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    Sunday SEC Volleyball Scoreboard

    Missouri 3, Georgia 0
    Florida 3, Mississippi State
    Kentucky 3, Auburn 1
    Ole Miss 3, South Carolina 0
    Texas A&M 3, Alabama 0
    Arkansas 3, LSU 1

    Mizzou Volleyball Uses Defensive Effort to Sweep Georgia

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou posted 15 blocks in a 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-11) sweep of Georgia on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 30) at the Hearnes Center. The win improves the Tigers to 12-4 on the season and 4-2 in SEC play. The 15 blocks for Mizzou mark the fifth time in six SEC matches that the Tigers have posted at least 10 blocks while the main catalyst at the net was sophomore Whitney Little (Keller, Texas), who finished with a match-high 10 total blocks. The 10-block match for Little is her fourth in eight games as she matched the school record for 10-block matches in her career (four), tying her with former All-American Christi Myers. Little was also a force offensively with seven kills on .545 hitting.

    Defense was the name of the game on Sunday as Mizzou limited the Bulldogs to just .030 hitting, the Tigers’ best opponent hitting percentage against an SEC team this season. In all, the Tigers finished with 15 blocks and forced 28 attack Bulldog attack errors in the win. After Sunday’s blocking effort, Mizzou is now averaging 3.45 blocks per set in SEC play, by far a league-best this season.

    “I was pleased with the way that we responded after Friday night,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “I thought we were still a little sloppy at times, but I was pleased with the way we responded. I thought we blocked really well in the first set and that sort of set the tone for the rest of the match.”

    Aside from Little, who finished with 14.0 points in the match, junior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) was also sensational with 12 kills on just 20 swings, tallying 15.0 points on .500 hitting. She also joined the block party with four, just one off of her season-best in that department. Henning also corralled a team-best 10 digs on the match, finishing with her fourth double-double of the season.

    Offensively, Mizzou was not able to get a lot of swings due to the amount of attack errors from the Bulldogs as they had just 85 in the three sets. Taylor Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished with six kills while freshman Regan Peltier (Nixa, Mo.) added five more kills. Sophomore libero Sarah Meister (San Deigo, Calif.) had her streak of five-straight matches with at least 10 digs snapped, but she did finish with seven digs, good for the second-best total on the team. Junior Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) was very good as well, posting four kills on seven attacks while spreading 30 assists with five blocks and two digs as she continues to do it all for the Tigers this season.

    Mizzou opened the match by limiting UGA to just -.079 hitting in the first, tallying five blocks and forcing 13 Bulldog attack errors as it ran away with the first set, 25-15. The second set was much closer as Georgia cut down on the attack errors with just four as it hit .265, but the Tigers escaped with a 25-23 set win despite hitting just .194 in the second.

    The third set was the most dominating of the match as the Tigers came out and hit .409 with 11 kills while forcing 11 Georgia attack errors, limiting UGA to just -.107 hitting in the set. In fact, seven of the Tigers’ 15 blocks in the match came in the third set alone.


    No. 12 Gator Volleyball Puts Forth Complete Effort in 3-0 Sweep of Mississippi State

    STARKVILLE, Miss. - The No. 12 University of Florida volleyball team (11-2, 5-0 SEC) continued its winning ways, sweeping Mississippi State, 3-0 (25-14, 25-9, 25-18), on the road for their eighth-straight victory of the season. The Bulldogs fell to 4-10 on the season and 0-5 in SEC action. The Gators remain the only team undefeated in conference play and are also undefeated (4-0) on the road this year.

    "So much of this match was decided on the first contact behind the service line," Florida head coach Mary Wise said. "To beat teams, you have to serve and block well because that sets up everything else. We served well, we blocked well and we had fantastic defensive back row play and that's what we were really trying to emphasize with the team."

    Florida clicked on all cylinders Sunday afternoon, led by the play of senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.), who hit .304 with nine kills and four blocks against the Bulldogs. Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) was huge from behind the service line, serving up two aces and 16 points to go along with a three-set career high in digs (19).

    "I'm really proud of Taylor and how she responded from Friday night," Wise noted. "She didn't have one of her best matches on Friday night and as Taylor goes, our team goes. I think the libero sets the tone for any team and I think when Taylor plays as well as she did today, it's contagious."

    Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 38 assists and set the Gators to a .342 hitting percentage on the afternoon, adding four kills of her own (.500). Freshman Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) and senior Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) each recorded eight kills, with Smith turning in the 11th errorless match of her career as a starter.

    The Gators have never dropped a match to the Bulldogs and have only lost four sets all-time to Mississippi State.

