New Season, New Team, and New Outlook for Mizzou Volleyball
This weekend, coach Joshua Taylor’s new-look Tigers will kick off their 48th season by hosting the Mizzou Invitational at the Hearnes Center. On Friday, they’ll face St. Louis University at 12:30pm and University of Missouri-Kansas City at 7:30pm. On Saturday at 3pm, the Tigers will take on Creighton, an NCAA Tourney team a year ago. You can watch both the UMKC and Creighton matchups on the SEC Network +.
Let’s take a closer look at the team we’ll see on the court this season, shall we?
ABC 17 Sports Director Andrew Kauffman conducted his weekly Sunday Sit-Down with Head Coach Josh Taylor, where he previewed the team and what’s ahead. It was a great chat, filled with lots of information.
Here’s what stuck with me, both from what he said in the sit-down, and from my own quick research:
- More than 50% of the roster this season is brand new. Gone are some well-known names: Kylie Deberg (LSU), Tyanna Omazic (Miami), Andrea Fuentes (Wake Forest), and Dariana Hollingsworth (North Florida), as well as — by my count— three others from the 2020 roster.
- Of the notable returners, Erin Williamson started 15 games last season and recorded 11 aces, Emily Brown started every game as a freshman and led the Tigers with 307 digs, Anna D’Cruz started 17 games and had 9 kills vs Tennessee, and All-SEC honoree Anna Dixon started 10 games and had 20 kills vs LSU (and 273 on the season).
- There are eight freshmen on this roster, including four Missourians (gotta lock down those borders) and Coach Taylor figures more than half of them will play a good amount. There are also two grad transfers, Brynn Carlson (K State) and Nicole Alford (Maryland), and a regular transfer on the roster, Sklylar Buckley (MS State). Of the freshmen, look out for nationally ranked Jordan Iliff (no. 37), Kaylee Cox (no. 45, came in second semester), Addison Lyon (no. 116), and 6’4 Kayla Burbage (no. 145) to make an impact.
- All 14 roster members were here all summer, which was a first in Taylor’s short time at Mizzou. A 15th player, St. Louis native Morgan Isenberg, was a late addition. This is Taylor’s first “normal” preseason, with last year being a COVID season, and he was brought on late in August the previous season with the retirement of the Kreklows.
A week ago, the Tribune’s Eric Blum took a look at the new team, which will rely on their veterans and a talented crop of newcomers. A trio of last season’s starters remain, Anna Dixon, Emily Brown and Anna D’Cruz , and will look to help develop chemistry with the newbies as the No. 28 ranked (according to the preseason polls) Tigers get going.
From Josh Taylor:
“The new people that we’ve got are contributing in amazing ways and we have a whole group buying into direction, culturally where we’re trying to take the program,” Joshua Taylor, Missouri’s third-year head coach, said. “Just fantastic young women who are buying into the teaching and being incredible teammates.
Anna Dixon echoed his statement:
“They’re all great. Not only are they talented, but they’re such good people, too. We talk about it all the time, I don’t think I’ve ever been as blessed to be with such nice girls. They’re good humans and we’re really excited about this group.”
One of those newcomers, Kaylee Cox, was an early enrollee and participated in practices for the Tigers’ split spring schedule.
Good luck, ladies! I hope to make it over to Hearnes this season to check out some games!
Onto the Links! Not long now til we are back at Faurot, y’all. The rocks got a fresh set of paint for the occasion!
Yesterday at Rock M
- In a new Dive Cuts pod, the guys talked about the non-con, Sam’s loathing of Bill Self, and much more. Have a listen… this will be their last one for a bit, as the site will go to football TWICE a week.
- Josh had a FANTASTIC story on Mizzou’s desperate need for an exciting return game.
- IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Nate continued what was originally Bill C’s “What If” creation, trying to figure out what needs to happen for the Tigers to go from bad to good to great.
- COMING UP: Kortay and BK finish up the last of the offseason coverage with pieces on Ennis Rakestraw and the Thiccer.
- Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was busy, writing a few pieces on the impact of Gary Pinkel on Drinkwitz and Mizzou Football as a whole, and the team eclipsing the 85% threshold on vaccinations. The birthday boy also held his weekly chat, answering questions about all things football.
- Mizzou football wide receiver Keke Chism is ready to steer fellow pass-catchers in right direction, according to The Tribune’s Eric Blum.
- The Maneater’s staff is back in business with the start of a new school year, and Mason Arneson reported on the excitement Drinkwitz is generating within Missouri football with new captains and scholarship player.
- Saturday Down South’s Adam Spencer identified some best and worst-case scenarios for Mizzou Football in 2021 and asked if D-Line U is back.
- The KC Star’s Blair Kerkhoff went in-depth on D’ionte “Boo” Smith, who took a long road to Mizzou and it’s finally paying off.
- Congrats, Tyler!
- Updated recruiting rankings are looking GREAT, according to MU historian, Tom Orf.
Mizzou up to #13 in the ESPN football recruit rankings— Tom Orf (@MU4124) August 26, 2021
- Did Mizzou get a new transfer commit when we weren’t looking on Thursday evening? According to his Twitter, Hicks declared his intention to transfer just three days ago.
- Well, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this! The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a big football spread coming to your doors/screens on Sunday!
- Yaya Keita seems like a gym rat, and I love it. Per Zo’s instagram story, here he is practicing on his own.
- An updated 2022 Rivals 250 ranking list was released, and our own Matt Harris pointed out where Mizzou’s targets landed.
Uncommitted players with #Mizzou offers:— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) August 26, 2021
- No. 11: Mark Mitchell
- No. 57: Aidan Shaw
- No. 60: Isaac Traudt
- No. 64: Prince Aligbe
- No. 66: Ty Rodgers
- No. 90: Chandler Jackson
- No. 127: Trey Pettigrew
- No. 135: RJ Godfrey
- No. 136: Avery Brown https://t.co/pKchAkhMmO
- Speaking of Mizzou targets, the Tigers had an unofficial visitor today!
- Sara-Rose Smith. Shooter.
Other Mizzou Sports
- Soccer’s contest against Indiana State was postponed due to inclement weather, and will be played this morning at 11am where hopefully they will pick up win #1. More info at MUTigers.com
No soccer tonight, Tiger fans. The match will be postponed to tomorrow at 11 a.m.— Mizzou Soccer (@MizzouSoccer) August 27, 2021
Senior night will be rescheduled to later in the year so we can honor them properly.#TakeTheStairs ⚽️
- BieserBall is on a roll, picking up yet another commitment— this time, 2024 OF/LHP Jake McGhee.
#Mizzou picks up a good one in-state, adding to what’s already a great start in 2024 with OF/LHP Jake McGhee. Fastball has worked into mid-80s on bump w/ quick arm; left handed swing plays too, creates separation & handles barrel well. 6.89 runner. #457 per @PerfectGameUSA https://t.co/sS2yIrrlKF— Jheremy Brown (@JBrownPG) August 26, 2021
Mizzou in the Pros/Other Former Mizzou Player News
- In the Mercury’s win over the Liberty Wednesday night, 106-79, Sophie played 17 minutes off the bench (most of the non-starters). She had a bit of an off night shooting with only two points (1-4 FG, 0-1 from three) with 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 2 fouls. She was -1 on the night.
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