COLUMBIA — Molly Kreklow went up for a set and came down with a kill.
Two points later, the senior setter made another quick dump kill, helping the Tigers move past a first-set deficit. Missouri went on to defeat IUPUI 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-18) in its first-round NCAA tournament match at the Hearnes Center.
Kreklow finished the night with 41 assists and five kills. Those dump kills – second-touch tips over the net to an empty spot on the opponent's court – opened up options for the rest of her team.
"It meant that Molly was an option now for us for attacking," fellow senior Lisa Henning said. "It just makes our team have that much more energy out there."
But the match wasn't Missouri's prettiest effort. Coach Wayne Kreklow said the nine-day break between the last regular season match and Friday's match made it tough to get into a rhythm against IUPUI.
"The last thing I said to our group in the locker room is at this point, we are all about surviving and advancing. And I felt like that's kind of what we did," he said. "We survived that one, we advanced. I don't think we were particularly sharp."
He said the team is aware that Purdue will come out ready to attack Missouri's weaknesses.
"If we're trying to set somebody up for being overconfident, we probably did a good job of that tonight, 'cause I don't think we looked real good," coach Kreklow said. "I do think we can play a lot better than that."
IUPUI wasn't intimidated by the crowd of 4,581 at the Hearnes Center. The Jaguars built as much as a four-point lead in the first set.
"We love playing in atmospheres like this," IUPUI senior Alexis Meeks said. "Coming out here, we knew that this place was going to be packed. ... We know that we can hang with anybody, and it just, in volleyball it's just points here and there. Anybody can have the momentum. ... And we hung with them for a little bit."
And the NCAA appearance — a first for IUPUI — will be good for the program, IUPUI coach Steve Payne said.
"Down the road, now it's something we've been there once, and they're gonna want to do it again," Payne said.
Elsewhere in the tournament, fellow Southeastern Conference and Champaign, Ill. regional bracket team Florida, lost to Florida State in the second round, meaning that the Tigers will not have to face the Gators for the third time this season.
Missouri will play in the second round against Purdue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hearnes Center.
Supervising editor is Nina Pantic.