By: Andy Humphrey
COLUMBIA, Mo. – In its most crucial weekend of the 2016 season, the No. 25 Missouri volleyball team returned to its winning ways Friday by topping the Auburn Tigers in four sets (17-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19).
The win gave Mizzou their first victory since Nov. 8 and brought its SEC record to 13-2 (22-5 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie for third place in the conference standings with Texas A&M.
Mizzou stumbled out of the gate in the first set, as Auburn’s Brenna McIlroy and Gwyn Jones attacked with ease and gave Mizzou early troubles. McIlroy finished with a double-double (13 kills, 14 digs) while Jones led Auburn with 16 kills.
But Mizzou did not stay down for long. In the second set, Mizzou tightened on defense thanks to the insertion of Julia Towler into the lineup and outlasted Auburn 25-20.
The second and third sets were both hotly contested, featuring a combined 23 ties and six lead changes. Mizzou managed to get key performances down the stretch from Emily Thater and Alyssa Munlyn to close out the final two sets and seal the match.
Melanie Crow finished with a game-high 22 kills, posting her fourth 20-kill game of the season. The redshirt junior also provided nine digs on the night.
After the win Friday, Mizzou now sets its sights on a pivotal match with the No. 6 Florida Gators Sunday at the Hearnes Center. With a win, the Tigers can bring themselves into a tie in the standings with the Gators, who lead the SEC with a 14-1 conference record.