Missouri volleyball began the NCAA tournament by hosting Northern Illinois at the Mizzou Arena on Dec. 1. Though the third and final set was close, coming within five points, the Tigers swept the competition, winning the first three games. Missouri continued the winning streak Friday, with a 3–1 win over Purdue.
Junior outside hitter Melanie Crow led the way for the Tigers throughout their victory over the Purdue Boilermakers was with a game-high 25 kills. Carly Kan came in next for the Tigers, finishing with nine kills on the night and 13 digs.
Mizzou split the first two sets with the Boilermakers. After the Tigers took the first set 25–13, Purdue bounced back to beat the Tigers in a close 25–22 set win. The Tigers broke through in the third set with a 25–16 set win and topped it off with a 25–21 victory in the fourth to seal the deal for their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2010, only the third time in Mizzou volleyball history.
Friday's victory also served as a second-round rematch for Mizzou, as the Tigers fell to the Boilermakers in 2013 in the second round after winning the SEC and going 35-1 for the season.
Up next for the Tigers is a trip to Minnesota to face off against the Golden Gophers on Friday.
After senior defensive specialist Alexa Ethridge, 13, scrambled to pop the ball up, freshman Andie Hanus sets the ball cross court to outside hitter Carly Kan, who scored against Northern Illinois.
Second set starters huddle in the middle of the court after switching sides, while defensive specialist Alexa Ethridge, 13, waits to substitute in on the sideline on Thursday night.
Peering across the net, coach Wayne Kreklow and his players prepare for Northern Illinois' serve in anticipation of siding out.
Tigers senior defensive specialist Alexa Ethridge, 13, celebrates after Mizzou scores a point in the first set facing Northern Illinois.
Despite the close start, the Tigers celebrated after each point they earned in the first set facing Northern Illinois. They would eventually pull away to end nine points ahead.
Junior setter Courtney Eckenrode, 4, and senior outside hitter Emily Thater, 2, attempt to block Sherridan Atkinson's hit during the second set of Missouri's matchup against Purdue.
Missouri fans Josh Wilson, right, and Aaron Hudlow, left, cheer during the Missouri Waltz at the Hearnes Center after winning the faceoff with Purdue.
Junior setter Courtney Eckenrode, 4, sets up at the net after losing the point to Purdue.
Senior outside hitter Carly Kan, 9, serves during first match of the face off with Purdue.
Junior setter Courtney Eckenrode, 4, sets up the play for a hit, scoring one against Purdue.
Senior defensive specialist Alexa Ethridge, 13, celebrates a kill by one of her teammates against Purdue, which contributed to winning the third match.
Sophomore middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn, 8, and junior setter Courtney Eckenrode, 4, celebrate after Mizzou scored the 25th point of the final match to win against Purdue and move on to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Missouri volleyball, the 2016 SEC Champions and now a Sweet 16 contender, gather together to celebrate the win against Purdue after the conclusion of the fourth and final game of the match.
Starting junior Kira Larson, 10, gives high fives to her line of teammates. Larson would end the night with eight kills on a .483 hitting percentage against Northern Illinois.
As the Tigers near a win, senior middle blocker Julia Towler, 7, jumps in attempt to block a hit by Northern Illinois after substituting in to gain playing time in the first Mizzou game of the NCAA tournament.