The Maneater

Missouri volleyball edges Miami in first five-set match of the season

Kylie Deberg starred for the Tigers in a match that stretched all the way to extra points in the decisive set, which Missouri won 16-14.

Missouri Tigers freshman volleyball player Alyssa Munlyn (8) celebrates during a game against the Winthrop Eagles Saturday, August 29, 2015, at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo. Courtesy of MU Athletics

Missouri volleyball defeated Miami (Fla.) in a five-set thriller on Saturday in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The first three sets began in almost identical fashions: with the Tigers in the lead for the majority of the match, and the Hurricanes yo-yo-ing right behind them, rarely falling more than three points behind.

Miami won six consecutive points at the end of the first set to put itself on the front foot early, but Missouri responded by winning the back-and-forth finale of the second set. The Tigers then won the third set and almost came back from a 21-15 deficit in the fourth, only to fall short in the final two points, setting up the winner-takes-all fifth set.

Miami looked to be in good shape in the rubber set when it curiously called a timeout, despite having won consecutive points and taken a 10-7 lead. Missouri tied it up immediately afterwards and didn’t let up en route to a 16-14 victory that took extra points (fifth sets are first to 15).

“Tonight was a real gritty performance,” coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. “I can’t say that we played particularly well. We had a lot of errors from the service line and from our hitters. A lot of which were mental errors. We were fortunate to get out of here tonight with the win.”

Sophomore Kylie Deberg was once again the most dangerous offensive weapon for the Tigers, finishing with a match-high 18 kills. An interesting development this season has been just how much the transfer from Illinois has been used by Missouri – Deberg had 53 attempts against Miami, almost 1.5 times more than sophomore Dariana Hollingsworth, who had the second-most with 36 attempts.

“I was pleased with the way we bore down when things got tight at the end and made plays when we needed them,” Kreklow said. “Miami is a very good team and they have lost some very close matches so far this year.”

Missouri’s middles had memorable matches as senior Alyssa Munlyn (7 kills) and sophomore Tyanna Omazic (13 kills) each hit .500. Munlyn once again led the team with 7 total blocks, and the 6-foot-2-inch three-time All-SEC player became Missouri’s all-time career leader in block assists early in the second set. Redshirt Junior Riley Sents also continued serving effectively and tallied three aces to go along with her 13 digs.

The Tigers will conclude the Puerto Rico Invitational on Sunday against Arizona State. The first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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