Whitney Little tallied her sixth career 10-block match.
Nov. 10, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 7 Mizzou volleyball team used a season-high 19.0 blocks to escape a scrappy Alabama team, 3-1 (25- 22, 24-26, 25-20, 25-12), on Sunday afternoon at Foster Auditorium. Junior All-SEC middle blocker Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) posted a season-high 10 blocks in the win and the outside hitting duo of Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) combined for 26 kills in the win. Mizzou is now 29-0 overall and 13-0 in SEC play as the Tigers sit alone atop the league standings with a trip to No. 5 Florida (22-2, 11-1) looming next Friday.
"That was a tough match this afternoon," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "After Alabama came back the way that they did to win the second game, I knew it was going to be a bear for us. But we did a nice job of settling down and playing our game. We came up with some huge plays and our blockers did a great job slowing down Alabama, which has a ton of great hitters. Proud of our effort today - it wasn't pretty at times, but wins are wins and we'll take any one we get on the road."
The Tigers did a great job of slowing down Alabama freshman middle Krystal Rivers, who hit an uncharacteristic .176, her second-lowest clip of the season. Kan, another of the top freshman in the conference, outshined Rivers on Sunday with 14 kills on .242 hitting with 11 digs and four blocks for her seventh of the season and second of the weekend. She added three service aces as well. Henning had 12 kills and 11 digs for her second double-double of the season. Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) added nine kills on .273 hitting and Little pitched in seven kills on .462 hitting to go along with her 10 blocks. Freshman Julia Towler (Blue Springs, Mo.) came off the bench and gave Mizzou a huge boost with five kills on .833 hitting with four blocks. Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) spread 48 assists and pulled in eight digs while tallying eight blocks. Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) had 19 digs as well.
Mizzou threw a block party in the first set as it tallied seven in the early stages of the frame to take a 19-15 lead after a solo stuff by Kan on Rivers. That forced a timeout from Alabama and the Tide scored the next two points before Henning ended the rally with a kill. Alabama pulled as close at 22-21, but Mizzou scored three of the last four points, including a set-clinching ace from Henning. The seven blocks went along with 13 Tiger kills as they hit .360. Freshman Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) led the way with four kills on four attempts and both Henning and Kan had three.
The Tigers were sloppy to open the second set, falling behind 9-11 after an Alabama kill. But Wayne Kreklow used a timeout and rallied his troops to a 5-0 run to take a 14-11 lead. Mizzou then jumped out to a 22-18 lead in the second, but a kill from Rivers and an attack error from Kreklow kept Alabama alive. The Kreklow attack error appeared to be a kill, but she just clipped the net and the call was reversed. Mizzou's passing broke down a bit from there as Alabama went on a 6-0 run to take a 24-22 lead. Mizzou fended off two set points, but River tallied a kill for point 25 and then an ace as Alabama completed the set two comeback.
Out of the intermission, Mizzou raced out to a 5-1 lead and led 8-5 before a service error from Kreklow and an Alabama ace pulled the Tide back into the frame. The Tide then took a three-point lead at 14-11, but Mizzou went on a 9-1 run to pull away late and escaped with a 25-20 set win after a kill from Henning. Kan led Mizzou with 12 kills through three sets.
Mizzou carried that momentum into the fourth set and opened a 9-2 lead in the frame as Alabama used both of its timeouts in the first 11 points. In all, Mizzou hit .393 in the fourth set and blocked Alabama away to a 25-12 set win as it escaped with the win.
Mizzou will hit the road again next weekend as it faces No. 5 Florida Friday and South Carolina Sunday. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter MizzouVB.
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