Oct. 25, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Mizzou volleyball program improved to 24-0 and 8-0 in SEC play as it escaped LSU with a 3-1 (17-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-21) win on Friday night (Oct. 25). Three Tigers tallied double-doubles in the win and the team collected a season-high 87 digs, led by a season-high 24 from junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.). Freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) had a career-night, resetting her career-bests in kills with 24 and digs with 17. The win keeps Mizzou atop the SEC standings and as one of just two unbeaten teams nationally.
"That was one of those matches that was just a battle," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "It's a lot better to win ugly than lose pretty and that's what we did tonight. I thought we came up with a lot of big plays when we needed them and we put a lot of pressure on them defensively and we forced them into a lot of errors at key points. It's always tough on the road and LSU was picked to win the SEC West this year, so this is another great win for us."
Aside from Kan, the Tigers got double-doubles from their senior class - Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.). Henning posted 17 kills with 12 digs and Kreklow dished 54 assists while collecting a season-high 18 digs, just four off of her career-best. Mizzou hit a season-low .227, but it was defense that stood out for Mizzou on Friday as it collected a season-high 87 digs while also resetting its season-best with 15.0 total blocks. The Tigers limited LSU to .154 hitting in the win. Junior All-SEC middle Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) finished with a team-high seven blocks (three solo, four assists).
Although Mizzou didn't hit as high as it usually does, the offense still finished with three players in double-figure kills as junior Emily Wilson
(Omaha, Neb.) added 10 kills in the win. Little also had seven kills to go with her seven blocks. The Tigers used 19 kills in the final set to overcome a 17-10 deficit to clinch the match.
Mizzou opened the match very sluggish as LSU outplayed Mizzou in nearly every facet of the game, opening a 12-4 lead, forcing Wayne Kreklow to use both of his timeouts before the Tigers reached double-digits. LSU kept that cushion throughout the set and ran away with the frame, hitting .359 en-route to a 25-17 set win. The Tigers had an uncharacteristic six attack errors in the first.
Mizzou came out and flipped the script in the second set, racing out to a 7-1 lead with four kills and three blocks, forcing LSU to call its first timeout of the match. In fact, Mizzou opened up a 9-3 lead, but LSU scored seven of the next 10 points to pull within two at 12-10 as Kreklow used his first timeout of the set. Kreklow's Tigers responded out of the stoppage with a 9-1 run behind the service arm of Meister as they opened a 21-11 lead after Kan's 10th kill of the match. LSU fended off four set points before Henning's 10th kill clinched the set for Mizzou at 25-17, tying the match at 1-1. After LSU hit .359 in the first, Mizzou limited the opposing Tigers to just .045 hitting in the second.
Coach Kreklow's group took the momentum from the second-set win into the third set and opened up a 15-8 lead behind a torrid defensive effort as Meister kept getting under balls in the back row while Little turned into a blocking machine, at one point tallying three in a row. LSU put together a 3-0 run after a couple of mental lapses from Mizzou, but Wilson tallied a kill to reopen a five-point cushion at 16-11. LSU then cut the lead to just two at 17-15 but Mizzou went on a 5-1 run to take a 22-16 lead. That was all Mizzou needed, winning the set, 25-19. Kan led all attackers with 17 kills through three sets, doing so on .389 hitting.
LSU took advantage of some Mizzou attack errors from the Tigers to open a 7-3 lead in the fourth set. The Tiger offense struggled to get going in the frame with seven attack errors, allowing LSU to open a 15-9 lead. LSU kept Mizzou on the ropes throughout the set but a 5-0 run, capped by Kan's 23rd kill of the match, pulled Mizzou within two at 17-15. The Tigers rallied to take a 22-20 lead after Kan's 24th kill of the match and then they ran away with the set, 25-21, as they scored 15 of the last 19 points in the frame to seal the win.
The Tigers will play Texas A&M to wrap up a tough road weekend on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.