Mizzou volleyball sweeps Texas A&M for third straight win

Freshman Leketor Member-Meneh stepped up to make an impact for the Tigers in the victory.

A young Mizzou fan holds up a “Point Mizzou!” sign during the Mizzou volleyball homecoming game in 2016/ Maneater File Photo

Fresh off of two road wins over Ole Miss and Georgia, Missouri volleyball continued to perform well in conference play in its return home Friday night, sweeping the Texas A&M Aggies at Hearnes Center. With the victory, the Tigers claimed their third consecutive win, bringing the team’s conference record to 8-3.

The first set was a tight one and featured a number of lead changes. The Tigers were able to pull ahead briefly in the middle of the set as a tentative offense limited the Aggies. Despite several brief pushes from Texas A&M, Missouri held on to the lead and took the set 25-23. Freshman Leketor Member-Meneh and redshirt freshman Kayla Caffey were the big hitters on the front line for Missouri, contributing four kills each.

The two freshmen dominated on offense alongside the upperclassmen, giving life to the Tigers late in the first set to help the team gain the set victory.

“I’m really pleased with our young players,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “It’s nice to see the young guys step up and get better as the night goes on.”

After dropping the first set, the Aggies fought back and started off strong. The point-for-point battle continued into the second set as the two teams settled in and began relying on intelligent shots through strong passing.

Midway through the set, the Tigers began to crumble defensively with weak blocking and miscommunication, allowing the Aggies to earn points. The Tigers would ultimately pull it together on the defensive end and found a way to climb back into the set to earn the 25-23 victory. Member-Meneh continued to command the offense, leading the Tigers with six kills in the second set.

“Leketor has the ability to make really great plays, and she did again tonight,” Kreklow said. “She just adds a dimension to the game. I am pleased with the progress she is making as a player.”

The third set began the same as the previous two, with the two teams playing each other tight. The Aggies remained scrappy, utilizing a 5-1 rotation to earn points with attacks by the setter on the front row. The set stayed close until the Tigers pulled ahead on several service and attack errors by A&M to put them ahead 15-14. Strong kills from freshman Dariana Hollingsworth and redshirt senior Kira Larson propelled the Tigers to a 25-19 win.

"I thought we did a nice job tonight in a lot of different areas against an RPI top-50 team," Kreklow said. "When it gets late in the year like this, you have to start winning these types of matches if you want to keep playing at the end of the year. A lot of our players made plays when we needed them.”

The win brings the Tigers’ record to 15-9 overall. Mizzou will look to extend its winning streak to four games at home on Sunday against LSU, with first serve set for 1 p.m.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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