Mizzou gets second SEC sweep

Senior Sarah Meister recorded five service aces.

The girls just wanna have fun.

On Sunday at the Hearnes Center, they sure did.

Missouri dominated its second Southeastern Conference match of the year in a three-set sweep of Tennessee, enjoying itself along the way.

Early in the week, senior middle blocker Whitney Little talked about letting loose on the court and not worrying about the score. “Have fun,” she harped.

And as Mizzou took three straight sets, it was evident her message came through.

“We talk about that straining feeling when you can sense the tension on the court,” senior libero Sarah Meister said. “When we drop that mentality, we just play so much more loose and do have a lot of fun.”

Meister, whose serving has been inconsistent at times this season, played well. Coming out of the break up two sets to none, Meister got three aces in a five-point span, crushing any hopes of Tennessee leaving Columbia with a win. Meister finished the day with five service aces.

The Tigers exposed Tennessee’s service return game, forcing seven return errors. Mizzou coach Wayne Kreklow said he recognized Tennessee’s weakness on returns going into the match and successfully took advantage.

“We tried to target the weaker passers and avoid their better ones,” Kreklow said. “If you’ve got kids that can hit their spots, it helps a lot.”

With the loose play also came much more effort. The team’s motto for the 2014 season, “Whatever It Takes,” was evident Sunday, as the Tigers were diving, dodging, digging and ducking all over the court.

“I thought (our consistency) was better, and our off-the-ball people were ready more with off-speed stuff," Kreklow said.

Tennessee started the match strong with solid blocking up front, but it didn’t phase the Tigers, as Mizzou went on to record 41 kills.

The kills helped gain momentum throughout the match. After a pretty close first set (25-19), Mizzou didn’t let the Volunteers come close in the final two, winning by a combined 19 points.

After a shaken confidence following the preseason, two straight SEC sweeps has boosted the morale of the defending conference champs.

“This has been great,” Little said. “It shows everyone that we’re a team that can lose and be down. But we’ll get right back up.”

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