Missouri defeats Maryland in season opener

The Tigers will continue the Tiger Invitational with two games on Saturday.

The Missouri Tigers started off the volleyball season strong by winning its first match against the Maryland Terrapins 25-21, 27-25 and 25-21.

The Tigers controlled the entire first game of the match, winning 25-21. The team was able to get out to a 7-4 lead and gain some separation from the Terrapins early on thanks to great sets from freshman setter Molly Kreklow. Kreklow helped distribute the ball to several hitters with junior middle blocker/outside hitter Brittany Brimmage having the most success with four kills in the game.

Kreklow ended up with 36 assists in her first collegiate match and it appeared that her dislocated pinkie didn’t affect her ability. Each time she had to serve, Kreklow employed an underhand style so her pinkie would not get irritated.

“It feels really good," Kreklow said. "I’m just trying to work back slowly, obviously with the blocking and then the serving.”

Overall, the freshman setter played an extremely vital role for the Tigers and should be a top-flight player for years to come.

“I still have some things to work on," she said. "But, for the circumstances with the injury I think I did well.”

However in the second game the Terps put up more of a challenge, staying close to the Tigers throughout the game. With freshman outside hitter Lisa Henning, who led the Tigers with 12 total kills, Missouri was able to outlast Maryland 27-25. Brimmage contributed with a few kills but most importantly with her blocking of the Terp’s kill attempts.

“So far its alright, I’m pretty sure I can improve on some things and do a little better,” Brimmage said. “I just need to hold the middle for our outside hitters and just get up early enough that I can hit the ball before anyone blocks.”

In the pivotal third game Missouri was in control until midway through as Maryland took the lead 15-16. A big part of Maryland’s success was due to the aggressive kills of freshman outside hitter Mary Cushman, who led all players with 15 kills.

After a Missouri timeout, the Tigers went on a tear scoring five straight points prompting a Maryland timeout.The Tigers then closed out the Terrapins 25-21 completing the team’s inaugural Tiger Invitational victory.

“I don’t know if I can point to one person," coach Wayne Kreklow said. "But, collectively I felt one of the real keys for us was the collective play in the back row.”

Missouri will look to continue its success Saturday as it faces Nevada at noon and Utah Valley at 6:30 p.m.

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