Missouri volleyball ends losing streak, defeats LSU 3-2

The Tigers did it the hard way, but ended the regular season with a win.
Missouri outside hitter Kylie Deberg has risen up the depth chart in his first season in Columbia after spending last season on the Illinois bench.

No. 24 Missouri volleyball concluded the regular season with a 3-2 victory against LSU on Wednesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

After graduating five starters at the end of last season, the Tigers did well to improve their record in 2018. But back to back loses heading into Wednesday’s match – against No. 22 Tennessee last week and then No. 11 Kentucky on Sunday – threatened to leave the team with a sour taste in their mouth heading into the NCAA Tournament at the end of the month.

At moments against LSU, it looked like it would be three in a row, but Missouri was finally able to claim the hard-fought five-set victory.

Missouri cruised to a two set lead easily enough. Two aces from redshirt freshman Andrea Fuentes powered the Tigers to a 25-19 victory in the first set, then eight kills from sophomore Kylie Deberg in the second set put Missouri up 25-20.

But Missouri was unable to kill off the hosting Tigers, and LSU, led by senior Toni Rodriguez and sophomore Taylor Bannister, stormed back to win the third and fourth sets, 25-23 and 25-21, respectively.

The visitors were finally able to seal the victory with a 15-11 win in the fifth set, but they had gotten it the hard way.

"We were very sharp in the first two sets, but lost a little focus in set three,” coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. “LSU did a great job of capitalizing on our errors and really took control in the fourth set. I was very proud of the way we regrouped in set five and settled in and made big plays when we needed to."

Deberg led all Tigers on Wednesday with 23 kills hitting .345, and sophomore Leketor Member-Meneh tallied 16 kills. Fuentes finished with 51 assists and four aces and redshirt junior Riley Sents led Missouri with 22 digs.

Missouri finishes the regular season with a 23-7 record (13-5 SEC), which includes a marquee win against No. 13 Florida in October. The team will find out its seeding in the NCAA Tournament in the tournament selection show, which will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday on ESPNU.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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