Missouri volleyball team loses to No. 9 Texas

Saturday, November 19, 2011 | 11:23 p.m. CST; updated 11:34 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 19, 2011

COLUMBIA — A 10-minute break didn't seem like a big deal. But, for the Missouri volleyball team, that wasn't the case.

The Tigers had tied Texas at one game apiece. After set point, the Tigers' players screamed and pumped their fists as they rushed into the locker room for a 10-minute intermission.

"I wish we didn't have that 10-minute break," senior Priscilla Armendariz said. "We had all of the momentum going into the third game and then sitting in that locker room, anxiously waiting to get out there puts a damper on things."

Missouri lost to No. 9 Texas 25-19, 26-28, 25-9, 25-11 on Saturday night at the Hearnes Center.

Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow said his team has struggled coming out of the break the whole season.

"After that 10 minutes, you have to come back out and you have to play again. We didn't do the things in one and two that allowed us to be successful," Kreklow said.

Sophomore Lisa Henning agreed.

"It (the break) just sucks the life out of you," Henning said.

Although the break was a factor, Missouri players said the team lost focus in the third and fourth sets, especially as the Longhorns won point after point.

Henning said there were moments when some teammates hung their heads and lost hope.

"Once we got down a couple points, I think we really struggled on trying to fight back and rally back," Henning said.

Texas (20-4, 13-1 in the Big 12) also has a way of intimidating opponents, Armendariz said.

"Sometimes it's hard for younger players to bounce back after that huge kill or enormous block Texas gets," she said.

Henning said that Texas' size and athleticism has a way of intimidating people, too.

"It's hard to dig deep and feel like everything's OK when they're just slamming balls left and right," she said.

On one occasion, 6-foot-3 Longhorns outside hitter Haley Eckerman hit the ball so hard that her teammates yelled "B-O-O-M" from the sideline. After a big kill, some of the Longhorns players on the bench form a circle. One player stands outside the circle and pretends to shoot a gun.

"Whenever they get that huge kill, it's really hard to bounce back," Henning said. "That takes experience as well, to know after you get stuffed, to keep swinging."

With Missouri (20-12, 6-9 in the Big 12) hoping for an at-large NCAA tournament bid, Henning said it's important to forget about the loss.

The Missouri volleyball team will finish the regular season Saturday on the road against Texas Tech.

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