Oct. 26, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Mizzou volleyball team dropped another five-set match to Kansas State, 3-2 (25-21, 13-25, 16-25, 25-21, 11-15), on Wednesday night (Oct. 26) at Ahearn Fieldhouse. Senior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) led the Tigers with 13 kills on .290 hitting with a team-best six blocks (three solo, three assists). The loss drops the Tigers to 17-9 overall and 3-6 in Big 12 play.
Aside from Brimmage, the Tigers got good performances from freshman Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) and sophomore Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.), who each tallied 12 kills in the match. The Tigers also got six kills from both Katie O'Brien (Dallas, Texas) and Whitney Little (Keller, Texas). Defensively, Brimmage led the way for the Tigers with her six blocks but Wilson also had a nice night, adding a pair of solo blocks. The Tiger back row saw great performances from senior libero Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) who pulled in a season-best 25 digs. Henning also posted her fifth career double-double with a career-best 18 digs to go along with her 12 kills. Freshman Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) also added nine digs and classmate Niki Collier (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) also pitched in a career-best eight digs.
The Tigers fell behind 9-6 early in the first but they used a 5-0 run, capped by two consecutive aces by Henning, to take an 11-9 lead. KSU then rallied to tie the set at 11 and it eventually regained the lead at 13-12 after an attack error from Brimmage. But Mizzou rallied again to take a lead midway through the set and the duo of Brimmage and Little proved to be too much for KSU as Mizzou took the first, 25-21.
There were plenty of bright spots for the Tigers in the first set, highlighted by a set-high five kills from Brimmage. In fact, the middle hitting duo of Brimmage and Little accounted for seven kills on .500 hitting in the first. Mizzou's back row was also very good with 23 digs in the first highlighted by six from both Henning and Armendariz. Meister and Wilson each had four as well.
Despite playing very well in the first, Mizzou's passing broke down in the second set as K-State ran away with it, 25-13. After not being aced in the first set, the Tigers were aced by the Wildcats four times in the second set and the Tigers were just not able to run their offense as the passing broke down. In fact, Mizzou had just eight kills in the second after posting 14 in the first as it was never quite in sync.
With the match knotted at one set apiece, the teams came out of intermission and traded points with KSU building a light advantage at 6-5. But after a kill from Alex Muff, K-State ran off three straight points to build a 9-5 lead, forcing a Wayne Kreklow timeout. Out of the timeout, Jade Hayes was aced and a K-State stole the momentum and ran away with the third, 25-16.
Despite the way Mizzou lost the second and third, the Tigers showed plenty of resiliency in the fourth and claimed the set, 25-21, behind a strong performance from Wilson who seemed to put the team on her back late in the frame. That forced a decisive fifth set in which K-State built an early 5-3 lead after winning a very long rally. That forced a timeout for the Tigers and K-State immediately took the next two points out of the stoppage to build a 7-3 lead.
But Mizzou gained little momentum after Henning appeared to send a free ball that was botched by Kansas State to end the run. From there, the Tigers took the next two points to pull within one a 7-6, forcing a K-State timeout. In fact, Mizzou rallied to tie the set at 7-7 before K-State scored the eighth point as the teams switched sides.
Mizzou battled to keep things close, but the play of KSU's Kaitlynn Pelger helped the Wildcats pull away late, 15-11, as she tallied the match-clinching kill. It was her match-high 20th kill as she did so on .319 hitting to lead KSU.
Mizzou will be back in action on Saturday as it returns to the Hearnes Center for a match with Oklahoma at 6:30 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.