The Maneater

No. 19 Mizzou volleyball falls to 2-2 with back-to-back losses

Northern Iowa and Austin Peay proved to be too much for the Tigers.

Maneater File Photo

No. 19 Missouri volleyball lost two hard-fought contests Saturday against Northern Iowa and Austin Peay after winning its first two matches of the Culver’s Governors Challenge in Clarksville, Tennessee on Friday.

In the first match of the day, the Tigers battled it out against the Panthers of Northern Iowa in a back-and-forth five-set match in which four sets were decided by four points or less. Both teams struggled to pull ahead of one another in the fourth set, but Mizzou would eventually go on to take it 28-26.

In the final set, the Tigers remained hot early on, going up 6-2, but the Panthers battled back and won the set 15-12, taking the match 3-2.

The biggest difference maker in the contest was the Northern Iowa defense. Although both teams had roughly the same hitting percentage (.251 for Northern Iowa, .249 for Mizzou), the Tigers had just 74 digs and 66 kills, as opposed to the Panthers’ 83 digs and 82 kills. Despite committing 12 more hitting errors than Mizzou did, the Panthers’ defense made enough stops to compensate for their botched swings.

Missouri senior outside hitter Sydney Deeken put up a career-high 16 kills and also contributed on defense with 10 digs. Seniors Kira Larson and Courtney Eckenrode also recorded double-doubles, Larson with 10 kills, 14 digs and five total blocks and Eckenrode with 56 assists and 18 digs.

In the Tigers’ five-match set against Austin Peay, the Governors started out strong, coming away with the first set 25-11 while holding Mizzou to a .097 hitting percentage. In the second set, the Tigers flipped the script, forcing 12 errors from the Governors en route to a 25-19 set victory.

The teams each won another set, and the Tigers once again found themselves playing in a winner-take-all fifth set. With the Tigers up 10-5 and within reach of victory, Austin Peay took a timeout. After the break, the Governors ended the match on a 12-5 run to steal the final set 17-15.

The Governors scored 14 aces on the Tigers, a key reason for their victory. The Tigers often looked confused when receiving serves.

“I was very disappointed with our mental preparation against Austin Peay,” coach Wayne Kreklow said in a press release. “Passing was a major issue.”

Freshman outside hitter Leketor Member-Meneh led the team for the fourth consecutive match with 22 kills while contributing 11 digs and three total blocks. The two middle blockers, junior Alyssa Munlyn and redshirt freshman Kayla Caffey, combined for 21 kills and six total blocks; both hit over .300.

The Tigers struggled without senior outside hitter Melanie Crow, who went down with a leg injury against Middle Tennessee on Friday. Additional details regarding her injury have yet to be released.

The Tigers, now 2-2, have a week to prepare for the Boise State Invitational in Boise, Idaho. On Friday, Sept. 1, Mizzou will face Sacramento State at 12 p.m. CT, followed by No. 10 BYU at 6:30 p.m CT. The team will then play Boise State on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 8:30 p.m. CT.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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