Mizzou volleyball wins five-set match over the Gamecocks to earn fifth consecutive win

The team hit .300 for the sixth time this season en route to its fifth straight victory.

Maneater File Photo

In a thrilling five-set match against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Wednesday, Missouri volleyball extended its win streak to five matches in Columbia, South Carolina.

The five consecutive wins are the most the team has had during its 2017 campaign.

During the first set, the Gamecocks started strong offensively in front of their home crowd. The team earned 15 kills, while the Tigers only earned 10. Though South Carolina gave up five points due to service errors, the Tigers were unable to come back, struggling to get a block to help the defense and falling in the opening set 25-19.

Missouri responded well on both defense and offense in the second set to keep up with the Gamecocks. The Tigers recorded 15 kills, with senior Sydney Deeken pacing the team with five after coming off the bench early in the match. On defense, Missouri outperformed the Gamecocks in digs, 14-10. The strong performance by the Tigers propelled them to the set victory, 25-20. Redshirt senior Kira Larson also shined, leading the defense during the second set with six digs, and recorded her 800th kill for her career with one kill in the first set and two in the second.

The Tigers came out energetic in the third set, grabbing a quick 15-12 lead. South Carolina was not discouraged by the lead, battling point for point with the Tigers, eventually tying the score at 23. Deeken once again became the weapon for the Tigers, earning two points in a row with a kill and a block to grab the set victory for Missouri, 25-23. Overall, the Tigers earned 13 kills in the set, and five Tigers produced multiple kills.

During the fourth set, the Tigers looked to claim a 3-1 match victory after grabbing a 19-15 advantage over the Gamecocks late in the match. But South Carolina fought hard to push the match to a tie-breaking set, reeling off a 7-0 run to take control of the fourth set. The Gamecocks then held on to claim the set 25-22.

Despite the outcome, the Tigers recorded their eighth total block of the night, moving into the top-10 most team blocks in a single season for the program. Junior middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn performed well on defense for Missouri, tallying her 125th block assist of the year and becoming the all-time Mizzou single-season individual block-assist leader.

In the tie-breaking set, the Tigers pounced on the Gamecocks early to grab a 4-2 lead. Though South Carolina battled back, the Tigers kept the foot on the gas and took a 14-9 lead to force set point. The tables then started to turn for South Carolina, as the Gamecocks produced a 5-0 run to tie the score at 14. After a kill from Munlyn and an ace from redshirt senior Melanie Crow, the Tigers came out with the victory in extra points, 16-14.

“I thought tonight was a good example of having to find a way when things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. “Our serve and pass game was really off, which made things very difficult.”

Kreklow was pleased with how the team overcame tough moments during the game.

“I was proud of the way different people stepped up at times to make plays when we needed them most,” Kreklow said in the press release. “Winning on the road in the SEC is not easy and tonight was just another example of that.”

The Tiger offense has recently come alive in conference play, making this the sixth match where the team has hit .300. Missouri tallied 64 kills and six players made at least nine kills in the match against South Carolina.

Missouri will travel to Florida later this week to continue its final road matches of the season. The Tigers will face the Gators on Sunday, Nov. 12. The first serve is scheduled for noon CT.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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