Huskers Sail Past Tigers After Slow Start
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Melissa Elmer had 17 kills on .548 hitting, as No. 1 Nebraska took sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with a 30-26, 22-30, 30-23, 30-27 victory over No. 7 Missouri in front of a record crowd of 7,298 at the Hearnes Center Wednesday evening.
Elmer was one of four Huskers to record double figure kills, as Nebraska (14-0, 5-0 Big 12) handed the Tigers (12-1, 5-1 Big 12) their first loss of the season. Elmers 17 kills without an error marked only the second time in school history that a player had at least 17 kills and no hitting errors, matching the feat accomplished by Christina Houghtelling at Missouri last season. Elmers 17 kills was her highest total since an 18-kill effort at Oklahoma last November.
Sarah Pavan had a match-high and season-high 18 kills and 11 digs. Freshman Jordan Larson added her third double-double of the year with 14 kills and 11 digs, as the huskers hit .266 and held Missouri to a season-low .230.
In game one, the Huskers were forced to overcome a six-point deficit before eventually pulling out a 30-26 victory. NU hit .304 in the opener, as Elmer had six kills in seven swings, while Larson and Houghtelling added five kills each.
The Tigers got off to a quick start, as Na Yang had two kills in a 5-1 run to start the match and force a Husker timeout. The Huskers eventually fell behind by as many as six at 7-1 before mounting a comeback. Nebraska sided out on 10 straight Tiger possessions, and the defense allowed the Huskers to crawl back into the match, tying the score at 17-all on a Larson kill.
Trailing 19-18, Nebraska ran off four straight points, taking its first lead of the evening at 20-19 after back-to-back Christing Houghtelling kills before MU called timeout. The Tigers closed to within 26-23 before a Houghtelling kill and combined block by Houghtelling and Tracy Stalls put NU up 28-23.
Game two could not have been worse for the Huskers, as Missouri scored the first six points and never looked back in a 30-22 victory. The 22 points were NUs single-game low this season, as the Huskers hit .048 with 12 attack errors. MU led by as many as 11 points before Nebraska pulled to within 29-22, but a Husker error sent the teams to the locker room tied at one game each.
The Huskers got untracked offensively in game three, using strong serving late by Dani Busboom to earn a 30-23 victory. The Huskers outhit Missouri, .283-.195, and outscored the Tigers 8-1 down the stretch.
Leading 10-9, kills by Elmer and Larson and a combined block by Elmer and Pavan gave NU a 13-9 lead and forced a Missouri timeout. The Huskers led 18-14 before kills by Boyd and Yang sandwiched around a double-hit call pulled the Tigers within 18-17 and forced a Husker timeout.
With the score tied at 22, Saleaumuas kill put NU up 23-22 before Dani Busboom served four straight points, capped by an ace that gave the Huskers a 27-23 advantage. MU pulled closer on a Wilson kill, but the Huskers scored the next three points and Houghtellings kill gave Nebraska the win.
In game four, Nebraska was within 13-12 when Missouri rattled off four straight points to take a 17-12 lead on a Jessica Vander Kooi ace. The Tigers eventually built a 21-15 lead only to see the Huskers use a 5-1 run to close to within 22-20 on an MU hitting error. The Huskers kept whittling away, pulling to within 25-24 after a Houghtelling tip and tied the match on Houghtellings kill.
Elmer then stuffed Yang to give NU its first lead of the game before Larsons kill put NU up 27-25 and forced a Tiger timeout. Consecutive kills by Houghtelling and Elmer capped the 7-0 Husker spurt and put NU within one point of match point, but MU used kills by Boyd and Yang to get to within 29-27 and force a Husker timeout. The Huskers would close out the match moments later on Larsons 15th kill of the night and end MUs winning streak.
-- Courtesy Nebraska