-Mizzou is ranked No. 15 in AVCA Preseason Top 25 poll, its best preseason rank since 2006.
-Mizzou was picked to finish third in the preseason SEC poll, as voted by the league's coaches.
-The senior trio of Whitney Little, Sarah Meister, and Emily Wilson has totaled 75 wins in their three seasons.
-Carly Kan was the only outside hitter in the nation to have more than 800 total attempts while hitting above .350 last season. In fact, she led all left side hitters in power conferences with her .364 clip in 2013.
-Senior Whitney Little has reset the single season blocks record in each of the past three seasons and will look to do so again in 2014. She also holds single season school records in solo blocks (42, 2013) and hitting percentage (.463, 2013(
-Mizzou brings back 67-percent of its kills from a year ago, 68-percent of its digs and 77-percent of its total blocks. The Tigers also bring back 67-percent of its total points from a year ago.
Mizzou Volleyball NCAA All-Access Episode 1: NIKE GEAR
Mizzou Volleyball participates in the Ice Bucket Challenge...nominates Mizzou Gymnastics
Okay, so I was wrong just a little bit.
From what I saw, Mizzou's back line was doing just enough to keep the Heels out of the back of the net early on, but there were occasions where UNC would break through and be an inch or two away from putting it in the back of the net. A perfect example of this came in the 72' minute when UNC Forward Paige Nielsen single-handedly weaved her way through the back three defenders and ripped a shot on goal that Kristen Rivers stopped for one of her four saves on the day. There will need to be some improvement in the back half if the Tigers hope to have success this year on defense.
Offensively, the Tigers were able to capitalize on two crucial UNC mistakes that lead to both Mizzou goals. First, an early give away in the box lead to Rachel Hignett taking the easy opportunity and putting in the left side of the net for the first score of the game. Later on, after the Tar Heels equalizer in the 64th minute, a back pass that is knocked lose by the Tigers defense is picked up by Jessica Johnson who gives a nice touch to Taylor Grant to put MU up 2-1 in the 68th minute. While the Tigers were able to capitalize on the opportunities they had, they weren't able to create many other chances as they were outshot by North Carolina 14-5
Overall, the Tigers do impress in the exhibition victory over UNC, especially both Goalkeepers, but it also shows what Mizzou needed to work on before the season opens this weekend. The back three defenders need to contain forwards from getting into the box and getting off decent shots (Tar Heels had six shots on goal to Tigers two), and the offense needs to create more opportunities so they can mount a successful attack in the front third. We'll see how Mizzou fairs against some tough competition in Syracuse and West Virginia this weekend at the Penn State Invitational.