Missouri volleyball fights off Texas A&M to win first five-set match at home

Missouri volleyball fights off Texas A&M to win first five-set match at home

Missouri volleyball had not lost a first set at home all season until they dropped the first set of Sunday’s match to Texas A&M.

But it worked back for a five-set win to keep its win streak intact on Sunday.

The Tigers had a very early 4-3 lead, and although they kept it close with eight ties, they never took back the lead. The Aggies had a 24-20 lead, but the Tigers were able to fight back three set points to bring the score to 23-24 before a service error by redshirt freshman Andrea Fuentes put the Texas A&M on top 25-23

“The last few points you could tell everyone’s like ‘okay we gotta play’,” senior Alyssa Munlyn said. “It’s kind of like alright we can’t wait until set point Texas A&M to play our game. I think that was just kind of like our wake up call for us like alright here we go we’ve been in this position.”

After an early 2-2 tie in the second set, Missouri took the lead and kept it for the rest of the set, winning 25-15. The Tigers picked up their offense in the second set, hitting .379 with 16 kills, while defensively Missouri held Texas A&M to a .071 hitting percentage with just 7 kills.

“One thing that I really love about this team is that even though we dropped one set we still take each point and each set as we go,” sophomore Tyanna Omazic said. “We’re not anxious. We’re not stressed. We just don’t feel like we have a lot of pressure on us, and I think that’s what really gets us. If they take a set off of us it doesn’t really matter. We’re going to come back and win those next three sets.”

The third set was tight throughout with 6 ties. Missouri pulled ahead towards the end to win 25-22.

The fourth set was back-and-forth like the third, but with a different result. There were six lead changes and eight ties in the set. Tied 22-22, Texas A&M pulled ahead to win 25-22 and force a fifth set.

“Really at that point [after the fourth set] you can’t say a whole lot that hasn’t already been said,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “I think the one thing that we do try to do when things get tight is often I think players have a tendency to start getting the wide view of everything, and you have to really do the opposite. You really have to think small. It’s all about the next touch on the ball.”

Missouri started to focus on each point and more on took back control in the fifth set. Up 6-4, the Tigers went on a 6-0 run and cruised through the rest of the set, winning 15-8.

“It’s these kind of things that are really valuable win or lose,” Kreklow said. “I mean even if we would have lost this, having to be in tough competitive matches is really gonna help us against better teams because with better teams you can’t run the table on them, so you really have to develop that mindset of toughness.”

Missouri had four players post double-digit kills in the match. Sophomores Leketor Member-Meneh and Kylie Deberg led the team with 17 and 16 kills, respectively. Sophomore Dariana Hollingsworth tallied 12 kills, while Omazic had 10 for the Tigers. Munlyn also had nine kills in the match.

“To really play at a high level, you can’t just have one or two big attackers and that’s it,” Kreklow said. “It’s just too easy to defend. So having the ability to go to different people really helps.”

Hollingsworth and Omazic each had five blocks, while Munlyn had four. Deberg led the team with 15 digs. Fuentes and junior Sun Wenting had 12 and 10 digs, respectively. Fuentes recorded a career-high 61 assists in the match.

“Andrea’s really good with pushing it to the outside to the middle and the right side,” Omazic said. “She really mixes it really well.”

Missouri will play Friday on the road in Columbia, South Carolina. The Tigers are scheduled to take on the Gamecocks at 6 p.m.

“From here, I think it’s just about us continuing to clean up the little things,” Munlyn said. “I think for us it’s like the big things are pretty good, pretty solid, but I think there’s a lot of little things that we continue to improve on and really hold ourselves to a higher standard and grow in that aspect.”

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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