MU volleyball finally lost a set, and that’s a good thing

Facing No. 11 Florida on Sunday, the Tigers were given an opportunity to find a way to bounce back from dropping a set.
Missouri's Leketor Member-Meneh spikes the ball into two Auburn defenders during the Missouri's eventual four-set win on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018.

After 14 consecutive set wins, contributing to four straight sweeps, Missouri volleyball lost a set to Auburn en route to a four-set win Friday. While the box score said otherwise, dropping a set may have been a blessing in disguise for the team.

“When you get a sweep on a Friday and then go into a tougher match on a Sunday, it doesn’t prepare you mentally for the opponent you’re going to face,” sophomore Dariana Hollingsworth said.

Missouri recovered and won the fourth set 25-16 to complete the win. Players said afterward that losing the set provided an opportunity for the team to reset.

“In the past we struggled with [recovering from losing a set],” redshirt freshman Andrea Fuentes said. “It was really good for us to bounce back.”

While coach Wayne Kreklow would have appreciated a sweep, he recognized the positive significance of not completing what would have been the team’s fifth consecutive sweep.

“It was good that it wasn’t just easy,” Kreklow said. “I would be happy with just sweeps and blowing people out as much as possible. However, that doesn’t make us better. There’s a lot to be said to have to really fight for something and respond when you’re down and be able to come back. You got to be able to absorb the blows emotionally.”

The Tigers will face off on Sunday in Gainesville, Florida, against the No. 11 Gators. This will be the first match against a ranked opponent since losing to then No. 19 Kentucky. Kreklow said after the game that it will be a great opportunity to play against a great team in a great environment.

“At the end of the end of the day, that’s what you do all this stuff for,” Kreklow said.

He continued to talk about what needs to be improved on from Friday’s win.

“We’re going to have to pass better,” Kreklow said. “Florida may be the toughest serving team in the league right now. For us to be able to compete down there, we won’t be able to run what we were running [tonight] and be successful.”

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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