Sophie Zell- 23 Sports

Mizzou Women’s volleyball woke up on Saturday hungry for a win. After a quick, but painful, loss to No. 5 Baylor, the Tigers wouldn’t go down without a fight. This weekend was only the second time the Tigers met the Rainbow Wahine, and before Saturday, Mizzou led the series 1-0.

The Tigers came out strong in the first set, taking up an early lead. Mizzou out-hit the Rainbow Wahine .289 to .108, forcing UH into its lowest hitting percentage this season. Hawaii tried to keep things tight as the match began to end in the Tiger’s favor, but ultimately, Mizzou took the first set as a powerful victory.

The second set, on the other hand, did not yield the same results. You could blame it on the first win or exhaustion, but the Tigers let the second set slip away early on. Mizzou’s resiliency shone through, as they recovered from a six point deficit towards the end of the set, resulting in a 26-25 lead. But, unfortunately, after a long and difficult back-and-forth play, the ‘Bows took the set, 28-26.

Mizzou recognized what went wrong in the second set, and took to the third with the energy they showed in the first. The Tigers picked up a lead early on, having as many as 9 points on UH. This lead was steady and the Tigers coasted through this third set to take a 25-16 win.

The fourth set was an easier one for the Rainbow Wahine, starting strong with an early lead and sticking with it. UH’s style reflected that of the Tigers in this set, ending with a ‘Bow win, mimicking Mizzou’s lead and the exact score from the third set, 25-16.

The fifth and final set of this emotional rollercoaster didn’t end well for the Tigers. Hawaii took an early lead, followed by a 7-to-2 run by then Tigers. Then, after a glimpse of hope, UH proceeded to out-block and out-hit the Tigers at the end of the game. Because of Mizzou’s lower hitting percentage and UH’s consistent blocks, the Rainbow Wahine took home the 5-set match with a 16-14 in the fifth set. Despite the incredible offensive performance from stellar players it was hard to recover from a deficit in such a short score set. Incredible hitters from Mizzou continued to prove their worth in this match, with Kylie Deberg and Leketor Member-Meneh, becoming the first Tiger duo to each produce 20-plus kills since 2016, with 25 and 21 kills, respectively.

The Tigers will take their experiences from tough opponents and begin conference play next Saturday when they face Kentucky at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, MO.