Missouri 3, Hawaii 1Dec. 9, 2005

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.--The No. 8-ranked and No. 10-seeded Missouri women's volleyball team defeated No. 6-ranked and No. 7-seeded Hawai'i Friday afternoon in the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament, winning 30-26, 26-30, 30-27, and 30-22. The Tigers' (25-4) win over Hawai'I marks the highest-ranked team a Mizzou squad has defeated all-time. Mizzou will make its first appearance in school history in the regional final, tomorrow, at 3 p.m., central, playing either No. 2 Penn State or No. 17 Tennessee, live on ESPNU.

The Tigers took down Hawai'I (27-7) on solid passing, serving, and blocking, recording 16 blocks to the Rainbow Wahines' eight. Senior Lisa Boyd (Farmington, Mo.) tallied eight total blocks, four solo, to lead the Tigers. Junior Nicole Wilson added with seven total blocks, and broke the team's season record in block assists, going to 118 in the 2005 campaign.

Senior Lindsey Hunter (Papillion, Neb.) became only the 17th person in NCAA history to reach the 6,000-assist mark for a career, adding 55 in the afternoon (now at 6,035) capping with three vital service aces to begin the Tigers' game four streak. Hunter also added two blocks, five kills, and seven digs.

Sophomore Na Yang (Shan Dong, China) led the Tigers with 24 kills, on a Tiger-NCAA Tournament record 66 attacks. Yang added three blocks, including one solo stuff.

Sophomore Tatum Ailes (Bellevue, Neb.) had a stellar-defensive performance, scooping 26 digs, a Mizzou-NCAA Tournament record, also recording a career high in the category.

Senior Shen Danru (Beijing, China), playing in her school-record 441st career game, recorded the 59th double-double of her career, scoring on 12 kills and 12 digs.

In the Tigers' game one, 30-26 win, Mizzou went on a four-point run to go up 13-7 to start the spread on Hawaii. Never falling behind in the entire the game, the Tigers were paced Na Yang who scored on seven kills, with Vander Kooi adding four. Mizzou outhit the Rainbow Wahine in the first frame .241 to .173. Wilson added three blocks in the stanza. After the Tigers went up 13-7, forcing a UH timeout, the `Bows went on a 8-2 run to come within one of Mizzou at 16-15. A Tiger 6-2 run including a Danru ace kept the `Bows at length at 22-17, but UH fought back coming within two at 27-25.

Hawaii took control of game two, going on a 6-1 run after each team tied at each score heading to 4-4. Mizzou started to feel the heat of UH's serving, as it caused the Tigers to have a minor lapse in passing. Hawaii kept control of the frame and won 30-26.

The Tigers were down in game three 11-8 before Mizzou went on a 5-0 run, culminating with two Yang kills to go up 13-11. The teams traded scores for the next several points and the Tigers took hold with a 5-1 run with three kills from Yang. The teams battled point-for-point until with Mizzou down 24-24, the Tigers scored on seven-of-10 rallies to seal the fame, that stretch included three more kills from Yang. In what was a "scrappy" game, Mizzou outhit the `Bows .169, .141.

What a start for Mizzou in game four. In the first 15 points of the period, the Tigers scored on 12 rallies to take firm grip on their possible-tournament advancement. It all started with a serving period by Hunter. After a kill by Yang to lead off the game, Yang and Wilson were part of a double block before Hunter scored on THREE-consecutive service aces to stun the Rainbow Wahine. Two consecutive block solos by Boyd at the eighth and ninth point, put Hawaii in a worse position. UH tried to rally a comeback, coming back to within five, after being down nine at 15-6, but was thwarted by another Hunter-serving run. Three-straight points came the Tigers way, again including a big-Yang kill. The Tigers closed the book on the match with a Boyd kill. Ailes had eight blocks in game four alone.

The Tigers will play either No. 2 Penn State or No. 17 Tennessee in the regional championship, Saturday, at 3 p.m., central. The match will be aired live on ESPNU. Following Missouri's men's basketball game with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, fans are invited to stay in Mizzou Arena and watch the volleyball match on TigerVision.

-- Courtesy Missouri

NCAA Volleyball Postgame Quotes
Hawaii vs. Missouri (Dec. 9, 2005)

Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji

What was the turning point in game three?
We had been playing real well and had a couple points, but we made three hitting errors in a row. That was disappointing because we had been playing real well.

On the body language of the team during game four.
I know our body language probably wasnt good. I dont think we gave up and we kept pushing. There was too much of a deficit.

What made Missouris Na Yang so hard to block?
Shes got great vision. Wherever we tried to take, she did the opposite. She didnt hit for a great percentage but she had a lot of kills. She could always see where we were trying to block it.

How far do you think Missouri can advance in this tournament?
You have to give them a chance tomorrow night. I dont know how Harmotto being out affects Penn State, but well see in the next match. I dont see a weakness in Missouri. We thought maybe they were not a good blocking team, but they got 16 blocks tonight. Thats pretty good. They pass great and solid ball players. If they play spirited and error free, they will be in the match tomorrow night.

