Mizzou Volleyball Falls to No. 4 Florida in Four Sets

Peter Alexis, 23 Sports

Taking on the fourth ranked team in the nation is never an easy task, but the Mizzou Tigers Volleyball team came close to pulling off the massive upset. While the match didn’t go quite their way on Sunday afternoon in Gainesville, it was still an impressive effort. The Tigers (17-10, 10-4 SEC) faced off against the one loss Gators (22-1, 14-1) on November 12th, a week and a day after the Mizzou football team pummeled Florida by 29 points.

After getting outplayed in the first set and falling by a score of 16-25, the Tigers bounced back in a big way in the second. The team came out firing and stayed in it thanks to two separate streaks of 3 out of 4 points. Kira Larson helped seal the deal at the end of the set with two straight kills to reach the 24th point, and Alyssa Munlyn finished it off with the final kill to tie the match at one apiece.

The match would come down to the all-important third set, with the momentum gained from a third set victory likely leading to an overall match win. Mizzou carried their second set energy into the third, and rallied off three in a row early on. This was followed up with four straight points to make the score 13-9. After a back and forth battle, the Tigers emerged with a 24-21 lead. Needing only one point to clinch the set and an improved path to a huge upset, the team couldn’t pull it off. The explosive Gators rattled off five straight points for the 26-24 win, mostly off of unfortunate errors by Mizzou.

Following the pinnacle of the match, the Gators kept it rolling in the fourth set with a 25-16 blowout, identical to the first. The visitors’ inability to capitalize on early leads and seal the deal proved to be a main factor in the loss. Going against a one loss powerhouse, few expected to see the Tigers come out victorious. But they were just a handful of bad breaks away from making it over the hump and upsetting the fourth ranked Florida squad.

Mizzou will look to bounce back and learn from these mistakes when they travel to Starkville, Mississippi on Friday night to take on Mississippi State at 7 PM. It will be a rematch of an earlier 3-0 sweep by the Tigers back in October, and the team will try to get back on track after the Gators snapped their five-game win streak.