Missouri volleyball sweeps South Carolina in first-ever match at Mizzou Arena

The Tigers bounced back from two consecutive losses to hand the Gamecocks their first SEC loss this season.
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.

Missouri volleyball has never lost a match.

At least not in its new, temporary home, Mizzou Arena.

The basketball-turned-volleyball arena was the site of Missouri’s 3-0 sweep against South Carolina on Friday, as repairs to Hearnes Center continue after it was flooded a few weeks ago.

But if the players were scatterbrained from having to adjust to a new playing court, they didn’t show it against the Gamecocks.

“We knew this one was gonna be tough,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “They’re a good, solid team. They struggled a little bit at times and I’m sure they are not happy with the number of errors that they made at critical times. But I feel like part of that was because of what we were doing. I thought we did a really nice job of applying steady pressure from start to finish.”

The match started even, until an official review confirmed that a high, looping overpass from redshirt junior Riley Sents had landed in-bounds on South Carolina’s side, cutting the Gamecocks’ lead to 15-14. From there, the Tigers tallied three aces and won the set, 25-22.

Missouri dominated the second set, maintaining a .778 hitting percentage as it won 25-11, but South Carolina almost pegged one back in the third set, eventually losing 30-28 after a number of momentum-swinging kills and missed serves from both sides.

Sophomore Kylie Deberg led the Tigers with 16 kills and Leketor Member-Meneh chipped in eight kills and three total blocks. Middles Alyssa Munlyn and Tyanna Omazic proved clutch during a tense, final few points, and finished with a combined 18 kills on .567 hitting.

However there was one major system change employed for the first time by Missouri on Friday: Kreklow ran a 5-1 with Andrea Fuentes playing as the setter for the full rotation, while Jaden Newsome was left on the bench.

“We started with our 6-2 in Kentucky,” Kreklow said. “[Andrea] was getting into a nice rhythm there, so we kind of stuck with that a little bit more, and then this week we felt like we needed to try to get some consistency. You’re holding your breath across the front row a lot of times with her, but I thought she held her own. That helped us tonight to be less predictable.”

Missouri (13-4, 3-2 SEC) will take on Arkansas in its next match at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Mizzou Arena.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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