Mizzou volleyball takes all three matches at Wolf Pack tournament

The Tigers got back on track with consecutive wins on Friday.
Maneater File Photo

After taking back-to-back losses last weekend in Salt Lake City, Missouri volleyball bounced back with a trio of victories against Pepperdine, Nevada and Sacramento State at the Wolfpack Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

The Tigers earned a sweep against Pepperdine to kick off the tournament.

In the first set the Tigers started off slow on defense, struggling to get a solid block at the net. Though the Tigers only tallied one total block, the team captured the first set 25-22. In the next two sets, Missouri picked it up, amassing 13 total blocks to take control of the game, grasping the victory 25-21 in the second set and 33-31 in the third.

Four hitters gave dominant performances to propel the Tigers past the Waves. Junior middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn exploded on offense with 10 kills and seven total blocks, pacing the Tigers in single match kills for the second time this season. Senior outside hitter Sydney Deeken tallied eight kills, four total blocks and earned two solo blocks. Redshirt senior Kira Larson shined both at the net and the back row with nine kills, four total blocks and seven digs. Freshman Dariana Hollingsworth was successful all around with seven kills, two total blocks, 10 digs and one ace. The Tigers’ strong blocking in the last two sets helped Missouri reach their sixth game with 10-plus total blocks on the season.

“I was extremely proud of our kids today,” Head coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. “Our battle against Pepperdine was intense from start to finish. We dug a deep hole for ourselves in set three, but we clawed our way back and were able to take it ultimately.”

To wrap up the first day, The Tigers won a thrilling five-set match against host team Nevada.

The first set went to the Wolf Pack in a tight 25-23 battle. In the second, the Tigers climbed back into the match with a 25-21 victory. The two teams would split the third and fourth sets, leaving the match to come down to a pivotal fifth set. The Tigers were ultimately too much for the Wolf Pack in the final set, and took down Nevada 18-15 for the win.

The Tigers played stellar defense, earning a season-high 23 blocks, tying for the fourth most blocks in a single match in program history.

“Against Nevada, we got off to a slow start and had trouble slowing down their offense,” Kreklow said in a press release. “They are a quick and fast team and it was an adjustment after playing a big and physical team like Pepperdine. Our kids showed a ton of heart and persistence in coming back. We were really dialed in in sets four and five and got the win. I’m super proud of our entire team today.”

Mizzou then won its non-conference finale in another five-set match against Sacramento State on Saturday. Though the score was close, the Tigers dominated almost every statistical battle against the Hornets, hitting .251 and with 71 kills, 14 blocks and 104 digs.

“Sacramento State is a good ball control team and we were having a tough time getting them out of system,” Kreklow said in a press release. “I was really proud of the way we composed ourselves and battled when things looked bleak.”

Five different Tigers recorded double-doubles against the Hornets: Hollingsworth (18 kills, 18 digs), redshirt senior Melanie Crow (14 kills, 10 digs), Larson (13 kills, 12 digs), senior Courtney Eckenrode (31 assists, 10 digs) and senior Ali Kreklow (28 assists, 15 digs).

This tournament also marked the returns of Crow and freshman Leketor Member-Meneh who missed eight and four games, respectively, due to injuries. They both played all three matches this weekend.

The Tigers will begin their SEC schedule against Kentucky on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Hearnes Center. The first serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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