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Mizzou Volleyball weekend recap: the Tigers get their first SEC road win of the year

Mizzou splits their road trip with a loss to LSU on Friday and victory over Texas A&M on Sunday

Mizzou Athletics

This weekend, Mizzou headed south to take on two members of the soon-to-be-extinct SEC West Division in LSU and Texas A&M. By the end of their two matches, they earned the first conference road victory of the Dawn Sullivan era.

After a strong start Friday night, Mizzou Volleyball saw its momentum falter as LSU took three straight sets to defeat the good Tigers (25-20, 14-25, 22-25, 19-25). Mizzou was firing on all cylinders in set one, but saw the car slowly sputter and break down on the side of the road by the end of the night in Baton Rouge.

The two squads began the first set neck-and-neck, trading points with the set tied at 12 before Mizzou ran off three in a row to take a 15-12 lead, forcing an LSU timeout. The other Tigers responded with a 3-0 run of their own to tie the set at 18.

With set one hanging in the balance, Mizzou stepped on the gas and scored four consecutive points to clinch a 25-20 victory. The Tigers had a .357 hitting percentage in the first set, a number they wouldn’t come close to reaching again in this match.

Set two began in a similar fashion to set one, with the score even at 6-6 before LSU racked up three consecutive points to take the 9-6 advantage. Mizzou was able to tread water for a little while before the floodgates opened, with LSU recording five straight points to make the score 16-9. The Bayou Bengals slowly added to their lead for the rest of the set, ending in a lopsided 25-14 score to even up the match at 1-1.

LSU didn’t wait long to turn on the jets in set three, using a 3-0 run to take a 7-3 lead and doubling up the good Tigers at 10-5. Mizzou fought back to narrow the gap to 10-8 before LSU responded with three consecutive points of their own to make the score 13-8.

However, the black and gold Tigers showed that they still had plenty of fight left in them by going on a 4-0 run to tie the set at 17. However, Mizzou was never able to seize the lead, and the purple and gold Tigers were able to hold on until the end for a hard-fought 25-22 set win, bringing up a must-win fourth set for Mizzou.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Both teams made runs early on, with Mizzou coming back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the set at four and six points each. LSU would inch out ahead before Mizzou rushed to catch up, and control of the set was up in the air with the score at 13-13.

From that point onward, LSU took control, going on a 5-0 run to take a commanding 18-13 lead which Mizzou would never be able to dent. The Bayou Bengals took the final set of the match 25-19 to defeat the good Tigers 3-1.

Mizzou finished the match with a .136 hitting percentage and were hampered by 25 attack errors and 14 service errors. The black and gold Tigers were also out-blocked, 12-8.

While Janet deMarrais and Dilara Gedikoglu led the team in kills with 11 each, the bright spot of the Mizzou attack was Colleen Finney, who recorded nine kills and a .364 hitting percentage.

The Tigers did not let the effects of the loss linger. In front of an intense crowd in College Station, Mizzou withstood a late charge from Texas A&M to take a 3-1 victory (25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21).

If you’re a fan of crisp play and a potent attack when watching volleyball, set one wasn’t for you. Both squads had their front lines working early, getting lots of deflections and preventing each other from getting easy looks when hunting for kills.

Mizzou took a 9-5 lead thanks in part to a large number of errors by Texas A&M. The Aggies cut their deficit to two at 11-9, and by that point had already racked up five blocks. The Tigers began to slowly build up a lead, going ahead 18-12 before A&M ran off three straight points to make it 18-15.

The Aggies made another push late with three consecutive points to cut the Mizzou lead to 23-20 before the Tigers cliched set one with a Morgan Isenberg kill, 25-22.

This set was certainly a strange one, with Mizzou hitting only .093 but still managing to take the victory. Texas A&M was able to rack up seven blocks, but their effect was negated by a whopping seven service errors.

Janet deMarrais recorded the first three kills of set two for the Tigers, and the two squads fought a close and intense battle to begin the action. Both offenses made their presence known early on, and neither side was able to seize a clear advantage until Mizzou took a 12-10 lead on a 3-0 run featuring two more kills from deMarrais.

The Tigers finally got some breathing room by stringing together another three consecutive points, going up 15-11. However, A&M got back into the set with two separate 3-0 runs of their own, taking a 17-16 lead and prompting a Mizzou timeout.

Both teams fought back and forth until the Tigers closed out the second set red-hot on a 4-0 run, taking the 25-22 victory on a Sierra Dudley service ace.

After another back and forth beginning in set three, the Aggies ran off three straight points to take a 9-6 lead. Mizzou slowly worked the deficit down to one, 15-14, before A&M went on runs of 3-0 and 4-0 to take a commanding 22-16 advantage.

The Aggies clearly controlled the momentum in the second half of this set, winning set three convincingly with a final score of 25-19. The difference in hitting percentage between the two sides was stark, with A&M cruising along at .379 and Mizzou failing to get off the ground at .029 to go along with nine attack errors.

Early on in set four, it looked like Texas A&M might carry over their momentum from the third set as the Aggies took a 4-1 lead. However, Mizzou stormed back with two separate 4-0 runs to make it 12-8.

Just as soon as the Tigers grabbed the momentum, A&M seized it back by tying the set up at 15 on a 3-0 run. Mizzou couldn’t afford to let the Aggies pick up steam again, and it was clear that the next few points would prove crucial to the outcome of set four.

The Tigers rapidly reversed the momentum and seized the upper hand by racking up five straight points, taking a decisive 20-15 lead. However, A&M had one more run left in them, scoring three in a row to cut the Mizzou lead to 23-21.

Dawn Sullivan’s squad clinched their first SEC road victory of the season with kills from Jordan Iliff and Janet deMarrais, taking set four 25-21 and the match 3-1.

Mizzou struggled on the attack for most of the match, finishing with a .146 hitting percentage and a normally ship-sinking 30 attack errors. Janet deMarrais led the team with 18 kills today, a career-high for her as well. Jordan Iliff was the most efficient member of the attack, finishing 2nd with 16 kills and hitting .270. The bronze medal today went to Dilara Gedikoglu, who recorded 10 kills.

This was not a pretty match for Mizzou, and they will have plenty to work on in practice on Monday. However, it’s never easy to win a match at Reed Arena, especially with the Aggies riding high after an upset of fourth-ranked Florida in Gainesville on Wednesday.

At the end of the day, the Tigers were able to secure their first road win in one of the toughest volleyball conferences in the country. Now, they have a week to zero in and prepare for a Friday night matchup with #23 Kentucky at the Hearnes Center.