Missouri volleyball wins a pair but loses final match at Towson Invitational

The Tigers swept Princeton and pulled off a five-set win over Towson, but fell to Ohio State in the final game of the Invitational.
Head coach Wayne Kreklow shouts instructions from the sidelines to his players during a match against Purdue Dec. 8, 2013, at Hearnes Center. Maneater File Photo

Missouri volleyball opened the three-match Towson Invitational in Towson, Maryland on Friday with a 3-0 victory against Princeton in straight sets and a 3-2 victory over hosting Towson before dropping its tournament finale to Ohio State on Saturday.

Friday was the first time the Missouri’s and Princeton’s programs have met.

After the two Tigers teams battled for much of the first set, the black and gold Tiger of Missouri edged Princeton’s orange, 25-22. Missouri tallied 16 kills and four blocks.

Coming off of a 13-6 run to end the first set, Missouri rolled with its momentum, taking lead immediately in the second set and never letting it go en route to a 25-16 finish. The team looked less sloppy, bringing its error total down to four in the set as well as another 15 kills on a .484 kill percentage. It also added three aces.

The third set saw the same trend as Missouri dominated 25-14 to complete the sweep.

Munlyn led all players with 12 kills in the match, while sophomores Tyanna Omazic and Dariana Hollingsworth each tallied four blocks and sophomore Kylie Deberg led the team with 28 attacks. As a team, the Tigers tallied a .479 kill percentage and a .354 hit percentage while only committing 12 errors.

Missouri’s 3-2 victory over yet another Tiger squad in Towson was its second five-set win of the season, following a thriller against Miami in Puerto Rico.

Missouri was dominate in a 25-18 first set, totaling 14 kills and hitting .367, and again grabbed a lead early and held on in the second. It boded for another easy-going sweep, but Towson wouldn’t come quietly.

Despite a Missouri lead that extended deep into the third set, Towson churned out an 11-5 run to claim the set 25-21.

The fourth set was a wild back-and-forth affair between the Tigers and Tigers, with eight ties and six lead changes. Missouri was on the verge of taking the match with a 22-18 lead, but Towson fought back to force a deep back-and-forth into extra points. Missouri lost a heartbreaker, 31-29.

But after the scare, Missouri took control in the fifth and held the lead for the entire set, winning 15-10. The team had six kills despite hitting just .267 in the set.

In the five-set match, Missouri tallied 57 kills with a .226 hitting percentage total. The team was led by Deberg and Omazic with 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Redshirt freshman Andrea Fuentes had 23 assists for the Tigers.

“I was pleased that we came away with the win in tonight’s finale,” coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. “Towson is a very scrappy and very good team. We were playing them at home and on a Friday night and we knew it was going to be a challenge. I thought we came out early and played well, but we let up and they stormed back and made it a tough five-set match. We’ve got to get better at being able to dial-in for longer periods of time.”

On Saturday, Missouri closed the Towson Invitational by blowing a one-set lead and losing 3-1 against Ohio State.

Missouri started the match on the right foot, jumping out to a 10-5 first set lead. The Buckeyes battled back and to keep things interesting, but the Tigers outlasted them and won 25-21.

Ohio State separated itself in the second set through consecutive aces from sophomore Becca Mauer and didn’t look back the rest of the match, sweeping the final three sets 25-22, 25-19 and 25-20.

Missouri’s middles in particular struggled, as Munlyn and Omazic were never allowed to dominate the net as they have been in the past. The pair combined for nine kills with a .103 hitting percentage, while their counterparts (Ohio State’s Jordan Fry and Lauren Witte) posted 24 kills on .326 hitting.

"[Saturday] was obviously disappointing,” coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. “I thought we came out with good energy, focus and executed well in the first set. Ohio State is a very good team and when they responded, I didn't think we handled it well. We have a lot of inexperienced players and we have to do a better job at handling adversity and being mentally tough. We allow points in runs too many times and we must get better at responding to a challenge."

Next weekend, Missouri will host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Ohio and Drake at Hearnes Center for the Mizzou Invitational in the first regular season home competition for the Tigers.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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