After a rough home opener with the Tiger Invitational, Missouri rebounded with a 4-0 sweep of the Idaho Invitational, with Emily Wilson and Carly Kan paving the way behind 129 combined kills on the weekend. The Tigers have one more non-conference tournament before opening SEC play next weekend vs. Mississippi State, traveling down to Coral Gables for a double-header with Miami (FL) and UNC-Greensboro. Can VolleyZou add two more wins to extend their four-match winning streak? Or will the offensive production dip again and add more bad losses to Mizzou's resume?
September 20th vs. Miami (5-4)
Players to watch
Savannah Leaf, Senior Outside Hitter
The All-ACC Outside Hitter is on pace to match her 442 kills from 2013 with 126 through the first nine games of this season. Leaf lead the 'Canes kills per set with ~4.00, with a lot of the offense from the back row coming from her this year.
Emani Sims, Senior Middle Blocker
Sims leads the team with a .413 attack percentage on 143 total attack with just 15 errors on the year. The All-ACC Middle Blocker has landed on two all-tournament tournament teams this season behind her offensive and defensive play, with 74 kills and 39 total blocks through the first nine games of the year. The matchup to watch Saturday will be Sims vs. Whitney Little, with both dominating at the net this year, I would expect these two to trade kills and blocks back and forth all match long.
Haley Templeton, Freshman Setter
After splitting time between Setters Blaire Fuentez and Caitlin Donahoe last season, Coach Jose Gandera decided to leave the offensive in the hands of true freshman Haley Templeton, and so far Templeton hasn't disappointed. She leads the team with 284 assists on an average on 10.14 per set. Fuentez and Donahoe have still rotated in on occasion, but Templeton has lead the offense this year with a .249 attack clip on 419 kills.
Prediction: Missouri 3, Miami 2
September 20th vs. UNC-Greensboro (7-2)
Players to Watch
Jessica Brezwyn, Sophomore Outside Hitter
After finishing fourth for the Spartans in kills in 2013, Brezwyn is leading the way with 113 kills on .173 hitting, but she's committed 42 attack errors that killed her and the team's hitting percentage this year. She makes up a back row that has combined for over 200 digs this season as well.
Vicky Harley, Senior Middle Blocker
At the net, Harley leads the team in hitting percentage with .372 and is second in kills behind Brezwyn with 104 this year. On the defensive end, she's accounted for 45 total blocks, and although she's not as tall as your average middle blocker, she's been effective up throughout her career. I would expect Whitney Little to take full advantage of this size matchup vs. the Spartans.
Julia Westerbur, Junior Middle Blocker
Along with Harley, Westerbur has made an impact up front at Middle Blocker with 63 kills on .328 hitting. Harley has played the majority of sets at MB, but Westerbur has come in and made noise on the defensive end, with 22 block and 15 digs so far in 2014. If Harley can't get anything going against players like Whitney Little and Emily Thater, I wouldn't be surprised if Westerbur came in later in the game.
Prediction: Missouri 3, UNC-Greensboro 1