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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Missouri avenges Friday loss, trounces Georgia

After Texas A&M loss, the Tigers rode strong defense to drop the Bulldogs in straight sets.

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Junior Molly Kreklow sets the ball for sophomore Whitney Little Sunday at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers beat the Bulldogs in three matches.

Danielle Kasper/Senior Staff Photographer

Sept. 30, 2012

After being upset by the Texas A&M on Friday, Missouri volleyball was able to avenge the loss by sweeping Georgia in straight sets (25-15, 25-23, 25-11) on Sunday.

"I was pleased with the way that we responded after Friday night," coach Wayne Kreklow said. "I thought we were still a little sloppy at times, but I was pleased with the way we responded. I thought we blocked really well in the first set and that sort of set the tone for the rest of the match."

The first set was virtually even with both teams trading off leads and scoring off errors made by the other team. But with the score tied at 12, Missouri went on a 13-3 scoring streak and took the set 25-15.

The opening set also marked the first time this season Missouri had forced its opponent to have a negative attacking average with the Bulldogs having an -.079 average with 13 errors.

In the second set, Georgia was able to cut down the errors to only four and never let the Tigers pull away by more than five. With the score tied at 23, Missouri’s defense took over, forcing two errors to win the set 25-23.

The final set marked one of the Tigers’ best offensive outings of the season with an attack average of .409. After trailing early and tying the game 5-5, the team went on an eight-point scoring streak highlighted by four blocks and two kills by sophomore middle blocker Whitney Little. The Tigers wrapped up the set 25-11.

Outside hitter Lisa Henning, who led the team with 12 kills, credited her team’s resurgence from Friday to an adjusted state of mind.

“I thought we really came back strong from Friday,” Henning said. “I think we were mentally and physically ready to play today. We were excited to play and ready to be here. It was just a different feeling from Friday.”

The victory was a showcase for the Tigers’ defense, which has continued to improve with the emergence of Little throughout the season. With 10 solo blocks on the day, Little broke the school record for most career double-digit blocks per game with Sunday being her fourth. The Tigers had 15 team blocks against the Aggies.

Little said the record was a testament to the team’s practice regiment.

“It feels good,” Little said. “It’s nice that we’ve been working on blocks more often in practice and I’m glad to see that it’s working.”

All four of Little’s double-digit blocking games have come in the last eight matches. Little said that her recent success could be credited to her motivation as a competitor.

“I would have to say it’s my drive, my motivation, that’s made me play well lately,” she said. “Last year, I was focused on just learning everything, but this year I want to be the best.”

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