Nov. 14, 2009
BOULDER, Colo. -- The Mizzou volleyball team earned its second-straight win after topping Colorado, 3-1 (29-27, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19), at the Coors Event Center on Saturday night (Nov. 14). The win moves the Tigers to 17-11 on the season and 8-8 in Big 12 play is they look to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive heading into the final two weeks of the season. Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) led Mizzou with 15 kills in the match, her most since posting 19 in a five set win over Texas A&M on Sept. 26. Junior Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) also had a fine night, posting 13 kills on .385 hitting. With her 13 kills, Wilson now has 205 on the season, 10 more than her previous two seasons as a Tiger combined.
As a team, Mizzou hit .269, its third-best clip during Big 12 play and posted 13.0 blocks in the match. Also, Mizzou posted 56 kills in the match, five less than the Buffs as it earned its first win of the season when finishing a match with less kills than its opponent. Senior Amanda Hantouli (Omaha, Neb.) came off the bench and gave the Tigers some big production, posting a season-best 10 kills on .600 hitting with four blocks.
"I thought that we were very fortunate to get out here with a win tonight, I didn't think we played very well from start to finish," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "But I did think that we stepped up and got points when we needed them and they made errors when we needed them to make them. Bottom line is that we need to keep getting better in order to get to where we want to go."
Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco (Shanghai, China) spread 45 assists in the match while juniors Rosa Medrano (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) and Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) combined for 15 kills. The Tiger back row also shined all night, pulling in 75 digs, matching its four-set high this season. Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) led Mizzou with 19 digs on the night, giving her 415 on the season, the seventh-best single season mark in program history.
Mizzou dictated play early in the first frame, running out to a 6-2 lead after three straight kills from Klein. Colorado rallied to knot the score at nine, but the Tigers regained their composure and extended the lead back to 17-12 after six kills from the Tigers' trio of outside hitters in Klein, Ampudia and Medrano. That lead lasted until Colorado knotted the set at 24 after some late-set stumbles from the Tigers. But despite facing a set point from CU at 26-25, the Mizzou block took over, sending back three blocks in the finals six points, including two straight to end the set at 29-27.
Mizzou hit .289 in the first frame as it totaled 18 kills, six of which came from Klein, who hit .417 in the set. Wilson added four kills on eight errorless swings while Ampudia and Medrano combined for seven in the set. As a team, Mizzou corralled 19 digs as seven different players kept a ball off the floor in the set. Mizzou also posted six total blocks as a trio of Tigers - Wang-Francisco, Hantouli and Klein - each posted three in the set. Wang-Francisco also spread 14 assists in the opening frame.
The Tigers and the Buffs continued to play well in the back row as each rally seemed to be extended back over the net through each of the first several points. Ultimately, the Tiger attack came through and helped Mizzou build a 10-7 lead after a service ace from Klein. That three-point cushion for the Tigers lasted until the 17-14 mark, forcing a CU timeout as, once again, the Tiger block seemed to make the CU hitters tentative.
Out of the stoppage, the teams traded side outs until a CU kill pulled them within one at 18-17. Mizzou won three of the next four to go on top 21-18, but CU rallied to cut the lead back to one at 21-20, despite a fine play from defensive specialist Annie Lopez (St. Louis, Mo.), who made a pancake dig on a CU tip shot. The Tiger lead was extended to two at 23-21 after a kill from Klein, but two straight kills from CU knotted things back up at 23. A pair of Colorado attack errors ensued that ultimately gave the set to Mizzou, 25-23.
Klein led the Tigers with five kills in the set as she hit .450 with 11 kills heading into the intermission. Mizzou hit .307 through the first two and, surprisingly, had 30 kills which was seven less than Colorado who posted 37 on .256 hitting. The difference in the match through the first two frames was Mizzou's ability to limit its errors as it had only seven attack errors to CU's 14. CU also committed five service errors, a pair of return errors and a ball handling error, giving it 22 through two sets. Conversely, Mizzou committed only 13.
Mizzou raced out to an 8-2 lead in the third due to fine play from its block and back row - which made several athletic plays to keep rallies alive - as they looked to close the match in the just three sets. CU rallied behind its home crowd to knot the score at eight. In fact, CU went on a 13-4 run that ended with a Kreklow timeout with the Buffs on top, 15-12, despite the fine start from the Tigers. That run was all CU needed as it claimed the second, 25-19, after closing the set on a 23-11 run. Mizzou hit just .079 in the third.
Weiwen Wang (Nanjing, China) gave the Tigers a spark off of the bench to open the fourth, helping Mizzou to an early 3-1 lead. That lead lasted until the 14-11 mark of the set when the rally of the match occurred. Four acrobatic digs - including two sprawling efforts from Vann and one from both Ampudia and Lopez - from the Tigers kept the point alive until the block of Wilson and Wang-Francisco forced the Biffs to send an attack into the net, giving Mizzou a 15-11 lead. That point seized the momentum for the Tigers as they coasted from there, claiming the fourth set, 25-19 after an ace from Vann.
The Tigers continue their two-match road trip next Wednesday (Nov. 18) as they head to Lubbock, Texas, to take on Texas Tech in their final televised match of the 2009 season. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to www.MUTigers.com.