Sophie Zell, 23 Sports

Despite incredible performances from key players, Mizzou women’s volleyball suffered their first loss of the season Friday evening in Waco, Texas. The No. 5 Baylor Bears used late runs in the first two sets to overpower the Tigers and end the third match in a victory. The Tigers entered this series with a .396 attack efficiency, and lead the all-time series versus Baylor, 18-14. Both teams entered this face-off undefeated this year, leaving room for only one to leave with a winning record.

Both teams came out fast in the first frame, with Missouri and Baylor going head-to-head until about 12 points in. The Bears started on their first lead up to 17, holding the Tigers back with consistent blocks and kills, and pulled away at the end of the first set, taking the win, 25-22.

In the second set, the Bears forced a Mizzou timeout early in the match, which led to a point deficit that seemed to grow by the minute. Although, what the Tigers may have lacked in points, they made up for in individual performance. Junior Kylie Deberg posted her second 20-plus kill match of the year, proving her place in SEC’s top rankings in kills, points, aces, and most aces by a Tiger in a single season since 2002. Similarly, setter Andrea Fuentes demonstrated her skill by tailing 35-plus assists for the seventh time this year, leaving no room to wonder why she’s one of the best setters in the SEC. Her 10.26 assists per set ranked third in the conference last season, despite a hard loss to the Bears on Friday.

The third set, and the most heartbreaking, was a hard fought one for the Tigers. Mizzou was consistent, powerful, and shut down Baylor’s 24-22 lead after a well-contested match. After a block, a kill, and an ace from the Bears, Mizzou gave up their first loss of the season. The Tigers put up a fight all night, and can now prepare to face their second back-to-back undefeated opponent, Hawaii, on Saturday, Sep. 21.