By Cole Tussing
The 10th ranked Missouri Tigers dropped to fellow SEC-East foe and 3rd ranked Kentucky Wildcats in volleyball Wednesday afternoon. Kentucky won the match 3 sets to Missouri’s sole one, in the first set of the game. The Wildcats extended their all-time series to 6 wins in a row against the Tigers.
First for the Tigers, Kylie Deberg showed no sign of quitting. The newly named SEC overall player and offensive player of the week, Deberg led both teams in kills with 22, and was responsible for 25 of the total 96 points the Tigers put up (26%). In any sport but especially volleyball, if one team is dominating on the defensive side, it’s very difficult for the latter to come out on top, and Wednesday was no exception. The Wildcats had 13 blocks, compared to the Tigers’ four.
Avery Skinner and Elise Goetzinger were the duo leading the charge for Kentucky. One of the recurring themes for the Tigers that impeded their success tonight was mental mistakes. Deberg led Missouri with 11, and teammate Anna Dixon wasn’t too far behind with 9. Touching on this element, the Tigers ran out of energy, midway through. Momentum was on their side after taking the first set 25-23. Set 2 was a constant back and forth and no team seemed to have a constant edge, the score got extended until UK finally came out on top 35-33.
In the final two sets the Tigers scoring output dropped to 20 in set 3, and 18 in the final frame.
Tigers’ head coach Joshua Taylor commented that “this match was really decided after that marathon of a second set. Both teams were battling so hard and leaving it all out on the floor. I think if we came out on top that second set, we would’ve carried that big momentum the rest of the way.”
Missouri will look to take the positive and negative from tonight, and look to get some revenge on Kentucky Thursday night, back in the Hearnes Center.