Oct. 20, 2013
Box Score |
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou volleyball team earned its first ever win against a top-five opponent as it upended second-ranked Florida, 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 25-18), on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 20) in front of a season-high 4,202 fans at the Hearnes Center. The win improves the Tigers to 23-0 and 7-0 in SEC play as they are alone atop the SEC standings place as the league's only unbeaten team in conference play. Mizzou joins Colorado State as the only teams in the nation to not lose a match this season. The Tigers handed the Gators their second loss of the season and first SEC loss while snapping a 13-match SEC winning streak by the Gators.
"Obviously this is a huge win for us and I thought we played about as well as we could have played," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "That Florida team has a very legitimate shot at winning a national championship this year, but our kids came out focused and ready to go. We served very tough and we just had a lot of people pitch in in a lot of different areas and Florida made some critical errors at key points of the match. That was a very high-level volleyball match and I couldn't be happier for our kids."
In first top-25 matchup at the Hearnes Center since 2006 with the nation's top two offenses on display, Mizzou got the best of the Gators. Coming into the match, Mizzou and Florida ranked 1-2 nationally in hitting and Mizzou finished the match hitting .303 while limiting Florida to .237 hitting, its second-lowest of the season. The Tigers are just the fourth team to hit .300 against the Gators this season, joining just Penn State, Stanford and Western Michigan. Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) was tremendous in the win, spreading 45 assists and setting up open hitters throughout the match. Seven different Tigers finished with kills in the match and five players finished with double-digit point totals.
Junior outside hitter Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) proved to be an X-factor for the Tiger offense as she led the team with 14 kills on .351 hitting to lead the offensive charge. Freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) was also sensational all over the floor on Sunday despite playing against a much bigger Florida front line. But as she has done all season, the freshman rose to the occasion and tallied 13 kills on .379 hitting with 12 digs, good for her third double-double of the season and third in four matches. Florida slowed two-time All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) for the first three sets, but just as All-Americans do, she turned it around in the fourth and tallied seven kills on .500 hitting in the final frame. In fact, Henning and Mizzou showed a killer-instinct in the fourth as it .471 with 17 kills and just one error in the decisive frame. Henning finished the match with 12 kills.
Junior All-SEC middle Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) added eight kills and four total blocks while freshman Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) added five kills on .444 hitting with a team-high five total blocks. The Tiger block was very good on Sunday, tallying 9.5 in the match while getting hands on a lot of Florida's 152 attacks to give the back row a chance for a dig. The back row responded by collecting 60 digs in the match, led by 15 from junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.). Kan added 12 and Kreklow pitched in 11 while Henning just missed recording a double-double with nine digs.
Serving was a huge story on Sunday as both teams did a good job of forcing the opposition to set the pins. The Tigers served very tough with nine aces with three from both Thater and Kan. That was paramount for the Tigers as Florida was only able to get reigning SEC Player of the Year Chloe Mann 26 attacks. The Tigers also scouted her very well as she had a season-high five attack errors as the national-leader in hitting attacked at just a .231 clip in the match.
The 4,202 fans that took in the match on Sunday are the fifth-largest crowd in program history and the most at Hearnes Center since 2006. Mizzou returns to the road next weekend at LSU and Texas A&M. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.