Matthew Hill-23Sports

The Mizzou Women’s Volleyball team began their NCAA tournament postseason play this past Friday night against the University of Northern Iowa Panthers in Lincoln, NE. The Tigers came into this game riding a three-game winning streak, holding a 21-7 overall record on the season, while UNI has a formidable record of their own, with 24 wins and 10 losses on the year. These two squads are familiar with each other, as they faced off against each other in early September, with the Tigers taking a four-set victory over the Panthers at the Hearnes Center.

The Tigers picked up their momentum against Northern Iowa right where they left off in September, as they immediately jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first set of play. Mizzou would not relinquish this lead either, as they crushed the panthers in the first set by a final of 25-11. Junior Tyanna Omazic led the strong first-set performance for the Tigers, finishing the set with five kills. Omazic would rack up a team-high ten kills and a .500 hitting percentage on the day, the tenth highest percentage in Mizzou postseason history.

The second set looked very similar to the first, with Mizzou jumping out to a swift 8-2 lead, eventually leading to another commanding set victory by a final score of 25-13. Through two sets, the Tigers had yet to fall behind on the scoreboard once.

Despite a hint of life very early in set three from the Panthers, the Tigers effort was persistent, as they shut down any hopes of a comeback from UNI, going on a tear in the middle of set three with a 13-1 run. With a 25-14 set final, Northern Iowa’s playoff hopes would be ended in three straight sets at the hands of the Tigers. Aside from Omazic’s dominant performance, outside hitter Leketor Member-Meneh and setter Andrea Fuentes also had impressive games, with Member-Meneh compiling nine kills and Fuentes 24 assists.

The team advanced to the second round, where they squared off against host Nebraska. Unfortunately, the Tigers would come up short in a highly-contested game, as they would fall to a tough Huskers team in four sets, marking the end of an impressive season. Congratulations to the women’s volleyball team on a very competitive season and an impressive run to the NCAA tournament, as well as to the two seniors on the team for a successful career at Missouri.