|12-10-2005, 08:01 AM||#3|
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Mizzou vs Tennessee match today at 3pm on ESPNU to decide who moves on to the final four in the Alamodome next week.
|12-10-2005, 10:15 AM||#6|
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Posted on Sat, Dec. 10, 2005
MU volleyball team upsets Hawaii and reaches NCAA tourney quarterfinals
By GORDON BRUNSKILL
Special to The Star
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Missouri women’s volleyball team already was someplace it had never been. And because the Tigers are here, they might as well keep going.
Missouri used defense and the huge swings of Na Yang to knock off sixth-ranked Hawaii in four games 30-26, 26-30, 30-27, 30-22 Friday night at Penn State’s Rec Hall in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. It is the first time in the program’s history that the Tigers have advanced to the quarterfinals.
“It’s really cool to be a part of something that keeps getting better every year,” said senior setter Lindsey Hunter, who had 55 assists. “It’s really an honor to be a part of it. It’s kind of like the changing point of the program.”
The eighth-ranked Tigers, 25-4, will face No. 17 Tennessee at 3 p.m. today for a spot in the championship semifinals. The Volunteers stunned second-ranked Penn State in Friday’s other match 30-27, 14-30, 30-27, 33-31.
Both MU and Hawaii were backboards, digging up everything in sight. The teams combined for 182 digs, and four players registered season or career highs. Missouri’s Tatum Ailes had a career high with 26 digs, and Jessica Vander Kooi had a personal-best 20 to go with nine digs and six blocks.
“I had a lot of inspiration tonight,” Ailes said of her record total after her parents missed the match after being stranded by winter weather. “I kind of wanted to play on just for them.”
The Tigers, the 10th seed, also built a good block, with 16 to the Rainbow Wahine’s eight. Lisa Boyd tied her career high with eight, including a personal-best four solo blocks, and Nicole Wilson had seven blocks.
“They’re a good blocking team. They’re just a great defensive team overall,” said Hawaii setter Kanoe Kamana’o, who had 59 assists and 20 digs. “It was pretty hard for us to put our balls down. They were digging up every single ball we could think up.”
And then there was Yang, the offensive workhorse for the Tigers. Nearly one-third of the team’s total sets went her way as she took a career-high 66 swings, putting 24 down for kills.
After the teams traded wins in the first two games, Missouri took control in the late stages of the third game and did not look back.
A 5-1 run gave the Tigers a 28-25 lead, with the points coming off two Hawaii errors and three Yang kills. A Shen Danru cross-court kill finished off the game.
Missouri kept the heat on to open the fourth, racking up the first five points highlighted by back-to-back Hunter aces. The Wahine were never again closer than four points in the game.
“We did a really good job of staying aggressive,” Hunter said.
Now that the Tigers have knocked off the No. 7 seed, and one perennial power, they get to take a swing at another in Tennessee.
MU coach Wayne Kreklow, whose program had never been beyond the NCAA second round before this season, knows his team will have its hands full.
“Just to be here and to get a chance to play those kind of people is really quite an honor for us,” Kreklow said. “To be able to come in and actually win a match with Hawaii, I couldn’t be more proud of our players.”
■ WHO: Missouri vs. Tennessee
■ WHEN/WHERE: 3 p.m., Rec Hall at Penn State
■ TV: The match will be shown live on ESPNU. It also will be simulcast on the videoboard at Mizzou Arena following the Tigers’ basketball game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.