No. 16 Kentucky women's volleyball took down No. 19 Missouri on the Tigers' home court 3-0 (29-27, 25-23, 25-21) Sunday, in Missouri's SEC opener.
The Wildcats' star offensive player, Leah Edmond, returned Sunday after going down with a lower-leg injury in Friday's match against Mississippi State and finished with nine kills and three digs. But Alli Stumler was the star of the match. Stumler finished with 16 kills and a hitting percentage of .368.
Here's what happened
Missouri started out the match with the first two points on a pair of kills off connections from Leketor Member-Meneh to Kylie Deberg. The Tigers looked strong, taking a 7-3 lead before the teams alternated service errors and one kill apiece. Kentucky then went on a 4-0 run off of a kill by Caitlyn Cooper and three straight attacking errors from Missouri to tie it up at nine.
It was then point-for-point, until the Tigers went on a run of their own to take a 20-16 lead. Kentucky responded right away with four straight points to tie it up at 20. There were five more ties after that before Kentucky took the opening set 29-27.
In the second set, both teams utilized all of their weapons. Missouri took the lead 10-6 before Kentucky again sparked a comeback on a 6-1 run to take the 12-11 lead, forcing a Missouri timeout. Out of the break, the Tigers cleaned up its errors and tied the set at 20. The Wildcats then earned three in a row on two Stumler kills and yet another Missouri attacking error to make it 23-20. The Tigers put up a last-chance fight at the end, before the Wildcats finished it off 25-23.
Deberg turned on the jets in the third for Missouri, accounting for six of the Tigers first eight points. Missouri took the lead 10-6, and then 17-13 to force a Kentucky timeout. Right after that, Missouri committed six attacking errors in the Wildcats' 7-0 comeback run to take a 20-17 lead. Stumler then finished off the sweep with three more kills. The Wildcats took the set 25-21 and secured the win.
Why Missouri lost
The Tigers gave up too many points. They tallied 27 total attacking errors in the match, with many of those giving way to crucial Kentucky scoring runs. Missouri actually had more kills than the Wildcats, with 50 to Kentucky's 43, but Missouri's errors compensated for the Wildcats. Kentucky also out-hit the Tigers, .290 to .187.
Deberg had a stellar showing for Missouri, tallying 22 kills and hitting .288. She sparked the Mizzou offense and often put the Tigers in great positions throughout the match, but still, the Wildcats prevailed.
What's next for both teams
Kentucky has a big Top 25 and SEC matchup coming up next week against No. 12 Florida on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. ET. The Gators are 54-14 in the all-time series against the Wildcats. Before that though, Kentucky hosts South Carolina on Friday at 7 p.m.
Missouri will travel to LSU on Wednesday next week before taking on Texas A&M at home on Sunday at 1 p.m.