By Lucas Owens
Mizzou Tigers volleyball returned to the Hearnes Center on Sunday, coming off a resounding victory over Arkansas on Friday. The Tigers swept Arkansas in Fayetteville, lengthening their win streak to three games. Mizzou enters as the 25th ranked team in the nation according to the AVCA Coaches Poll and 20th according to NCAA RPI.
Mississippi State broke a streak of their own Friday, as their win against Auburn in Starkville, Miss. broke an eight-game skid for the Bulldogs, also giving them their first win in conference play of the season.
Mizzou got off to a 3-0 run in the first set, only to see Mississippi State meet that with a five-point run of their own, before playing closely for the rest of the first half of the set. Leketor Member-Meneh took some time off early, but came back strong with two of the first six kills for the Tigers. Andrea Fuentes also kept up her usual production in the first set, as 15 of the first set points came off assists from her, and she was the only Tiger to record an assist in the first set. Ultimately, Mizzou ended up pulling away in the first set, winning it 25-19.
It was more of the same in the second set, as the beginning was marked by a back-and-forth game, with both sides earning points. At one point, the set was tied at 11-11, largely due to errors by the Tigers. Mizzou started to come out ahead at times, but it remained close between the Tigers and the Bulldogs. However, Mizzou almost won the set without advantages, before not converting three in a row, as Mississippi State tied it at 24-24. After not converting the first advantage, Mizzou took the second set 27-25 to extend their lead to two sets to none over the Bulldogs.
The third set, again, was back-and-forth, but Mizzou pulled ahead thanks to strong kills. Mizzou ran away with the set completely late, taking the match 25-18.
Paramount to Mizzou’s victory was Andrea Fuentes, who again had a crazy day with assists, adding 51 to her total on the season. The Tigers also relied on their kill game, as they got 56 to Mississippi State’s 31. Leading the charge in kills were Member-Meneh and Kylie Deberg, who got 13 and 14 respectively. Tyanna Omazic and Dariana Hollingsworth-Santana also joined the previous in recording a double digit kill match.
The Tigers mainly succeeded due to forcing errors on to the Bulldogs. While Mizzou made a lot of errors themselves, they never let it control the game.
“Certain times when we’re making attacking errors or even when Andrea [Fuentes] is trying to dump and score a point or try to do a little bit too much, like Tianna [Omazic] trying to tip a ball so it will perfectly land on the sideline,” coach Joshua Taylor said. “We’re trying to be a little bit too perfect when we should just be trying to be good.”
Mizzou faces the 13th ranked Florida Gators in the Hearnes Center on Wednesday, before going back on the road to College Station, Texas to face the Texas A&M Aggies.
Edited by Emma Moloney | email@example.com