The Missouri volleyball team showcased its talent during the Black and Gold match on Aug. 22. During last week's BYU Molten Classic in Provo, Utah, the squad got a chance to prove something it couldn't in an intra-squad scrimmage: its resiliency.
Friday, Missouri played its first match of the season against a Tulane team picked to win the Conference USA. The Tigers opened the match by dropping their first set 25-23 after promptly falling into a 21-14 hole in the second set. But it's what the Tigers accomplished from there that tells the story.
Facing set point at 24-17 in the first set, the Tigers won scored six consecutive points before eventually succumbing on set point No. 7. Although the comeback bid fell just short, the rally set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
Missouri responded to the 1-0 deficit by rattling off three straight sets for the win. The Tigers took the second set, 25-20, and the third set, 26-24. The Tigers clinched the match with 25-14 fourth set that featured a 15-4 run from Missouri.
Against Utah State, the second match of the weekend, the resiliency of individual players told the story. Sophomore Julianna Klein, working her way back from an ACL injury in 2007, tallied 23 kills, the third time she's surpassed the 20-kill mark in her career.
In addition, Missouri showed its ability to rebound from the graduation of former libero Tatum Ailes, as sophomore Caitlyn Vann turned in a career day, finishing with 29 digs. The Tigers again dropped the first set, but responded with three straight set victories to win the match, 20-25, 35-19, 25-20, 26-24.
The Tigers lone loss of the weekend came in a five-set dogfight with No. 20 BYU. Missouri dropped the first set for the third time in as many games, but was unable to complete the comeback, losing 25-20, 19-25, 25-10, 22-25, 17-15.
Missouri's next test starts Friday, as the Tigers travel to College Park, Md. for the Spring Hill Suites at Arundel Mills Invitational. In a two-day span, Missouri will face St. John's, Kentucky and Maryland. Missouri, St. John's and Kentucky all received votes in the most recent AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll.