Missouri 3, Arkansas 1



COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Overpowering the Arkansas Razorbacks 3-1 during first round play of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament, the Mizzou Tigers are cued for a second waltz in the Big Dance. Utilizing its first round opportunity, Missouri dominated the Razorbacks recording 75 kills, 20 blocks and seven service aces while keeping Arkansas to 57 kills and three service aces.

Battling through the first match, the Tigers and Razorbacks kept the score within two points until Arkansas was able to pull ahead 19-16. Mizzou continued to play catch-up during the majority of play, until finally coming back to tie 25-25. Keeping within one point, the teams vied for leverage until Mizzous Shen Danru put the Tigers on top scoring back-to-back kills to give Missouri a 29-28 advantage. An Arkansas attacking error proved the final folly handing the Tigers a 30-28 victory.

Playing out much like the first match, opening slowly, until Mizzou surged ahead 11-8 setting up a lead it would not relinquish. Although the Razorbacks worked to wheedle away the Tigers advantage, Mizzou kept Arkansas at bay holding at least a seven point front through the remainder of the match topping the Razorbacks 30-21.

Turning the tables on the Tigers, Arkansas rallied back to take the third match 30-25. Jumping out to an early 7-3 lead, Missouri played catch up to tie the match 8-8. After chasing Arkansas within one point, the Tigers finally found a rhythm to overtake the Razorbacks 15-13. Unwilling to give up three in a row however, Arkansas bolstered back to tie the game 17-17 before pulling ahead scoring five unanswered points. Despite valiant efforts by the Tiger squad, Mizzou was unable to overcome the deficit.

Hyped from its victory, Arkansas leapt into the final game again taking an early lead 8-4. Striking back Missouri scored four consecutive points to even out the field before going on a second four point tear to top the Razorbacks. Despite building up a seven point lead, Arkansas fought to tie the game 20-20. Tensing the match within two points, the Tigers conclusively plowed forward scoring three unanswered points to eek out a 30-26 victory.

Leading the Missouri charge, Shen scored 21 kills and three service aces for the Tigers. Jessica Vander Kooi topped out with 13 kills and led the team with six blocks, while Lisa Boyd and Na Yang each rallied 11 kills. Leading Arkansas, Kele Brewer recorded 17 kills while Karla Crose led the team with six blocks.

Taking its 3-1 victory into the second round, Missouri faces Louisville. Second round play begins Sat., Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m., in the Hearnes Center. Tickets are available at the arena or by calling the Missouri Ticket Office at 1-800-CAT-PAWS or 884-PAWS locally.

--Courtesy Missouri