Missouri 3, Missouri State 0

Dec. 2, 2005

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Tied 17-17 in game three, the No. 10 Missouri Tigers didn't want to face a tough Missouri State team in the fourth game. By scoring 13 of the next 22 points, they didn't have to. The No. 10 Tigers outlasted the Missouri State Bears 30-26 in game three, and swept Friday night's first-round NCAA match at the Hearnes Center, 30-27, 30-18, 20-26.

With three kills apiece down the stretch, sophomore Na Yang and senior Shen Danru pushed the Tigers into the second-round of the NCAA tournament. The Tigers (23-4) will face the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks (21-11), tomorrow night at the Hearnes Center.

Missouri State, who showed a tough determination against the Tigers, fell to 24-8 for the season. The Bears from Springfield, Mo. managed to bring a strong contingent of followers in maroon as the crowd of 6,294, provided a partially divided yet enthusiastic audience for the match.

Mizzou set a personal NCAA tournament record, holding the Bears to a .179 hitting percentage, surpassing the previous NCAA tournament record of .231 set against Arkansas on Dec. 3, 2004. The Tigers managed a .364 hitting percentage, including a .452 average in game two.

Junior Jessica Vander Kooi and Shen led the Tigers with 13 kills apiece. Junior Nicole Wilson had a team high .526 hitting percentage. Wilson also tallied five blocks, second only to senior Lisa Boyd who nearly notched a double-double, with nine kills and 8 blocks. Senior setter Lindsey Hunter had 44 assists to go along with her four kills.

Missouri State had strong statistical performances out of Katie Werges, and Erin O'Connor who each had 13 kills. Sabrina Apker added eight kills, and setter Ashley Warren had 44 assists and a service ace.

The energy to begin game one was apparent, as both teams came out with a certain intensity that showed they were ready to play. Just as the Bears began to growl, the Tigers growled louder. With the score tied 11-11, Wilson's game changing kill allowed Mizzou to get rolling. Following a Missouri State error and two kills by Vander Kooi, Mizzou took control, 14-11. Missouri State struck back with a 4-0 run, knotting the match at 16. From there, the Tigers rattled off a 6-1 run, taking control 22-17 and never giving back the lead, going on to win 30-26.

Down 11-10 in game two, Mizzou broke open the game with five straight points including a service ace by Booth. The Bears and Tigers would trade blows, battling back and forth in front of a raucous crowd, before Mizzou finally seized control of the game, wrestling away 11 of 15 points from the Bears, allowing Mizzou to coast to a 30-18, win.

Just as the Tigers began to smell blood, they went in for the kill. Beginning game three on an 8-3 run, the Tigers got excellent play from Jessica Vander Kooi, who added two kills, and Abbie Booth, who managed to slip a service ace seamlessly in between Missouri State defenders.

Sensing their tournament lives on the line, Missouri State rallied to a 9-4 scoring run, highlighted by a service ace from Warren and two kills from Sara Thomas. However, it wasn't enough, as Mizzou outlasted the Bears down the stretch. A block by seniors Hunter and Boyd sealed the victory and the date with the Lady Razorbacks in the second round.

Mizzou Quotes Coach Wayne Kreklow

Opening Statement "I'm very pleased with our players tonight Missouri State's a very excellent volleyball club, they are very solid, and they've got a lot of good players out there. They came in here on a roll. We knew coming in here that we would have our hands full and we'd have to play well. I was really pleased with the way our players responded to the pressure Missouri State put on us with the serve. They play excellent defense, and there were a lot of times I thought things could have gone either way. Whenever we got those tilt points, somebody on our side would come up with an outstanding play that seemed to turn the tide. Overall, I think we were very pleased with the way we played tonight."

On blocking "We spend a lot of time with the tapes, working on blocking. We spent a lot of time preparing for the match this week and we weren't going to make big changes in what we do, but we felt that blocking was an area in which a little bit of improvement would help us tremendously. We weren't expecting to completely change, just a little bit here and there."

Lindsey HunterOn Missouri State "I think Missouri State played really good defense. I think our team did a really nice job especially in games one and three. Our players just kept swinging and I think that's why we were successful."

Lisa BoydOn block timing "Any time you face a hitter, you have to get your timing down. I think as the game went on, we adjusted and started waiting a little longer and did well."

Missouri State Head Coach Melissa Stokes

On the Missouri Tigers "I thought this was the best Missouri team that they've ever had here and I like the way our team competed tonight especially game one. I like the way we responded after game two. I thought we were a little off tonight in some areas where we knew that in order to beat Missouri or have a shot at it, we were going to have to be running on all cylinders and have all our attackers on and I thought we had two attackers on at times and one or two attackers off at times. I thought that was a pretty big difference. They're a very good Missouri team and I think they'll do very well in the tournament."

On Missouri State's Performance "I thought we broke down a little bit in our outside hitters. I think Missouri left us one-on-one in the middle and I think that was working. They served us a lot tougher in game two and we had a little bit tougher match-up. We didn't get the match-up we wanted rotation wise and they started keying on our middles a little bit more. But I think our passing also broke down a little bit in game two and that didn't allow us to run our middle effectively the way we would have liked to."

Katie Werges On Missouri State's Energy.

"We came out really fired up, we believed in our hearts that we were here for a reason and it was a great opportunity to play Missouri. Not everyone was firing, we didn't have the Bears. We didn't play how we know we could play. I can't tell you what it was, we just weren't clicking as much as we did this past weekend. But I felt like we left everything we had in the end on the floor."

-- Courtesy Missouri