After a strong start at the Utah Classic on Friday with a 3-1 victory over Green Bay, Missouri volleyball ran into trouble during the second day of the event while facing its next two opponents, No. 15 San Diego and No. 18 Utah.
In their first match, the Tigers struggled mightily at the net and were swept by San Diego.
The Tigers started off strong in the first set, controlling a majority of the set and jumping out to a 23-20 lead. From there, the Toreros rallied hard the next five points to earn the win 25-23. After letting the first set slip through their fingers, the Tigers never found the strength to pull ahead, falling to San Diego in the second set 25-17 and 25-16 in the third.
Missouri’s poor play at the net throughout the match was a crucial factor in the loss. The Tigers were out-blocked 12-5 by San Diego and finished with 24 attack errors, while the Toreros only had 12.
Despite the poor result, three Tigers had stellar performances. Senior setter Courtney Eckenrode led the Tigers with 28 assists. Redshirt senior outside hitter Kira Larson shined on defense with nine digs and junior middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn led the Tigers with 11 kills and three blocks and a team-high 12.5 points.
"I was disappointed in how we let that first set slip away and that really altered the entire match," head coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. "These morning matches are tough to get everyone ready to go and we had a chance to jump on a top-25 team and get an early lead and let it slip away.”
With the loss, the Tigers were 1-1 for the weekend heading into their second match against the host team, No. 18 Utah.
In their final appearance on the court in Salt Lake City, the Tigers were swept once again.
After dropping the first set 25-20, Mizzou matched Utah point for point in a back-and-forth second set. Unfortunately, the Tigers were not strong enough to claim the set, and Utah prevailed 27-25.
The third set told the same story. The Tigers held their own but could not close out the set to continue the match. Utah claimed the set 25-19, scoring six of the last seven points of the match.
Errors at the net played a role in this loss as well, as the Tigers were out-blocked by the Utes 13-7, and hit only .156 while Utah hit .324.
Eckenrode continued to dominate on offense, tallying 30 more assists. Redshirt sophomore defensive specialist Riley Sents made her mark by leading the Tigers on defense with 11 digs.
The 4-6 Tigers will have the opportunity to snap their losing streak against Pepperdine at the Nevada Tournament on Friday.
Edited by Eli Lederman | email@example.com