Mizzou Volleyball Falls in Season Finale
COLUMBIA -- The Mizzou volleyball team lost its season finale, 3-2 (25-15, 19-25, 25-17, 23-25, 12-15), on Friday night at the Hearnes Center. The loss drops the Tigers to 19-12 on the season and 10-10 in SEC play. There were some silver linings on Friday as junior All-American Lisa Henning became the first ever Tiger with back-to-back 500-kill seasons with her team-high 24 kills while sophomore middle Whitney Little reset her own Mizzou single season blocks record with 139 this year after tallying three blocks in the loss.
Aside from Henning's 24 kills on the night, Mizzou had a balanced offensive attack when it was in system, spreading the ball to a variety of different hitters. Sophomore Emily Wilson had 16 kills on .519 hitting while Little pitched in 13 kills on .520 hitting. Freshman Regan Peltier added nine kills while Kreklow finished with six. Molly Kreklow had 55 assists while guiding the team to .364 hitting.
Defensively, Mizzou was led by libero Sarah Meister who had 14 digs while defensive specialist Jade Hayes added 14 more. The Tigers out-blocked Alabama, 9-4, and out-dug the Tide, 61-55. The Tigers also out-hit Alabama in the loss, hitting .364 to Alabama's .318. Alabama had 71 kills to the Tigers' 70.
The Tiger offense was firing on all cylinders in the first set as it tallied 18 kills on .571 hitting, tallying those 18 kills on just 28 attacks. Kreklow assisted on 15 of the 18 Tiger kills as she spread the ball around to a variety of different targets as Mizzou ran away with the opening frame, 25-15. Little tallied a break of block assists on the final two points as she matched her single season school record with 138 blocks with two sets remaining.
The second set was a straight role reversal for the two teams as it was Alabama that dominated play. In fact, the Tide opened up a 23-12 lead before Mizzou scored five straight points to make it interesting, but ultimately, Alabama's offense was too much as it won 25-19. Just like Mizzou in the first set, Alabama was very good offensively in the second, tallying 18 kills on .341 hitting. Mizzou had just 11 kills in the second set after posting 18 in the opening frame.
Coming out of intermission, Mizzou was on fire again, taking the third frame, 25-17, after hitting .375 to Alabama's .258. But from there, Mizzou lost the fourth set, 25-22, giving up a late lead and then allowed Alabama to rally from down 11-10 to claim the deciding fifth set. Mizzou has more kills than the Tide in the fifth with 11, but a crucial ace late in the set was enough for Alabama to pull away.