Fifth set. 14-14. Match on the line.
Missouri’s 17th-ranked volleyball team was that close to upsetting 13th-ranked Hawaii on Saturday in Waco, Texas. Despite the Tigers’ late rally — they were down 14-11 in the final set until a 3-0 run knotted it up — Missouri fell 3-2 (25-17, 26-28, 25-16, 16-25, 14-16) to the Rainbow Wahine. A kill and a dual block from Hawaii at the end did the Tigers in.
Saturday’s defeat comes on the heels of the Tigers’ first loss of the season on Friday, when they dropped a straight-set decision to No. 5 Baylor in the first round of the Baylor Classic.
The two losses in Waco gave Missouri an 8-2 record. Hawaii stayed undefeated at 10-0.
“This was a hard-fought contest by two great teams,” said Tigers’ interim head coach Joshua Taylor in an athletics department release. “There were so many ups and downs. I think both teams deserve credit for battling adversity and showing a lot of fight in tough spots.”
“In sets two and five, we had our backs against the wall with set point and I was impressed with our ability to stay focused and come back. We just need to learn from matches like today and be able to finish a little better. As a whole, these two matches this weekend will only benefit us as we head into Southeastern Conference play in a week.”
Kylie Deberg and Leketor Member-Meneh led the way for Missouri against Hawaii, both accounting for more than 20 kills. It is the first time in three seasons that a pair of Tiger players have recorded 20-plus kills in a match. Deberg had 25; Member-Meneh had 21.
The Waco Classic was Missouri’s final tuneup before SEC play begins. The Tigers will meet Kentucky at 2 p.m. on Sept. 29 in the Hearnes Center.