A disappointing loss to South Carolina put an end to Missouri volleyball’s eight-match Southeastern Conference winning streak last Friday. But the No. 24 Tigers responded the best way they know how: with a sweep.
With a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-16) win over Auburn on Wednesday night, Missouri (21-5, 11-3 SEC) recorded its 13th sweep of the season, seven of which have been against SEC opponents.
On Oct. 19, Auburn (10-14, 3-11 SEC) snapped Missouri’s four-match SEC sweep streak by squeaking out the third set to stay in the match. Missouri ultimately prevailed 3-1, but the players were upset with their inability to close out the home match and keep the streak alive.
On Wednesday, the black-and-gold Tigers redeemed themselves on the road.
Missouri posted a total of 46 kills on a .337 hitting percentage while limiting Auburn to 37 kills on .170 hitting. Dariana Hollingsworth led the visiting Tigers with 11 kills on .450 hitting, while Alyssa Munlyn was close behind with 10 kills on .562 hitting.
The Missouri hitters were strong across the board. Leketor Member-Meneh was just behind Munlyn with nine kills, and Tyanna Omazic and Kylie Deberg recorded eight apiece. The Tigers’ offense proved to be too much for Auburn, but the home team put up a fight in the first two sets.
The battling Tiger teams kept the score close throughout the first game, but at 18-17, Missouri began to pull away. A pair of errors and a kill by Hollingsworth gave the Tigers a late 4-point lead. Auburn was unable to bridge the gap, and a Hollingsworth kill clinched the 25-21 first-set triumph for Missouri.
Despite the deficit, Auburn recovered quickly and recorded a strong start in set two. The home team led multiple times at the start of the game, but Missouri flipped the switch at 10 apiece and never fell behind again. But the visiting Tigers’ work wasn’t done yet.
Down 19-16, Auburn roared back to make things interesting. But each time it tied things up, Missouri scrapped out a point to regain its lead. Variety was Missouri’s greatest weapon down the stretch, as Omazic, Munlyn, Hollingsworth and Member-Meneh all tallied kills in the final moments of the game. The group led the visiting Tigers to a 25-23 victory and 2-0 lead overall.
From there, Missouri put the pedal down. After a back-and-forth start in the third set, the visiting Tigers surged ahead to gain their most comfortable lead of the match. They led 10-5, 16-10 and 21-14 on their way to a 25-16 third-set win.
Once again, Missouri reaped the rewards of its balanced offense. Up 21-16, Member-Meneh, Munlyn and Hollingsworth recorded consecutive kills before a final Auburn attack error sealed the sweep for the Tigers.
Missouri will be back in action against Georgia at 1 p.m. Sunday at home. The matchup will be broadcast on SEC Network.
Supervising editor is Eric Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org, 882-5730.