By: Ben Brady, KCOU Sports
The defending SEC champion Missouri volleyball team (10-5 1-0) opened up SEC play on Friday night with a decisive win over Mississippi State 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-14). Sophomore outside hitter Carly Kan paved the way for Mizzou with a dominant performance of 14 kills and 10 digs. It marked a nation’s best 12th double-double for Kan, and led Mizzou to their 19th straight victory over SEC opponents. Of those 19 wins, 13 have been sweeps.
Also joining Kan in the effort was freshman Sydney Deeken, who had a career-best 10 kills and nine digs in her first start as a Tiger. Senior Whitney Little had eight kills on .368 hitting. Freshman Ali Kreklow had a strong match ending with 20 assists and nine digs. Sophomore Loxley Keala also had a strong match with 23 assists combining with Kreklow to have 43 of the team’s 47 assists.
In the first set the Tigers opened up strong, by Kan setting the tone and getting a kill on the first point of the match. Mizzou jumped out to an early 8-3 lead, and remained hot after a timeout by the Bulldogs. The lead grew to 15-7 as MSU took another timeout, but it was to late, with Mizzou cruising to a first set win of 25-14 behind kills from six different Tigers.
The second set was a different story with the Tigers having to call a timeout after the Bulldogs tied it up at eight apiece. Kan yet again put the Tigers ahead, but the Bulldogs would not let up and took an 11-10 lead. MSU took their largest lead of the night at 15-13, but back-to-back kills from the Tigers tied it up and Kan registered a kill to take a 17-16 lead. It remained close with the score 22-22 until a kill from Thater and a kill from Kan closed the set at 25-23.
The third set it was all Mizzou, with Deeken coming out hot with two early kills to help build a 4-1 lead. The Tigers kept adding to the lead causing MSU to call a timeout after Mizzou went up by six. Thater took over and claimed three kills over a four-point span, to help grow the lead to 20-11. Mizzou then won handily 25-14, with Deeken ending the game with her 10th kill of the match.
It was the Tigers 5th straight victory over the Bulldogs. The Tigers take on the Tennessee Volunteers on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Hearnes Center.