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Missouri volleyball, three other schools to kick off NCAA tournament at Hearnes

Thursday, December 5, 2013 | 8:49 p.m. CST; updated 11:56 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 5, 2013

COLUMBIA — The NCAA volleyball tournament is coming to the Hearnes Center. On Friday, Purdue plays Central Arkansas at 4:30 p.m., and Missouri plays Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) at 6:30 p.m.

The winners of those games will play each other at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Tickets are available on mutigers.com and are priced at $10 for adults and $7 for youth and seniors for two-day packages. One-day tickets are $7 and $5 respectively. 

Here's a look at each of the teams that will compete to advance to the Champaign, Ill. regional next weekend:

Purdue: The Boilermakers enter the tournament with a No. 19 national ranking. This Big Ten team defeated now No. 9 Nebraska and No. 20 Michigan State in November. Purdue is 20-11 overall and has four players who averaged 2 or more kills per set this season. Missouri lost both of its meetings against Purdue, in 1984 and 2004.

Central Arkansas: The Sugar Bears (29-3 overall) finished 18-0 in the Southland Conference, winning the conference tournament for the second year in a row. Heather Schnars averaged 3.52 kills per set, and the team hit .260 during the season. Missouri swept Central Arkansas both times the teams met in 2010 and 2011.

IUPUI: The Jaguars (19-13) travel to Missouri for their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. They won the Summit League regular season title for the second consecutive season. Moriah Fair averaged 3.87 kills per set in the season, while Kaitlyn Hickey averaged 3.39 kills per set. The Jaguars, a strong defensive team, also averaged 16.91 digs per set. In 2001, Missouri swept IUPUI in the teams' only previous meeting. 

Missouri: Seeded fourth in the tournament, the undefeated SEC champions enter Friday on a 34-game winning streak. Seniors Lisa Henning and Molly Kreklow have been consistent leaders all season and are backed by a crew that includes all-SEC middle blocker Whitney Little, who only needs two solo blocks to set a new single-season team record for Missouri. Whitney has 39 solo blocks and the school record is 40.

Supervising editor is Sasu Siegelbaum.


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