Mizzou volleyball edges Ole Miss in five sets

By Joey Gjata, 23 Sports

Monday, Nov. 17-

Coming off of a heartbreaking defeat to Georgia in five sets less than 48 hours prior, the Missouri women’s volleyball team managed to come back valiantly against a stingy Ole Miss side (23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 27-25, 15-6) Sunday afternoon at the Hearnes Center.

Statistically, the Tigers offense and defense were phenomenal, but the recurring trend of dropping the ball on big points and critical sequences continued in the first three sets. Despite winning the second by four, Mizzou probably should have snatched at least the third set, if not the first as well, but untimely errors and a bit of bad luck attributed to the Rebels’ 2-1 set lead.

The momentum built late in the fourth ignited the crowd and eventually saw the Tigers win comfortably in an all-decisive fifth set. It was freshman Kasey Reuter who propelled the comeback for Mizzou.

The outside hitter scored a game-high 15 kills and a career-best 12 digs on the night to give her a first career double-double. The Iowa native had an exceptional weekend as she recorded 30 kills and tallied career best in hitting with an admirable .609 against the Rebels.

However, Reuter was not the only one with impressive numbers on the day as four other Tigers finished with double-digit kills. The power hitting trio of seniors Emily Wilson and Whitney Little along with All-American sophomore Carly Kan combined for 31 kills. Wilson tallied 11 as the other two notched ten each. Kan also recorded 11 digs to give herself an SEC-leading 17th double-double.

The likes of Sophomores Emily Thater and Julia Towler also made strong contributions in a highly competitive match. Thater has performed well in recent weeks and continued her fine form with eight kills on .538 hitting. Towler came off the bench and gave a notable six kills on .600 hitting.

As well as the big hitters played for Mizzou, they had to thank their setters, Loxely Keala and Ali Kreklow for their consistency as the two combined for 55 assists.

Despite the superb offensive performance, it was the Tiger defense that played even better. Mizzou recorded a season-high 17.5 blocks on the day, led by Little with eight. The senior was two blocks shy of a rare kill-block double-double. Also, Wilson and Regan Peltier each tallied six blocks, a career-high for Wilson.

The back row did not fail to pitch in its load either as senior libero Sarah Meister had a remarkable 22 digs for the Black and Gold. It is the fourth time this season Meister has surpassed the 20-dig mark.

Overall, the Tigers forced Ole Miss to make 32 attack errors, limiting the Rebels to .193 hitting. Mizzou on the other hand finished with a .362 hittting and only committed 11 attack errors. With the numbers the Tigers put up against Ole Miss, the match should not have been as close as it was, but the win does improve their record to 16-14 (7-8 in SEC).

Mizzou will definitely have its hands full in the final three matches against three of the top five in the SEC. Next week the Tigers hit the road to face LSU on Friday at 7 p.m. in Baton Rouge before paying a visit to College Station to play the Aggies on Sunday at 3 p.m. The Tigers were outmatched by both teams when they came to the Hearnes Center this year, winning only one out of seven sets combined. The team will finish the season at home against Alabama on Thanksgiving eve.