five set points. Through two sets, Henning led the Tigers with 13 kills on .367 hitting while Little pitched in five kills on 13 errorless attacks with seven blocks (one solo, six assists).
Coming out of intermission, Mizzou rode the tough service arm of Peltier to open up a 5-1 lead in the third set as Henning and Little continued to supply the bulk of the scoring for Mizzou. The Tigers ran that lead to 14-8 after winning one of the longest rallies of the match with an emphatic kill from Little, but Bama rallied with back-to-back kills to cut into the lead at 14-10. Henning then sent a cut shot wide and Alabama was within three at 14-11. From that point, Mizzou broke the set open and went on to win, 25-18, finishing the set on an 11-7 run. Through three sets, Henning led the way with 18 kills on .298 hitting with 12 digs while posting seven blocks. Little was equally as impressive with 10 kills on .429 hitting with five digs and eight blocks. Pelteir also had 10 points with seven kills, two blocks and two aces through three sets.
The Tigers seemed to steal momentum with the third-set win as they raced to a 7-1 lead in the fourth, forcing a timeout. Mizzou then jumped out to a 10-3 lead but Alabama then rallied, scoring six of the next eight points to cut the Tiger lead to just 12-9, forcing a timeout from Wayne Kreklow. The Tiger passing broke down during that stretch, but it was much better following the timeout as Mizzou scored the next two points to open up a five-point lead at 14-9. Alabama got as close as 18-15, but a huge kill from Little and then back-to-back aces from Little shot the lead back to 21-15. Mizzou closed out the set 25-18 with tough serving as they tallied four aces in the set and finished the match with eight.
Mizzou will return home Sunday for an ESPNU match with Mississippi State at noon at the Hearnes Center. It is the Tigers' Dig for a Cure match as all proceeds help fund breast cancer awareness. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.