By Lucas Owens
Despite being down both Tyanna Omazic, who went down with a leg injury during the fall season, and Andrea Fuentes, who was absent from play Friday for undisclosed reasons, the Missouri Tigers were able to rally and claw out a victory in five sets against the LSU Tigers. The two different Tigers did not meet during the fall season, in which Mizzou went 6-2 while LSU went 3-3. Despite the Tigers from Missouri coming out on top, LSU exceeded expectations by pushing this match to five sets.
LSU came out strong in the first set, coming back from a few deficits to win the set by 2, 25-23. Missouri, however, rebounded strong in the second and third sets, winning by 25-22 and 25-18 respectively. LSU, especially after being dominated in the third set, looked to be running out of gas, but the Bayou Bengals rallied for an impressive 25-19 victory in the fourth set to even the match at two sets apiece. Missouri again flipped the script though and ran away with the fifth set to take the victory 15-9.
Taylor Bannister was the driving force behind LSU’s surprising performance, as the senior from Missouri City, Texas dominated LSU’s offensive attack, with 18 kills and 2 aces. Karli Rose, LSU’s libero, was also key with 44 assists, far and away the leader for the Tigers from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Missouri’s Kylie Deberg had to step up big for the Tigers considering the absence of Omazic and Fuentes, and step up she did with a match leading 24 kills. Anna Dixon added 20 kills of her own, and Jaden Newsome was by far the assist leader for Missouri, with 44 in Fuentes’ absence. Emily Brown was impressive on the defensive end, with 14 digs, and Claudia Dillon had four key blocks that helped Missouri secure the victory.
Missouri now improves to a 7-2 record, and LSU falls to 3-4. The two teams now meet again on Saturday night to finish this series before Missouri heads south to Gainesville to face No. 11 Florida, while LSU visits the Gators a week later for their matchup.
Edited by Emma Moloney