Nov. 17, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The seventh-ranked Mizzou volleyball team pushed its streak to 31 consecutive wins after defeating South Carolina, 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-16), on Sunday afternoon. The win improves Mizzou to a national-best 31-0 and 15-0 in SEC play as the Tigers are now just one win shy of clinching the school's first-ever SEC Championship. The win for Mizzou is also its 15th away from home, their most in the NCAA Tournament era, and remain as one of two unbeaten teams nationally. Mizzou rode a balanced offense, quarterbacked by senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.), as nine different Tiger attackers finished with kills.
"The challenge for us today was having to travel and come back and play after a huge win at Florida Friday night," Wayne Kreklow said. "A lot of times, teams can be sluggish or lose focus after a win like that but I thought we did a good job of coming out and setting the tone early. We now have a chance to do something pretty special Friday against Mississippi State, so I hope we can get a huge crowd at the Hearnes Center."
Kreklow set up a Tiger offense that hit .466 in the win while Mizzou's defense, behind six blocks, limited South Carolina to .055 hitting in the win. Junior All-SEC middle Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) led a middle-hitting trio that was unstoppable as she had seven kills on .636 hitting. She teamed with freshman middles Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) and Julia Towler (Blue Springs, Mo.), who had a combined nine kills on 13 swings. Senior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) added seven kills on .333 hitting and Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) had a nice match with six kills on .600 hitting. Kreklow spread 33 assists and tallied eight digs with a match-high three blocks in the win. Junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) also added eight digs. Mizzou forced 25 USC attack errors.
The Tigers picked up right where they left off Friday night as jumped out to a 9-2 lead and continued to keep the foot on the throttle and opened a 16-5 lead behind a balanced offensive attack and a slew of South Carolina errors. Behind their efficient offense and a stout block, the Tigers ran away with the first set, 25-13. Mizzou hit .591 in the first set with 13 kills and no errors. Little led the way with four while Thater added three as the middle-hitting duo was unstoppable. Mizzou also had four total blocks in the first set, led by three from Kreklow.
Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) got things started in the second set with a left-side kill and Mizzou pulled away midway through the set, opening a 12-6 lead before a South Carolina timeout. And again, Mizzou kept firing on all cylinders as the Tigers pulled away with a 25-13 set win. The Tigers hit .440 in the second set and subbed out most of its starters before the end of the set. Eight different Tigers had kills through two sets, led by five from Henning and Wilson with four from Thater. Mizzou had just two attack errors through two sets while South Carolina had 18.
The third set was more of the same for Mizzou as it pulled away midway through the set at 12-6 and ran away with a 25-16 set win. The Tigers could clinch the school's first-ever SEC Championship next Friday against 6:30 p.m. at the Hearnes Center as they face Mississippi State. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter MizzouVB.