MU volleyball defeats ISU in five sets

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | 10:40 p.m. CDT; updated 11:36 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Missouri freshman Priscilla Armendariz dives for a ball in the TIgers' victory over Iowa State on Oct. 1 at Hearnes Center. Armendariz had eight digs for MU.

COLUMBIA - The Missouri volleyball team won the first two sets of its match against Iowa State without ever trailing.

Things changed in the 10-minute intermission before the third set. Missouri was expecting Iowa State to fight back.

"When you're down 0-2, you've got nothing to lose," Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow said. "You're going to come out, you're just going to let it rip."

Iowa State won the third and fourth sets, before Missouri recovered and won the fifth set to win the match 25-15, 25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 15-7 on Oct. 1 at Hearnes Center.

"When you get into trouble," Kreklow said. "Things start going a little fast and everything becomes a little bit of a blur. We've got people, I think, trying to overplay their positions at times. A combination of that and some of us not being ready."

In the third and fourth sets, Kreklow played junior Lauren Nuckolls, who hadn't played since Sept. 17, four matches previous. Kreklow played her in relief of junior Megan Wilson.

"Sometimes you just have to give somebody a mental break," Kreklow said. "And Megan was doing a lot of really good things throughout the course of that match. But every once in a while, somebody's got your number, you get stuck in a bad rotation. . . . You need to get a different person. Lauren is a much different player. She's smaller, she hits the ball at a different way."

When the fifth set came, the Tigers took the lead and didn't lose it. Kreklow said he didn't know what to expect before the fifth set.

"I think in Game 5 , to be honest, the players themselves just got together and said, ‘OK, this is ours, let's go, do what we're supposed to do and get after it.'"

Kreklow said the performance of junior middle blocker Amanda Hantouli was important in the fifth set.

"In Games 2 and 3 and 4, she was playing a little bit too fast, was a little bit wild," he said. "She got fooled a couple of times blocking. We talked before Game 5 about not overplaying, just play with your discipline."

Kreklow also said the team's defense improved in the fifth set.

"A lot of it starts at the net," Kreklow said. "And I thought in the first two games and in that fifth game, we were doing a much better job of setting our block sooner, which allows the defenders to get stopped a little bit sooner, position better. And I thought that was probably one of the biggest differences."

The Tigers improved to 8-6 and 2-2 in Big 12 play. Their next match is 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Texas A&M.

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