David Campbell – 23 Sports

Led by the powerful senior Kylie DeBerg and the gritty sophomore Leandra Mangual-Duran, the Missouri Tigers volleyball team took down South Dakota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament 25-21, 25-17 and 25-15.

Playing on a temporary constructed court in a convention center in Omaha, Missouri did not let any of the non-controllables get to them, and was in complete command from start to finish. 

Before the first serve even took place, South Dakota knew taking down the Tigers was going to be a tall task, literally. There was a clear size advantage for the SEC squad, and they used it all game long.

DeBerg led the way like she does all year with 16 kills. Sophomore Anna Dixon followed DeBerg with 11 kills of her own and also added a couple blocks. DeBerg also led the team with 10 digs, showing off all of her skills.

There were multiple times when the Coyotes stole a bit of momentum, however each and every run was answered by the resilient Missouri bunch. Senior Sami Slaughter led South Dakota with nine kills.

More than anything, this was a nice warm up for the Tigers who now move on and face a much tougher challenge, the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Ohio State is the ninth overall team in this year’s tournament, coming in with a record of 15-3 out of the Big Ten Conference. Their three losses have come against Nebraska once and Purdue twice, two teams ranked higher than them.

The Buckeyes however have not faced the two best teams in the Big Ten, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Unlike South Dakota, Ohio State has more than enough size to deal with the Tigers.

Led by freshman Emily Londot, the Buckeyes have a ton of offensive firepower. Along with Londot is freshman Rylee Rader, sophomore Gabby Gonzalez and junior Vanja Bukilic.

With so many options on the court at once, the Tigers could struggle to match the depth of the Buckeyes.

Missouri will face off against Ohio State at 11 a.m on Thursday in Omaha. 

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