Missouri dropped a set for the first time in 10 matches but continued their 17-game winning streak and improved their conference record to 2-0, beating Arkansas on Wednesday night in four sets (25-18, 20-25, 25-14, 25-20) in a game nationally televised on ESPNU.
After committing four errors in the match’s first 10 points, the Tigers went ahead 9-8 on a kill from senior hitter Lisa Henning and retained their lead all the way to a 25-18 victory in the opening set.
Though the teams were equally eager offensively, with the Tigers notching only one more attack than the Razorbacks, Missouri was able to capitalize on its swings, hitting .353 compared to Arkansas’ .091. Missouri had 17 kills in the first set, led by Henning, who had six.
The second set saw Missouri lose only its game of the year as Arkansas maintained a steady lead throughout. This was the first set loss for Missouri in 33 consecutive set-wins since Sept. 6, spanning 10 matches. The Tigers hit .150, their lowest percentage of the season, completing only 12 kills on 40 attempts.
MU redeemed itself in the third set, coming out on top 25-14. While the Tigers still hit an uncharacteristically low .231, Henning brought her kill count up to 18, matching a season-high. Freshman blocker Julia Towler added a punch on both offense and defense, contributing two block assists and a kill over three of Missouri’s last five points in the set.
The Tigers overcame eight ties in score to clinch the match 25-20 in the fourth set, hitting .371. The Tigers had 62 digs against the Razorbacks, breaking the previous season-high of 59. Missouri also had 148 total attacks, a new season-high.
Henning’s performance was one for the books. The All-American had 24 kills total, topping her previous season-high record set against Pittsburgh, in another four-set match, and falling just three kills shy of her career-high 27 kills. Henning swung on 55 total attacks for the night, breaking her season high by 11.
Freshman utility Carly Kan proved once again that her small stature does not hinder her defensively, putting up 12 digs and three blocks in addition to six kills. Senior setter Molly Kreklow, who leads the NCAA in assists per set, contributed 47 of the team’s 53 assists.
Missouri looks to stay undefeated when it takes on Auburn on Friday at Hearnes Center.