Mizzou volleyball advances to Sweet Sixteen

Mizzou volleyball advances to Sweet Sixteen

Photo by Max Arnold

Justin Bjorseth, 23 Sports

Saturday, December 3—

For the Missouri Tigers volleyball team, victory has never tasted as sweet as it did on Friday night at the Hearnes Center. The 15th ranked Tigers won a hard fought battle against the Purdue Boilermakers to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Mizzou took the match in four sets, winning 3-1, with their only loss coming in set two. The match was the twelfth tournament win in school history and the program’s first ever win over Purdue, who knocked the Tigers out of the NCAA tournament in 2013. Mizzou is advancing to its first Sweet 16 since 2010.

The top performer of the evening was Melanie Crow, who had 25 kills during the match. She’s been a leader for the Tigers all season long, and it showed during the biggest moments of the match Friday. The 25 kills are the third most in Tigers tournament history. This was the sixth time that she managed to put together a 20-plus kill performance on the season, and this was perhaps the most important to date.

The Tigers received a stand out performance from junior Kira Larson, who had the best game of her season Friday night. Larson racked up a total of 17 kills in the first two tournament games at Hearnes Center, and the Tigers hope to see that kind of play continue as they face tougher competition throughout the tournament.

It was the biggest win for Mizzou in seven seasons and set them up for a date with the winner of Hawaii and Minnesota later on next week with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line. SEC Coach of the Year Wayne Kreklow looks to take this team to unprecedented heights and pursue a national championship. With only four games left to win, it will be very interesting to see what lies in store for this special group of players.