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Mizzou Volleyball gets swept by no. 3 Louisville

Mizzou falls in the finale of the Tiger Invitational

Karen Steger

Mizzou was swept by #3 Louisville for the third straight year in front of a season high 2,503 fans at the Hearnes Center in the last match of the Tiger Invitational. While the Tigers were unable to take a set from the Cardinals, their performance in today’s match shows that they should not be taken lightly by any team they face off against.

The defending national runner-up Louisville dominated the first set from start to finish, going up 9-4 early and then adding onto their lead with a 5-0 run to make the score 15-6, prompting Dawn Sullivan to call a timeout. Mizzou cut the deficit to 8 at 17-9 before Louisville found their groove again, scoring 6 consecutive points to take a commanding 23-9 lead. The Cardinals closed out set one with two in a row to make the final score 25-10.

Louisville completely controlled the net in this set, preventing the Tigers from finding their footing on the attack while looking like an absolute machine when hunting for kills. Mizzou’s front line appeared to be just a tick slow getting to the ball in the first set, and overall the Tigers simply couldn’t control the sheer power the Cardinals were able to put behind their serves and spikes.

Mizzou didn’t stay down for long, though, and came out strong to begin set two, taking a 7-4 lead. The favorites to win the ACC looked to be on their back heels early, and were more mistake-prone than in the first set. However, they regained their composure quickly, tying the set up at 11 and going on a 3-0 run to take a 16-13 lead. The Tigers didn’t simply fade away, though, and closed the gap to one after scoring two straight points to make it 20-19.

From there, things went completely sideways for Mizzou, and Louisville finished the set by scoring four in a row to win the set 25-20 and take a 2-0 lead. While the ending of set two was less than ideal for the Tigers, Dawn Sullivan’s squad showed the ability to test even the strongest of opponents, and continued to do so in the final set.

At the beginning of set three, it looked like Louisville would cruise to a sweep. The Cardinals took a 6-2 lead and ended up extending their advantage to 13-8 on a 3-0 run. However, Mizzou came storming back, catching fire and scoring five straight to take a 17-15 lead.

The two teams traded points before the Tigers went on another run, this one 3-0, to make the score 23-20. Mizzou looked poised for a set three victory as a block gave them a 24-23 advantage at set point. Alas, it was not meant to be, as Louisville battled back and won the third and final set 26-24 to complete the sweep.

Jordan Iliff led the charge for the Tiger attack today with 9 kills, and Dilara Gedikoglu was close behind with 7. The offense had difficulty throughout the entire match, posting a .057 hitting percentage. No Mizzou player recorded a hitting percentage above .150.

Louisville’s offense, however, was firing on all cylinders today, ending the match with a .333 hitting percentage. Cara Creese and Anna DeBeer tied for the Cardinals’ lead in kills at 12, with Creese hitting her way to a .500 hitting percentage. Louisville undoubtedly got the best of the Tigers’ defense, but Mizzou was able to make life much tougher in the final two sets.

You never want to get swept. However, Mizzou proved today that they can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the country when they are on their game. While they were very clearly overpowered in the first set, they fought back and pushed a legitimate national contender, which has only dropped one set so far this season, to the end for two straight sets. The toughness and resilience the Tigers showed today should put opposing teams on alert, and provides hope that Mizzou could surprise some teams when it comes time for conference play.