Missouri volleyball suffered its first loss Saturday night against the No. 23 Michigan Wolverines in the Tiger Invitational finale, falling in three straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-22).
The Tigers capitalized on the electricity of the fans in the opening minute by earning the first point off of a kill from sophomore middle blocker Whitney Little. But the Wolverines tied the game with the next point and never surrendered the lead for the rest of the set, winning 25-19.
The second was a blowout for Michigan, winning 25-15. Missouri never held the lead and had an hitting percentage of a mere .118, down even from the .171 percentage from the first set.
The final set was an anomaly compared to the other two, even though Michigan won 25-22. Both teams traded leads. The Tigers increased their attacking percentage to .367 percent. Missouri proved perhaps that it was able to challenge, but Michigan proved to be too overpowering.
Coach Wayne Kreklow voiced his displeasure after the game.
“I think we were ready to go, but they jumped on us really hard really early and it just took us a while to come back, “ Kreklow said. “They’re a very good team, and if you don’t attack a good team they’ll just start teeing off. It’s to stop anybody if they’re playing in system and you’re trying to defend.”
Junior outside hitter Lisa Henning led the team with 17 kills on 43 total attacks while sophomore libero Jade Hayes led defensively with 14 digs.
“There is so much ahead of us,” Hayes said. “We shouldn’t be negative about this, if anything we should show us how we’re going to bounce back and be stronger from that. I’m looking forward to what we do this upcoming weekend. “
Henning connected the mentality of the team to the poor performance in the first two games.
“I think it was just a lack of focus,” Henning said. “I feel like everybody was getting nervous and down on themselves. Michigan is a good team, but I think we should’ve come out stronger than that.”
Missouri finished the Tiger Invitational in second place with a 3-1 record. The Tigers will travel to Nashville, Tenn., for the Lipscomb Invitational where they will play Houston, Lipscomb and Appalachian State.