If you had a chance to change something out there, what would it be? I think overall they made more plays than we did. Its pretty simple. Tactically, Ill be second-guessing myself as far as line-ups and substitutions. But in the heat of the battle you try to push buttons. I know Ill be hard on myself for some of the decisions I made during the match. I cant fault any of my players.

What can you say about Missouris coaches?
I think you can see they are well organized and disciplined. They have a solid formation, especially defense. There were very few teams we played who played perfect perimeter defense. I was very impressed with their organization.

Junior setter Kanoe Kamanao

How much of an impact was Missouris blocking?
Theyre a great blocking and defensive team. It was pretty hard for us to put balls down. They were digging up every single ball. They did a great job of reading our hitters and putting it in the right spot.

When did you see the match pull away from you?
I dont think there was a point where I saw the match pull away. We always knew we were going to play tough and not give the game away. We knew to take over what we could on our side of the court. Missouri did a great job of coming back.

Sophomore middle hitter Victoria Prince

What made Missouris Na Yang so hard to block?
Shes a great volleyball player, and she just kept hitting the same spot.

NCAA Volleyball Postgame Quotes
Hawaii vs. Missouri (Dec. 9, 2005)

Missouri head coach Wayne Kreklow

Opening statement:
Obviously I was very pleased with the way we played tonight. We played really well in game one; we played with a lot of energy and emotion. I thought Hawaii did a great job in game two of taking us out of the system, they seemed really tough and the game slowed down. Theyve got some really great players and they blocked well. I thought we did a good job in game three of re-grouping and trying to get back to the basics for us. The third game was pivotal and I felt whoever was going to take that one, if we could get that one, that was a big game and it would give us some momentum going into game four. In game four we got off to a great start, we had some tough serves and it kind of separated right at the beginning but I was really pleased at the way our kids hung on. And when Hawaii came back, we were able to hang on and pull that one out.

How does it feel to beat Hawaii, knowing their program and tradition?
Well we talked in the first press conference, we talked about the programs in Penn State and Hawaii, the traditional powerhouses and I think one, just to be here and get a chance to play those kind of people is really a great honor for us and for everybody in our program. And to be able to come in and actually win the match with over a team like Hawaii, it couldnt make me more proud of our players. They are a great team. And I would have to say this has to be one of the biggest nights in the program up to this point.

How do you feel about the teams defense and how they blocked Hawaii?
Well weve been working on it really hard for the past couple of weeks. Just trying to get better at it and I think going into the tournament there are just some things that we normally do well consistently, but blocking was a part of the game where we were pretty consistent. And we worked really hard at doing some little things just to try to pick up a few blocks a game and I thought that these guys did a really great job of concentrating in practice and even a better job of taking that and carrying it over into a competitive situation because sometimes thats hard to do.

What do you know about Penn State and Tennessee?
Youve got two great teams, we saw Tennessee earlier in the season so we are a little bit more familiar with their personnel. You know Penn State is just a great volleyball team, they are really athletic very skilled, they dont have, well I guess when you get to this point, nobody really had major weaknesses, or you dont get this far. So whoever wins, this next match is surely going to be a challenge and we will go out and watch them as they play right now. Quite honestly, we havent spent a lot of time worrying about the possible next opponent at this point, you do that basic scouting and such but in terms of really in-depth things we havent really done, but they are a really great team, both of them.

Senior setter Lindsey Hunter
What do you credit the win to?
I think we did a really good job of staying aggressive and like Wayne said, that game three was a really pivotal moment and we kind of took that momentum and carried it over into the fourth game.

What are your thoughts about the program and going where it has never gone before?
I think its really cool to be a part of something that keeps getting better every year. This is my last year here at Mizzou and its definitely going to continue once I leave, but its just really an honor to be a part of this a big changing point of the program.

Talk about the play of Na Yang...
I had a lot of confidence in her tonight and I thought she did a really good job. Shes a really good player and even if she gets blocked, she keeps swinging. So I have trust in every hitter on my team and thats just awesome to have.

What can you say about the play of the middles?
Well I think the timing was off a little bit, whether it was them or me and we werent really clicking in the beginning. I think game two was the strongest and games three and four were just awesome with the middles. That is something that we stress in time outs, get the ball more in the middle, try to connect a little bit more, so I think it started coming along a little later in the game.

Junior outside hitter Jessica Vander Kooi
What point of the game did you feel you had the victory locked up?
I dont think we ever felt that way until maybe game point, Hawaii is a good enough team that they could come back in positions like that. And they did come back. We just had to keep focused on each ball at one point in time and not look too far in advance.

Sophomore libero Tatum Ailes
What was it that did it for you in the game?
I had a lot of inspirations, my parents were supposed to be here tonight and they both got stranded, so this is something I wanted to do for them.

-- Courtesy Penn State