Missouri volleyball wins home tournament, remains undefeated

The Tigers hit .396 with 187 kills in the four matches.

Missouri volleyball (8-0) remained undefeated after returning home to Hearnes Center in its home-opening Tiger Invitational over the weekend. The Tigers picked up four wins over three days, advancing to 8-0 on the season and winning the invite.

Friday vs. Austin Peay (1-9) and Northern Iowa (4-7)

Missouri beat Austin Peay in three sets 25-21, 25-10 and 25-14 to win the match 3-0. Missouri had a hitting percentage of .513 compared to APSU’s .155, with three different Tigers posting nine or more kills. Junior Kylie Deberg had 17 kills while redshirt sophomore Kayla Caffey contributed eight of her own with a .700 hitting percentage.

“I think [having a balanced offense] really puts the pressure on the other team’s defense,” coach Joshua Taylor said. “When you have multiple people contributing it’s not only good on paper, but emotionally, I think it’s just good for the team when you’ve got more than one person doing all the work.”

Missouri’s offense continued to impress in game two against UNI. The Tigers defeated the Panthers in four sets: 25-22, 22-25, 25-17 and 25-14, winning the match 3-1. Deberg put up 18 kills, making this the sixth match where she has posted 14 or more.

Junior Tyanna Ozamic had 11 kills and six blocks against the Panthers, totaling 20 kills and a .500 hitting percentage on the day. Redshirt sophomore setter Andrea Fuentes also contributed 84 assists throughout the day: 44 against ASPU and 40 against UNI.

“I think that [Fuentes] just has a great IQ of the game,” Omazic said. “She just does such a good job of making sure each attacker is getting just as many attempts and having a good one-on-one situation with the other side.”

Friday also saw freshman Kenna Sauer make her debut in three sets throughout the two matches, as well as junior Leketor Member-Meneh posting nine kills against APSU and 12 against UNI.

Saturday vs. UMKC (2-5)

The Tigers went back and forth in the beginning of the first set staying three points ahead of the competition until pulling away to bring the final set score to 25-12. Missouri’s offense recorded 47 kills on .526 hitting against UMKC.

“We were in rhythm a lot today and getting a lot of great first balls,” Taylor said. “Having five attackers hitting .400 plus with limited errors is very impressive.”

In set two Missouri’s offense shifted into full gear, rallying in 18 kills and hitting .900.Missouri has surpassed .500 hitting in matches three times already this season. The Tigers didn’t commit a single attack error in an explosive offensive set lead by Deberg and Fuentes.

“[Fuentes] once again did a great job giving our attackers some great looks at getting kills. She is getting there and setting a really killable ball and our attackers are hitting high and hard.”

Deberg produced 14 kills along with four digs and three aces all three coming from the first set. Fuentes continued to facilitate the Tiger offense with an impressive 44 assists along with one ace and two total blocks. Fuentes has tallied 40 plus assists in the past three matches.

Defensively, Missouri was able to keep Kansas City within 20 points for the first two sets,ending the match with a team total of nine blocks. Omazic and Caffey were two stand out performers for the Tiger defense. Omazic generated two solo blocks for a total of four blocks and 10 kills on .600 hitting. Caffey followed with three total blocks and eight kills on .667 hitting.

Sunday vs. Boise State (6-3)

Missouri finished its weekend with a sweep over Boise State on Sunday.

“Getting wins against any team is huge, but we played some pretty good teams this weekend,” Taylor said. “Being home was just fantastic.”

The first set started off back-and-forth with five lead changes early on. Down 10-12, the Tigers went on a 12-1 run and held onto the lead for the rest of the set.

“We had to adjust ourselves,” Taylor said. “We slowed down our approach as attackers and sped up the set a little bit with Kylie.”

The second set started off similar to the first, but the Tiger offense took control. With the set tied at 14, a big kill by junior Dariana Hollingsworth-Santana put Missouri ahead, where it stayed for the rest of the set, winning 25-19. The Tigers hit a match-high .481 with 16 kills.

Missouri took control in the third set. After losing the first point of the set, the Tigers went on a 3-0 run and kept the lead.

Serving proved to be a big issue for the Tigers, who had 13 service errors in the match.

“I think one thing we have to improve on a little bit is we were giving up too many points to the other team on service errors,” Taylor said. “So we’re going to be working on that a good amount.”

Missouri hit over .300 in all three sets, recording 40 kills. Member-Meneh and Deberg led Missouri’s offense with 10 kills each. Member-Meneh also led the Tigers with a .529 hitting percentage and was named to the all-tournament team.

“[Member-Meneh] is doing awesome stuff,” Taylor said.“Her best skill is attacking, and she is doing fantastic things.”

Fuentes, who had 32 assists in the match, was named the tournament MVP.

“We always know what to expect from [Fuentes] and where the ball is going to go,” Member-Meneh said. “She is always consistent and that is a great thing to have as a hitter.”

Missouri will head to Waco, Texas next weekend to face No. 5 Baylor and No. 18 Hawaii in the Baylor Classic. Missouri, Baylor and Hawaii are three of the remaining 10 undefeated teams in the country.

“We get ready for next weekend by completely forgetting about this weekend,” Member-Meneh said. “We need to be focused on who we play next.”

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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