Missouri Volleyball drops to 10-4 in Southeastern Conference play after falling to No. 4 Florida

Both defenses impressed, but a five-point Gators run to conclude the vital third set proved to be decisive.
Maneater File Photo

Missouri volleyball had its five-game winning streak snapped in a 3-1 loss on the road to the No. 4-ranked Florida Gators on Sunday. The two teams clashed in a tight defensive battle, but ultimately the Gators were too much for Missouri to overcome.

The first set was controlled by Florida, which tallied four serving aces en route to a 25-16 victory. However, the second set, which saw 14 ties and three lead changes, was much closer. With the score tied at 22, two consecutive kills from redshirt senior Kira Larson provided the spark the Tigers needed to win the set 25-23.

Tied at one set apiece, the third set would be crucial in terms of momentum, and Mizzou looked sure to win it when Florida senior Caroline Knop missed a serve, giving the Tigers a 24-21 lead.

Nevertheless, the Gators proved why they are atop the Southeastern Conference standings as they scored five consecutive points to steal the set 26-24. Florida closed out the fourth set in the same way, once again scoring the final five points to win the set 25-16 and picking up its eighth straight match victory.

“Florida is tough on its home court and they were again today,” Tigers head coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. “Everyone had their good moments and their bad moments today. We need to work on being more consistent and more resilient throughout a tough match like this.”

Both teams had impressive defensive performances, with each having at least 70 digs and 10 blocks, and both offenses were limited to hitting under .220. The difference-maker in the match was Florida redshirt senior Shainah Joseph. The Gators outside hitter posted a career-high 20 kills on .529 hitting on her team’s senior night.

Redshirt senior Melanie Crow led the Tigers with 10 kills, while senior Courtney Eckenrode added 25 assists and Larson and freshman Dariana Hollingsworth each registered 15 digs. Junior Alyssa Munlyn’s five total blocks against the Gators brings her season total to 155, a new single-season Mizzou record, breaking her own tally of 153 total blocks in 2016.

Mizzou will play its final road game of the regular season against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Friday, Nov. 17. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 3-0 in their previous match on Oct. 13. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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