13 is Tigers’ lucky number

Freshman helps Missouri sweep Southeast Missouri.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:30 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

It would be hard to blame Na Yang if she complained of a sore hand.

Na, a freshman outside hitter for the Missouri volleyball team, rattled off 13 consecutive serves Tuesday night in a 3-0 (30-21, 30-7, 30-20) sweep of Southeast Missouri State at Hearnes Center.

“Oh my goodness,” Na said. “Unbelievable. I served too much.”

The string of serves were part of a 13-0 Missouri run midway through the second game, which MU (6-3) dominated. By the time Na finished serving, MU led 24-5.

During the second game, the Tigers had a .516 hitting percentage, more than double their season average. The Otahkians, meanwhile, hit -.111.

The 30-7 final score was the Tigers’ largest margin of victory in team history. The NCAA started playing games to 30 points in 2001.

“We really had to work on pushing it hard,” senior outside hitter Jenny Duitsman said. “Beating them 30-7 was awesome. That’s how it should be. They played tough, but we definitely needed to do that.”

But the Tigers were sluggish at the beginning of both of the other games. In the first game, SEMO jumped to a 9-4 lead. After that, the Tigers had little trouble, ending game one with a 10-2 run.

“SEMO came out early, jumped on us, and we really had trouble rebounding,” coach Susan Kreklow said. “However, we remained steady, and … were able to come back.”

It took MU, the Big 12 leader in team kills, 12 points to record its first mark in that category. But the Tigers finished with 60 kills in the match, their highest per-game total of the season.

In the third game, MU didn’t take the lead until three straight kills from Na made it 17-16. It was again Na who served during a 5-0 run that put the game, and the match, out of reach.

Southeast Missouri State (1-9) has been swept in eight of the 10 matches it has played this year and has allowed more than 17 kills per game to opponents.

After two conference matches last week, and with defending Big 12 champion Kansas State coming to Hearnes Center on Saturday, Duitsman said the match against SEMO was a good opportunity to relax.

“This was kind of our fun match, where you don’t have a lot of pressure,” she said.

Four Tigers finished with double figures in kills, led by Jessica Vander Kooi, Shen Danru and Lisa Boyd with 11. Shen, a junior outside hitter, had seven of her kills in the second game, then did not play in the final game.

Na finished with 10 kills and no errors for a career-high hitting percentage of .500.

But it was Na’s run of serves that had the team talking after the match.

“I didn’t even realize how long it was,” said Boyd, a junior middle blocker. “She just kept serving and serving, and we’re going, ‘OK, we’re getting cold over here.’ ”

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