Saturday, September 8, 2007

Volleyball Matches #5-8

Okay, so I got a little behind here...since I'm just killing time until the dulcet tones of Mike Kelly and John Kadlec fill my living room (though Oregon racking up 32 points and 450 yards against Michigan in the first half has been pretty entertaining...there's a never-ending source of stunned fan camera shots...), let's catch up.

9/2: Florida International 3, Mizzou 2

As mentioned earlier this week, after an impressive sweep of Notre Dame on 8/31, Mizzou came out rolling against FIU, outscoring them 60-40 over the first two games. However, complacency set in early in the 3rd, and FIU got emotionally involved in the match again. They rode a 5-0 lead to a 30-24 win in Game 3, then took a 19-11 lead in Game 4 before a late Mizzou charge cut the lead to 29-27. That was as close as it got, however, as FIU closed things out 30-27, then took a 13-10 lead in Game 5. Four Na Yang kills in six points gave Mizzou a 15-14 lead (they also took a 16-15 lead) before FIU came back to win 18-16, completing the massive upset/comeback.

In the end, Mizzou outscored (127-118), outhit (.270-.239), and outblocked FIU (13-9), but early-game lapses in Games 3 and 4 doomed them. They fit the "talented and young" profile to a T. There were lots of great individual performances against FIU--Julianna Klein (19 kills, 18 digs...almost a 'double' double-double, ahem, and 3 aces), Lei Wang (58 assists), Weiwen Wang (12 kills, .379 kill %), Amanda Hantouli (9 kills, only 1 error, .421 kill %, 3.5 blocks)--but Mizzou did just enough to lose.

9/8: Mizzou 3, CS-Fullerton 0

CSF was only 17-12 last year, but let's face it--they're from California, so you know they've got some talent. Mizzou made short work of this one. Mizzou hit an outstanding .370 for the match, led by Na Yang (16 kills, .433) and Julianna Klein (19 kills, 10 digs, .368), while Weiwen "Wendy" Wang and Megan Wilson added 5 kills each, and Mizzou wore CSF down, 30-24, 30-20, 30-17.

9/8: Mizzou 3, Houston 1

Mizzou blew a 23-18 Game 1 lead and fell 31-29 before regaining their composure and wiping the Cougars off the court, 30-22, 30-15, 30-21 in Games 2-4. Mizzou outhit UH .312-.155 and racked up 12 blocks (leader: "Wendy" Wang, 3.5) and 63 digs (Tatum Ailes, 14) along the way. The attack was once again led by Yang (19, .381) and Klein (15, .314), but they were made more effective by the substantive contributions of Wang (12, .360), freshman Catie Wilson (9, .368), and Megan Wilson (8, .250). They had to step up a bit, as Klein hyperextended her knee in Game 3. No word yet on how long she'll be out.

9/9: Mizzou 3, Texas State 1

Another slight blip (this time it was Game 2) wrapped around an overall strong performance in the final match of the CenturyTel Premier in San Marcos. With Klein out and Yang ineffective (10 kills, .027...likely being double-teamed), Megan Wilson stepped up and dominated (18 kills, .364, 4 digs, 2.5 blocks) alongside Weiwen Wang (18 kills, only .130, 7 digs, 3 aces), carrying Mizzou to an encouraging 30-23, 25-30, 30-24, 30-27 win. Also notable is the fact that freshman Caitlyn Vann put up double-digit digs in both of the last two matches after a bit of a slump.

Mizzou is now 6-2 overall, having outscored their opponent in every match. They host lowly UMKC on Wednesday before starting the conference season in Austin next weekend. Hopefully Klein's knee heals relatively quickly. Even though they've gotten offensive contributions from a lot of players (M. Wilson, W. Wang, C. Wilson, Hantouli, etc.) over the last few matches, they'll need all their weapons in place if they want to compete with a Top 10 team like Texas on the road.