Already missing outside hitter Mary Lauren Smith, the No. 24 Missouri volleyball team received another scare when outside hitter Shen Danru injured herself against Colorado on Wednesday night.
Even with the injury, the Tigers beat the Buffaloes 31-29, 30-27, 30-25 in a Big 12 Conference game at Hearnes Center.
Missouri (15-4, 8-2) led 10-5 in the second game when Shen dove for a ball and laid on the court clutching her right elbow.
Jenny Duitsman replaced Shen, who received treatment on the sideline. After the break, Shen returned in the third game with MU trailing 9-7 and played the back row for Duitsman.
Coach Susan Kreklow said that it appeared Shen jammed her elbow. Test results were not available.
“It certainly was a scare for the team,” Kreklow said. “Shen is involved in every rotation and it forced us to take a look at different lineups and doing things differently.”
Duitsman, who played middle blocker in Game 1, played outside for the first time at Missouri and finished the match with four kills.
“I was nervous in that I don’t usually play that position,” Duitsman said. “But I was definitely ready, all I needed was a little encouragement from the other girls. I’m used to going in in tough situations and that definitely was a tough one.”
Colorado (13-7, 5-5) took advantage of MU’s loss and went on a 10-3 streak. After Missouri took a 17-15 lead with a Lindsey Noll kill, the Buffaloes regained control and led 27-22. The Tigers ended the game with eight straight points.
“It was a little chaotic there for a little while when Shen went out,” Duitsman said. “We’re not used to being without her. But we just have a really good way of coming together. When Juliana (Godoi) came in to serve those last few points to bring us back in it, she just brings a lot of energy onto the court and we seemed to come together at that point.”
Missouri trailed 10-9 in the third game before scoring six straight to take the lead. Colorado then went on a 10-2 streak to lead 20-17. A Jessica Vander Kooi kill ended the Buffaloes’ streak and began a 7-1 MU run that gave the Tigers the lead for good.
Kreklow said that she was pleased with the Tigers play but thought they were inconsistent at times.
“I think we had runs where we were very focused,” Kreklow said. “Then we would let up a little bit and when you let up a little bit it gives the other team a chance to gain momentum.”
Missouri’s defense led the way in the first game for the Tigers earned eight blocks. Nicole Wilson and Noll teamed for a block to win it. Wilson led Missouri with six block assists, and the Tigers had 17.
“They had such high, long swings,” Wilson said. “The key was waiting on the outside. In the middle, just taking away an angle or watching the hitter and seeing what you could do with it.”
Vander Kooi led Missouri with her third double-double. She had 10 kills and 11 digs. Noll also earned 10 kills.
Kreklow said that Vander Kooi, a freshman, and Wilson are playing well and improving every day in practice.
“That is very good for us,” Kreklow said. “As they improve, the team will improve.”