Missouri wins pair of matches on first day of Mizzou Invitational

The Tigers did not disappoint as they defeated Corpus Christi and Ohio throughout Friday at Hearnes Center.
Sophomore Whitney Little spikes the ball over the net Sunday at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers beat the Georgia Bulldogs in three matches.

Game One

After just under a month of away games, Missouri volleyball’s long road stint has come to a close. With boisterous children populating the seats for Elementary School Day, The Tigers opened the Mizzou Invitational at Hearnes Center on Friday with a sweep against Texas A&M Corpus Christi Friday morning.

Missouri came out strong in its first-ever meeting with the Islanders, winning the first set 25-16. The team tallied 17 kills with just three errors on .412 hitting.

Sophomore Leketor Member-Meneh tacked on an ace in the set.

The second did not present the same ease. On .263 hitting with six errors, the Tigers rallied back from a 7-3 deficit and after four ties and two lead changes, won the set 25-23.

They went on to take the third set 25-17, completing the sweep over the Islanders. The team finished with 46 kills and five aces and an overall hit percentage of .327.

Sophomore transfer Kylie Deberg was impressive, pacing the team with 11 kills and 24 attacks. Senior Alyssa Munlyn also helped lead the way with four blocks. Collectively, the Tigers led in every singular category except for errors.

“I thought we did a pretty good job of composing ourselves and finishing the match off,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “It was nice to be back [at Hearnes Center].”

Throughout the match, the elementary school students in attendance more than compensated for the lack of MU presence on a Friday morning of classes, bringing a high-pitched energy befitting of a home opener.

“There would be times where I couldn’t hear myself think,” Munlyn said, referring to just how loud the students were. “When you see those kids, and see people smiling and cheering, you can’t help but get on board [as well].”

Game Two

In Friday’s doubleheader finale, Missouri wasn’t spotless, but it got the job done in a 3-1 defeat of the Ohio Bobcats.

Missouri fought back against Ohio to win the first set 25-23. Despite a 4-0 Ohio run to start the set, the Tigers came back. Sophomore Leketor Member-Meneh led Missouri with seven kills, hitting .308. Sophomore Tyanna Omazic hit .500 with four kills. The Tigers in total had 15 kills despite hitting .179.

Ohio took an early 5-0 lead in the second set. Missouri fought back late in the set, but Ohio kept the lead, winning 25-21.

“I think today went really well,” sophomore Kylie Deberg said. “We got down like 18-9 [in the second set] and to prove that we can come back and lose by like [four], that’s really cool to know that we can actually do that.”

Missouri bounced back after the second set loss and held the lead for the entirety of the third set, except for brief 1-1 and 2-2 ties. The Tigers hit .303 with 13 kills in their 25-18 third set victory.

After Ohio took the first point of the fourth set, Missouri went on an 8-0 run and kept the lead for the remainder of the set. The Tigers were steady throughout the set and finished with a 6-0 run, winning the set 25-12 and the match 3-1.

Deberg led the match with a career-high 19 kills while hitting .349. Member-Meneh also tallied 18 kills with a .306 hitting percentage. Redshirt freshman Jaden Newsome and sophomore Darianna Hollingsworth led Missouri with 24 assists and 13 digs, respectively. Andrea Fuentes had 16 assists and 12 digs, recording her fourth double-double of the season. Missouri finished the four-set match with 56 kills and a hitting percentage of .244.

“I was very pleased with the way we were able to come back after a really awful game two,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to respond to that because last weekend against Ohio State that happened and the bottom fell out and we just never recovered. It was good to see our team kind of regroup, refocus, and just execute a lot better. I was really pleased with that.”

Missouri will round out its home invitational in a match against Drake at 2:30 on Saturday.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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