Tigers Bounce Back to Sweep South Carolina
COLUMBIA -- The Mizzou volleyball team rebounded from a two-match losing streak to defeat South Carolina, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 28-26), on Friday night at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers used a torrid offensive effort to earn the sweep as they posted 50 kills on .342 hitting as junior setter Molly Kreklow had arguably her best match of the season, spreading 47 assists while finishing with a match-high 13 digs for her team-leading 15th double-double of the season.
"We needed this one," head coach Wayne Kreklow said following the match. "It was a very tough month for us in October, but I thought things finally looked like they were coming together again. I thought we did a lot of good things offensively and we really did a nice job of staying on the attack and staying aggressive. It is a good start to what will hopefully be a good final month of the season for us."
Molly Kreklow quarterbacked a Tiger offense that was unstoppable on Friday, due in large part to junior Lisa Henning and sophomore Whitney Little. Henning posted a match-high 17 kills on .289 hitting with 10 digs, good for her 10th double-double of the season. Little on the other hand had a dominant match with 12 kills and no errors on 18 attacks (.667 hitting) while adding a pair of aces and five blocks (one solo, four assists). She accounted for 17.0 total points in the match. Mizzou also got a boost offensively from sophomore Emily Wilson who posted nine kills on .368 hitting.
Defensively, Mizzou did enough to slow down a South Carolina attack that in all was pretty potent on Friday. But Mizzou did enough, posting 10 team blocks and 53 total digs in three sets. Little led the Tigers with her five blocks while Henning added three (two solo, one assist). Freshman Lydia Ely also posted a pair of solo blocks in the win, including the match-clinching point in the third set. Sophomore libero Sarah Miester posted 12 digs in the match and was perfect on a team-high 26 serve receives.
The Tigers led for much of the first set before South Carolina rallied to keep it tight late in the set. The Gamecocks got as close as 22-21 in the first, but a kill from Wilson sparked a 3-1 run by the Tigers to close the set. Mizzou tallied 15 kills in the first on just 35 attacks to help win the set. The Tiger offense was firing on all cylinders again in the second as Mizzou hit .364 with 15 kills as it ran away with the second frame, 25-19.
The third set was much closer despite a Tiger offense that hit .372 with 20 kills as defense was at a premium in the third. South Carolina countered the Tiger attack with 17 kills on .325 hitting in the third, but Mizzou ultimately escaped with a 28-26 set win on Ely's second solo block of the night.
The Tigers will be back in action on Tuesday as they face Arkansas State at 6:30 p.m. inside the Hearnes Center.