Eleanor Sheahan – 23 Sports

In just three sets, the Missouri Tigers defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday night in Columbia. The Tigers headed into the match having won the last 11 matches against Arkansas. Kylie Deberg, Anna Dixon and Andrea Fuentes led the tigers into another win, expanding Missouri’s streak to 12 matches over Arkansas. 

Senior Deberg had quit the night; 20 kills,13 digs and an ace from the senior outside hitter. Opposite hitter Dixon followed with 17 kills and  four digs. Setter Fuentes had a total of 45 assists, two blocks and five digs. This was a huge night or these three top Tigers. 

Set one started off with the Tigers and the Razorbacks scoring back to back points. Tied at 10, Arkansas began to hit the gas. With huge kills from outside hitter Jillian Gillen and middle blocker Devyn Wheeler, the Razorbacks took off on a huge run. Down 21-14 the Tigers began to slowly creep back into this set. Thanks to Deberg’s fifth kill in the first set the Tigers were within four-point of the Hogs, 22-18. Missouri continued to put pressure on the Arkansas defense. The set was tied at 26-26 and Mizzou’s Darina Hollenstworth-Sanatanas crushed the ball from the right side, giving the Tigers the lead. With the score of 27-26, the Tigers were finally back in the lead. This was the first time since 11-10 that Mizzou was winning. An overpass from Arkansas allowed Missouri’s Dixon to absolutely destroy the ball. Dixon’s kill put the Tigers two points ahead of the Razorbacks and Missouri won set one 28-26. 

Heading into set two Missouri had a lot of momentum after coming back to win set one. Both the Razorbacks and the Tigers offense dominated and the teams battled neck and neck. Tied at 16, Mizzou’s Claudia Dillion was able to get the kill after running a slide, this allowed Missouri to go up 17-16 over Arkansas. The Tigers began to capitalize on the Razorbacks’ mistakes. Deberg continued to dominate the offense including getting kills from the back row. Setter Fuentes set up Hollingsworth-Santana on the right side for the kill. Missouri took set two 25-19. 

Losing by six points Arkansas came into set three looking for some redemption. With the game on the line, the Razorbacks played with every last ounce they had. Both the Razorbacks and the Tigers stayed close to one another throughout most of this set. With more strong kills from Dixon, Dillion and Deberg the Tigers were able to get a small lead 21-17 towards the end of set three. Wanting to stop Missouri’s momentum, the Razorbacks called a time out. Arkansas capitalized and was able to take the lead 24-23. Dixon another idea, she smashed the ball on the outside, keeping Missouri alive. Shortly after, Dixon had another kill, but this time from the right side. She helped push Missouri ahead 25-26. Arkansas was not ready to give up yet. Arkansas outside hitter Gillen worked tirelessly to force another set. The points continue to go back and forth. It was match point for Missouri, Fuentes back set the ball to Hollingsworth-Santana and her tip from the right side flew over the Arkansas blockers and the ball landed just inside the line. Missouri won the match 29-27. 

With back to back wins against Arkansas on Wednesday and Thursday night, Missouri increased their season record to 4-2. Next week the Tigers have a bye-week, but then they will travel down to Ole Miss for their final series of the season. 

Losing their first two games of the season the Razorbacks record fell from undefeated to 4-2. Arkansas will head home to host Texas A&M next week. 

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