The Maneater

Missouri volleyball dominates Arkansas in another home victory

The Tigers raise their SEC record to 4-2 with another straight set victory.

Missouri’s Alyssa Munlyn celebrates a successful save during the third set of a match against Drake on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Munlyn, originally from Suwanee, GA, was SEC Freshman of the Year in 2015.

Missouri volleyball continued its home success with a 3-0 win over Arkansas on Sunday. The Tigers have only dropped a single set at home this season and have won every SEC home match in straight sets.

“I think the big advantage of playing at home is our crowd,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “[Our crowd] really is a big factor in that and I think even today there were times where our team started to go a little flat but somebody makes a great play and all of the sudden the crowd is back into. You can literally feel the energy running down onto that floor and it does make a big difference when you can get your crowd involved.”

Missouri started off strong, never giving up the lead in the first set and eventually winning 25-20. The second set started off back-and-forth. The set was tied six times early on, but the Tigers took a 7-6 lead and kept the lead for the remainder of the set. Missouri won the set 25-19. The Tigers won the third set 25-16, hitting .353 with 13 kills.

“Overall, obviously it turned out well,” Kreklow said. “I thought at times we looked really sharp. I didn’t think we were quite as sharp as we were Friday.”

Kreklow continued to run a 5-1 rotation against Arkansas, after running it Friday against South Carolina. Redshirt freshman setter Andrea Fuentes had 35 assists for the Tigers.

“I think [Fuentes] has got a really good feel for distributing the ball,” Kreklow said. “I think she is putting some people in some good situations and I think she is starting to hold her own a little bit with her block and her defense.”

Arkansas also changed its rotation since its last match against Missouri. In the Tigers’ 3-1 victory in Fayetteville, the Razorbacks ran a 5-1, but have since changed to a 6-2.

“I thought when we were down at their place the first time when their setter was up that was kind of a weak spot for them that we were able to kind of exploit,” Kreklow said. “That’s not there now, so it made it a little more difficult. I thought Arkansas really played some great defense at times. I thought we got a little lackadaisical in transition but I thought overall it wasn’t a bad performance against a pretty good team, now that they’re running the 6-2.”

Sophomore Kylie Deberg led Missouri with 14 kills. Sophomores Tyanna Omazic and Dariana Hollingsworth also tallied nine kills each. Deberg also had four aces in the match. Senior Alyssa Munlyn led with six blocks, and redshirt junior Riley Sents had 16 digs for Missouri.

“[My teammates] make my role a lot easier,” Fuentes said. “They literally make my job so easy. It’s so easy to set them. They work with whatever you give them. And they help me a lot. They encourage me, they give me confidence, they encourage me to trust them. It’s really a two way street. It’s half [hitting] and half [setting] and they have done so well meeting me halfway and working with me and cooperating, and I do my best to do that with them. It’s really just a good two-way street that we have.”

Missouri’s win against the Razorbacks brings its SEC record to 4-2. With two-thirds of the SEC season left, the Tigers will be focusing on themselves instead of their conference competitors.

“Our coach always tells us it’s not really what the other team does, it’s what we do together as a team,” Omazic said. “I think we come into practice and compete 100 percent. It’s good to have each others’ backs, and I think we do have each others’ backs going on to the next teams, I think we’re just gonna take it team by team, we’re not going to focus on the big major goal, which is winning the SEC championship, but we’re just going to take it team by team and focus on ourselves.”

Missouri will head to Oxford, Mississippi to take on Mississippi on Friday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. CST.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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