Kayler Smith-23Sports

Mizzou volleyball started off their three-game road trip in Lexington Wednesday night against the #14 Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky is the toughest SEC competition currently in the top spot with a 14-2 conference record. This shaped up to be an exciting match with Kentucky and Mizzou holding the #1 and #2 spots in SEC offensive statistics.

Mizzou started off the first set with two quick kills from Kayle Caffey and Dariana Hollingsworth-Santana. The Tigers continued this offensive until Kentucky took over with a 6-0 run. The two continued back and forth throughout the set, but the damage was already done for the Tigers. Unable to crawl back from their deficit, Mizzou fell to Kentucky 18-25 in the first set. Junior Kylie Deberg led the Tigers with five kills.

Mizzou began the second set building a lead of 8-4 over the Wildcats. However, Kentucky’s #1 SEC offense quickly answered, tying the teams at 10 and then taking over the momentum of the set, going up 7 points on Mizzou to give them a 20-13 lead. Mizzou’s offense did not back down, battling the Wildcats until the last point when a hitting error by freshman Kenna Sauer gave Kentucky the second set 25-18, and match advantage.

Mizzou hoped to bounce back from the first two sets to extend the match in the third set. The two high-powered offenses put on a shootout with leads never reaching more than four points. In the end, a hitting error by Tiger kill leader Deberg gave Kentucky the third set 25-21 and the match.

Deberg led the Tigers with 13 kills on the night and Kentucky’s Leah Edmond led with 18 of her own.

Mizzou sits in the 5th spot in the SEC right behind Texas A&M. The Tigers travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on the Volunteers this Sunday at 1:00. Mizzou is only four placements away from being ranked and hopes to finish out the season undefeated to earn a spot in the national rankings going into the postseason.