By Michael Levitt
Missouri volleyball beat the Texas A&M Aggies in five sets on Sunday to improve to 20-4 on the season and 10-2 in conference play.
The 3-2 (23-25, 25-15, 25-22, 22-25, 15-8) victory was not only head coach Wayne Kreklow’s 300th win with the Tigers, but was also the team’s eighth straight win since losing to nineteenth-ranked Kentucky in four sets back on September 30th. Friday’s win also marked the Tigers’ fourth consecutive season reaching 20 wins, the first time in the school’s history that has happened, and the twelfth time reaching twenty wins during Kreklow’s fourteen-year tenure.
Texas A&M, now 12-11 on the season with a 5-6 conference record, took the first set behind the strength of eleven points from Missouri mistakes, including three attack errors and a service error by Dariana Hollingsworth.
In the second set, the Tigers were able to limit their mistakes and take advantage of the Aggies’ mistakes to win 25-15. The main scorers for Missouri in the second set were Kylie DeBerg and Tyanna Omazic with five kills each, while Andrea Fuentes added thirteen assists.
The third set was more even, with Missouri taking a 7-4 lead before Texas A&M scored six straight points to go ahead 10-7, highlighted by a service ace by Brookah Palmer. The Tigers immediately responded, scoring four consecutive points to go back on top, 11-10. For the rest of the third set, the two teams went back and forth, alternating points for the most point, except Missouri scored two straight a couple times, allowing them to come out ahead.
The fourth set was just as even, alternating points before one team went on a run of three or four straight points. A few points later, the Aggies would do the same thing. Texas A&M went on a four consecutive point stretch at the end of the set, allowing them to tie the score at two sets apiece and forcing a fifth set.
The fifth set started off the same as the previous two sets, but with Texas A&M ahead 3-2, Missouri got four straight points to go up 6-3. One point later, the Tigers went on another run, this time for six consecutive points, including two straight kills by Leketor Member-Meneh, both assisted by Fuentes. After the second Missouri run, the score of the fifth set stood at 12-4. From then on, the teams again alternated points, with the Tigers taking the fifth set by a score of 15-8.
At the end of the match, Fuentes had racked up 61 assists, a career high. The last time a volleyball player for the Tigers had gotten more than sixty assists in a single match was in 2010 when Molly Kreklow got 62 against Oklahoma. Fuentes now has 702 assists for the season, a team high by over 400. Member-Meneh led Missouri in kills in the match with seventeen, one ahead of DeBerg. Overall, the Tigers had four players in double digits in kills, with one more sitting at nine.
Missouri’s next match takes place Friday, Nov. 2 when they travel to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks. The Tigers will be looking to win their ninth straight match and improve to 21-4.