Mizzou Not Able to Match No. 2 Nebraska

MUTIGERS.COM Sophomore Julianna Klein led Tigers with 16 kills
Sophomore Julianna Klein led Tigers with 16 kills

Oct. 12, 2008

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Missouri volleyball team (8-9, 2-4 Big 12) took on No. 2 Nebraska (17-0, 8-0 Big 12) at the Hearnes Center Sunday afternoon in front of 3,057 Tiger fans and a national-television audience watching on many FSN affiliates. The Cornhuskers swept the match 25-20, 25-21, 25-18 and continued their undefeated season. Sophomore Julianna Klein led the Tiger squad with 16 kills.

Coach Wayne Kreklow remained optimistic after the match, "Overall, I thought the team played very well. Losing is never the outcome we want; the end result was not good. But, I was impressed with our effort, there were a couple of times in each set where if we had gotten a couple of points, a couple of blocks, the set could have gone either way."

After hitting .324 in the first set, the Tigers succumbed to unforced errors, resulting in a .165 average for the match, compared to the Huskers' .316. Mizzou did keep the Huskers in check during the second set holding them to .196 hitting percentage as defense and long rallies ruled, but the Tigers did not capitalize.

Juliana Klein (Keota, Iowa) continued to be the most-consistent Mizzou player. She had 43 attempts, 16 kills and a hitting percent of .256. Kreklow expressed some concern in the amount of times to team put the ball in Klein's hands, "You don't want to have a player taking 43 swings at the ball. When that happens your offense becomes predictable. Right now we are continuing to use Juliana a lot because she's our most consistent hitter."

Klein also weighed in on her high number of attempts, "I think it can become an issue if the other team is expecting me to get the ball ever other time but as long as our blockers are split and our defense sets to me it is not a problem."

Klein tallied another double-double in adding 10 digs. Frosh Annie Lopez (St. Louis, Mo) tallied a team-high 14 digs.

Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) had four kills in a limited timeframe, but they came at crucial points in the third set to keep the Tigers close. Setter Lei Wang (Shanghai, China) scored a double-double with 23 assists and ten digs.

Sophomore outside hitter, Tara Mueller led the Huskers with 14 kills with a .364 hitting percentage.

The Huskers quickly showed why they came into the game undefeated jumping out to a quick 4-1 lead. After Nebraska's early run Mizzou was able to get the score to 4-6 with both teams playing sloppy volleyball. Two of Nebraska's points came off of Tiger service errors. Neither team could muster any momentum trading points. The Tigers took their first lead at the 10-9 mark after an ace by L. Wang but Cornhuskers promptly tied the set up at 10-10. The Tigers suffered their third service error at the hands of Klein, giving away points to the Huskers. Nebraska had gone on a 4 point run taking a 14-13 run but the Tigers quickly tied to game back up at 14-14. The Huskers scored making the set 15-14 and forcing the Tigers to call a timeout. Nebraska looked to have gotten their game plan in order scored two quick points out of the timeout prompting the Tigers to call another timeout. Out of the timeout Nebraska hit their stride widening the lead to 14-20 when Mizzou called another timeout. The Tigers then looked to have it all together taking the score 17-21 before the Huskers looked ready to close out the set but the Tigers were not ready to quit stopping the Husker 2-0 run with two strong kills from Klein. The Tigers new found momentum made the Huskers call their first timeout of the match with the score at 19-23. Nebraska took it to set point right out of the timeout but Klein was not ready for her team to be done and scored on a powerful kill. The Huskers scored and wrapped up the set 20-25.

The second set opened with both teams fighting to gain dominance. They were also fighting to control errors that had plagued them in the first set. With the Huskers leading 2-4 both teams had two errors apiece. The Tigers got their heads in the game and went on a 3-0 run tying up the set 5-5. Mizzou continued to look sharp including a big kill from Megan Wilson (Lincoln, Neb.) keeping the Tigers in stride at 8-8. The Huskers went on a 4-1 run taking the score to 9-12 putting enough pressure on the Tigers to call a timeout. Weiwen Wang (Nanjing, China) found an opening in the Husker backcourt and laid down a perfect kill. The Huskers mishandled the ball giving the Tigers another point. Klein followed that point up with one of her signature powerful serves resulting in an ace tying the game at 12-12. The Huskers quickly took a timeout to hopefully calm the Tigers newfound fire. The Huskers did not have the answer and the Tigers took their first lead at 13-12. That lead did not last long because the Huskers put up four straight points reclaiming the lead 13-16. The Tigers finally stopped the Nebraska run with a kill from W. Wang. Unfortunately for the Tigers the Huskers were not ready to go down and came back on a 4-1 run. The Tigers called a timeout at the 15-20 mark to hopefully slow down the Huskers. Mizzou got a big break with a service error by the Huskers but could not mount any momentum from that and the score was pushed 16-22 in favor of the Cornhuskers. The Tigers seemed to have something going when they went on a 5-1 run hanging in with the score at 21-23. This forced the Huskers to take a timeout to come up with a solution to Klein who had three kills in the Tiger run. The Huskers scored the first point out of the timeout setting up their set point and then closed out the set winning 21-25.

The set opened with both teams continuing to trade points. The Huskers took control of the set after the 2-2 mark and went on a 4-1 run. The Tigers had some very messy play and gave up points to Nebraska on errors but managed to hang around at the 7-9 mark. Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) closed in the Huskers with an ace but Nebraska stretched the lead to 8-12 with three straight kills and forcing the Tigers into a timeout. The Huskers were not able to continue their run but kept the lead over the Tigers. Mizzou hung in with some timely kills from Brittany Brimmage keeping the set within reach at 13-19. The Tigers went on a run making the Huskers call a timeout with the score at 16-20. Mizzou continued their comeback with a kill from Klein putting the Tigers within 3 at 17-20. The Cornhuskers answered with two big points pulling away at 17-22. The Tigers got one last point in before Nebraska pushed the set to match point and closed out the game 18-25.

The Tigers continue their home stand against Kansas on Wednesday at 6:30 pm. The Jayhawks are 2-5 in conference play.

-- Dana Burton




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