By Aidan Johnson
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Women’s Volleyball so far this year, the 16th ranked Missouri Tigers fell to the Tennessee Volunteers in five sets. The loss marks only the third for Missouri this year, bringing it to an overall record of 8-3 on the season.
The match, which was the first held in Knoxville in over 90 days, was marred by mistakes from both teams. Tennessee totaled 21 attacking and 22 service errors, while the Tigers committed 25 attacking and 13 service errors of their own.
While the game was sloppy at times, it was thrilling all the way until the end. Neither team ever held a lead larger than five points, and each set finished with the losing team down by seven points or fewer.
Kylie DeBerg and Claudia Dillon led the way for Missouri on the attack, with the former totaling 23 kills and the latter racking up 11 of her own. Jaden Newsome also had a standout performance for the Tigers, totaling 41 assists and 13 digs over the five sets.
For Missouri though, that was about all that went well for it tonight. It had a hitting percentage of just over 20% and failed to close out what would have been a deciding fourth set while up 18-12.
The Tigers lost that fourth set after Tennessee challenged a Missouri point, overturning said point which would have tied the set at 25 apiece. The officials ruled the ball deflected back off of a Missouri player after a Tennessee block, before going out of bounds.
Tennessee received offensive contributions from up and down its lineup, while also playing stellar defense. Lily Felts, Danielle Mahaffey, Jasmine Brooks and Morgahn Fingall each had 13+ kills, with Felts leading the way with 16.
On the defensive side, the Lady Vols stood out prominently as well. Madison Bryant, Lily Felts and Natalie Hayward each racked up 14 or more digs, and the team finished with 9.5 total blocks on the night.
The win for the Volunteers also marked the first time this year that they had beaten a Top 25 opponent. They can close out the series against the Tigers tomorrow and, if they do, it will grant them revenge, as Tennessee was swept by Missouri last year.
That match will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Knoxville, with Missouri looking to bounce back from this tough loss. Tune in to the match on kcou.fm and follow along on Twitter for game updates, replays and stats.
Edited by Emma Moloney