Mizzou Volleyball Captures SEC Crown

By Jacob Kornhauser, 23 Sports

Friday, Nov. 22—

The Mizzou volleyball team defeated Mississippi State 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-17) to claim the first SEC championship in school history. The Tigers, who moved to 32-0 on the year, are now just two wins away from an undefeated regular season.

In the first set, both teams battled hard to a 5-4 score before a 4-0 run by Mizzou left the score at 9-4. On the four-point run, Mississippi State committed two service errors.

Following the run by the Tigers, the Bulldogs wouldn’t back down as they went on a three-point rally of their own to cut the Mizzou lead to 9-7. The teams continued to fight neck and neck into a 12-10 Mizzou lead before consecutive kills by Carly Kan, Emily Thater and Lisa Henning propelled the Tigers to a 15-10 lead.

From that point on, Mizzou didn’t look back and claimed the first set. Kills from five different players and 15 assists from Molly Kreklow helped guide the Tigers to an opening set victory.

In set number two, Mizzou put its foot on the gas pedal after grabbing an early 7-5 advantage. A four-point run that included two kills, a Bulldog attack error and ball handling error handed Mizzou a 14-6 lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.

Kreklow added 13 more assist in the second set as the All-American continued to play with a purpose.

The third set proved to be difficult for the Tigers in the early going. Mississippi State jumped out to an early 4-3 lead on four kills. The teams found themselves in an 8-7 game in favor of the Bulldogs after back and forth action. However, Mizzou went on a four-point run that was helped by two Brooke Sassin attack errors for Mississippi State, which put the Tigers up 15-10.

Set number three and the match ended very poetically. With the Tigers up 24-17 on match point, it was senior All-American Kreklow assisting senior All-American Henning for a kill that sealed the deal. As the ball hit the floor off of Henning’s final spike, jubilation filled the Tiger crowd. The Tigers had won the SEC championship.

Missouri volleyball dominance continued behind an extremely balanced offensive attack. Five players had at least four kills including Henning (11), Kan (9), and Wilson (8). Kreklow pitched in 39 assists.

Following the thrilling victory, Mizzou will take on the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday. The match is one of two remaining matches that stand in the way of Missouri’s perfect regular season.

The match gets underway at 12:30 p.m.