Oct. 27, 2013
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 11 Mizzou volleyball team improved to 25-0 and 9-0 in SEC play after defeating Texas A&M, 3-0 (25-17, 29-27, 25-20) on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 27) at Reed Arena. The win for Mizzou was its first win in College Station since 2010 and snapped a three-match skid against the Aggies. The win was also the Tigers' 11th away from home this season, the most in a regular season since 2010. Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) set the Tigers to 59 kills, the most by any SEC team in a three-set match this season as four Tigers finished with at least nine kills. Mizzou hit .347 in the win and remain as the SEC's only unbeaten team through the first half of league play.
"We did a great job of grinding one out on the road today," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "That's the type of team that doesn't give you a whole lot, but we stuck to our game and we did all of the little things well today. Our offense was incredibly balanced and we served really tough down the stretch and that stopped them from doing what they wanted to do. That's a team that beat Florida State in three at home and took Michigan to five, so this is a tough place to win, so I am happy with our effort."
The win caps a weekend in which Mizzou, still one of just two unbeaten teams nationally, defeated both of the preseason favorites in the SEC West on the road, dropping just one set. Although Kreklow set a balanced offense with 48 assists on Sunday, it was senior two-time All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) who did a lot of the damage with 15 kills on .312 hitting. Freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) capped an excellent weekend with 12 kills on .348 hitting and junior Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) added 14 kills on .355 hitting. Junior All-SEC middle blocker Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) tallied nine kills on .421 hitting with a pair of solo blocks and Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) added five kills and three blocks. The Tigers tallied at least 16 kills in every set and did not hit lower than .320 in a frame.
The Tiger defense again was very good with 51 digs in the match and they did a nice job of slowing attack-heavy All-SEC setter Allie Sawatzky to just two kills and three errors on 12 attempts. Thater led Mizzou with three blocks, including a solo stuff, while Little added a pair of solos as well. Sarah Meister
(San Diego, Calif.) added 14 digs to wrap up an impressive weekend for her.
After opening sluggishly Friday night at LSU, Mizzou came out firing in the initial set Sunday, racing out to an 8-3 lead as four different Tigers tallied kills in that span, forcing a Texas A&M timeout. The Tigers extended the lead to 13-5 after back-to-back stuffs, including a solo by Thater, but A&M ran off three in a row before a kill from Wilson put the Tigers on top 14-8. Mizzou continued to roll from there, opening a 21-11 lead and despite some uncharacteristic attack errors, the Tigers claimed the set, 25-17. Kan led the way with five kills on seven swings with just one error and Henning added four kills on nine attempts. Mizzou hit .379 in the set while limiting A&M to .129 hitting.
The second set was extremely close as both teams offenses performed at a very high level. The Tigers built a 10-7 lead but the Aggies rallied to go on top 14-13. Things stayed close from there but errors allowed Mizzou to open an 18-16 lead but that was the largest lead either team gained from there. The Tigers wound up getting five set points and used a big stuff from Julia Towler (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Kreklow to win the frame, 29-27. The Tiger offense was unreal in set two with 24 kills on .320 hitting. Henning had six kills in the set while Kan had five as they each led Mizzou with 10 kills on the break. Little as huge as well with eight kills - five in the second set - at the break.
Mizzou allowed Texas A&M to go on top 5-1 with some sloppy play to open the third set, but a Wayne Kreklow timeout settled his team down and a solo block by Wilson tied the set at eight apiece. The Tigers then gained a two-point edge on an ace from Thater and then Mizzou opened an 18-14 advantage with a kill from Kan as she bumped what looked to be a free ball right to an empty part of the floor for her 11th of the match and that was all that the Tigers needed to pull away with the 25-20 set win to clinch the match.
The Tigers will be back in action next weekend when they host Ole Miss and No. 15 Kentucky at the Hearnes Center next Friday and Sunday, respectively. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.