The Maneater

Lacking identity, Missouri volleyball gets swept by Boise State Saturday

Lineup instability continues to hurt the Tigers as the team searches for a leader.

Maneater File Photo

The rocky start to Missouri volleyball’s season continued Saturday as the Tigers dropped to 3-4 after a 3-0 loss to the Boise State Broncos in the final game of the Boise State Invitational in Boise, Idaho. This was not the start that the team, which opened the season ranked No. 19 in the nation, was hoping for coming into the season.

Mizzou’s starting outside hitters in this contest were freshman Dariana Hollingsworth and junior Paige Perego, the fifth different combination head coach Wayne Kreklow has used in his first seven games this season. While giving different players game experience provides an opportunity to increase squad depth and help develop players for the future, the strategy can also backfire, as it did Saturday against the Broncos.

This was the least experienced lineup the Tigers have used thus far, and it showed in their inability to fight through the match and get kills. As the match wore on, the Tigers struggled to find an offensive leader to rely on, and the team hit a meager .030 in the final set, ultimately losing 18-25.

Hollingsworth looked to be the leader early in the game, as the freshman started strong with six kills and .750 hitting in the first set, but an error-filled performance in the ensuing two sets caused her to end the match hitting .097. Perego also had a rough match, registering just two kills on 14 attempts.

Opposite hitter Kira Larson recorded a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs, and middle blocker Kayla Caffey provided five more kills, but it wasn’t enough to carry the Tigers past a tough Broncos team.

The Tigers continued to struggle in the absence of senior outside hitter Melanie Crow, a player the team could typically rely on late in games. Crow, who went down with an ankle injury against Middle Tennessee last week, has not played since the second match of the season. Without Crow, there does not seem to be a definitive starting lineup for the Tigers, as Hollingsworth along with outside hitters Sydney Deeken and Leketor Member-Meneh each played varying amounts in the tournament.

The Tigers’ lack of identity played a major role in Missouri’s loss to Boise State, something the team will have to address if it hopes to rebound next weekend at the Utah Classic in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Tigers will play Green Bay on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT and will then have a tough doubleheader on Saturday against No. 17 San Diego at 11 a.m. CT and No. 22 Utah at 8 p.m. CT.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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