    The Gators went on a 6-0 run behind the serve of Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) early in the opening stanza, jumping ahead of the Bulldogs at 8-1. Florida continued to surge, forcing Mississippi State to burn their second timeout of the set as UF held an eight-point lead, 13-5. Smith served up an ace to go ahead, 18-10, and the Gators took their largest lead of the match off an MSU hitting error at 21-10. A block for Mann and Wiggs set up set point for the Orange and Blue and a kill by Mann gave the first set to the Gators, 25-14. Florida hit .472 in the first stanza, behind six kills on seven swings (.857) from Mann.

    A stuff block by Mann and Wiggs got things started for the Gators in set two, as Florida got out to a quick 5-0 lead behind the serve of Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.). An ace for Unroe put the Orange and Blue up, 10-2, and forced a Bulldog timeout. The Gators continued to surge out of the timeout, going on a 6-0 run behind the serve of Unroe to go ahead, 16-2, and force a second Bulldog timeout. All-in-all, the Gators went on an 11-0 run to pull away, 17-2. Antwi put the set away with a quick kill from the middle, as the Gators won the second stanza, 25-9. The Orange and Blue registered a .344 hitting clip in the second stanza, as Wiggs put up four kills and Recek hit .750 with three errorless kills.

    The Gator block was unstoppable in set three, as Florida registered six blocks in the third stanza. Back-to-back kills by Brauneis allowed the Gators to go ahead, 4-2. A Smith- Brauneis stuff block put Florida up, 5-2, but MSU rattled off three straight points to tie the stanza at 5-5. Back-to-back Simone Antwi (Fairfax Station, Va.)-Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.) blocks allowed the Orange and Blue to jump ahead, 9-6. An Antwi-Wiggs roof at 13-8 forced a Bulldog timeout and an Antwi-Mallette block kept the momentum on the Gators' side, 14-8.

    Back-to-back Antwi kills forced Mississippi State to burn their final timeout of the third set with Florida leading 19-9. Back-to-back Berkley Whaley (St. Petersburg, Fla.) slams put the Gators ahead, 21-10, and a one-handed set from Brauneis to Smith on the slide gave the Gators match point, 24-17. Mallette put the match away on a cross-court kill through the seam of the block, 25-17.

    "I think Mississippi State had the misfortune of being injured early, as well as being young like we are," Wise said. "I think the team we see later this season will be very different. I love their libero; she's just a freshman and sets an SEC record in the first month of her career (50 digs vs. LSU, 9/28/12). I think she'll be someone to reckon with all four years."


    Wildcats Roll Auburn, 3-1, for Third-Straight Victory

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind another spectacular performance from junior Whitney Billings the Kentucky volleyball team rolled to a 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17) win over Auburn on Sunday in front of 1,443 fans in Memorial Coliseum. The Helena, Ala., native charted her third-straight double-double effort and the 20th of her career with a season-high 19 kills and 15 digs. She added four blocks and a pair of aces in the win.

    With its fourth-straight win over Auburn in the series, the Wildcats have won three-straight league matches to improve to 9-6 overall and 3-2 in Southeastern Conference action. Auburn drops to 12-4 and 3-3 in league play. UK will next hit the road for a pair of matches at Ole Miss on Friday night before an early season rematch at No. 12 Florida on Sunday.

    “It’s (defense) really important and it started with our serve.” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “We had 13 serving errors, but Auburn was out of system a lot of the time today and you have to be able to do that with our serve and we did a good job of it. We were able to turn points when we needed. We let them crawl back a little bit but we extended the lead in games three and four when we needed it.”

    In addition to another stellar performance from Billings, UK got a career-day from junior Alexandra Morgan who logged a career-high 15 kills on a team-best .375 hitting clip. She also added five block assists. Senior Christine Hartmann dished out 45 assists and logged her 18th career double-double with 12 digs. She nearly had her first triple double with a team-leading six blocks, including three solo rejections.

    Senior Stephanie Klefot led the back line defense with 17 digs. Sophomore Jackie Napper added 13 and junior Jessi Greenberg made eight highlight-reel diving scoops. Senior Ashley Frazier logged 10 hammers, with sophomore Lauren O’Conner contributing six on the night. Freshman Kayla Tronick added four kills and a trio of block assists in her first extended action in league play.

    “They’re (the team) pretty focused throughout the day and the seniors are to starting step up and lead in that way and understanding that we have to be ready to go,” Skinner said. “This is a different league with a lot of good teams and Auburn is one of them.”

    UK opened to a 25-23 first set victory. The Wildcats notched 13 kills on a .100 hitting clip, but limited Auburn to 10 hammers on .075 hitting. Billings started hot with four kills in the opening set.

    The home squad jumped out an early 10-4 lead capped by a kill from Frazier. The visiting Tigers clawed back to bridge the gap at 23-20, before UK earned set point on a kill from Morgan. Auburn saved set point twice before O’Conner ended the stanza with a slicing cross court kill.

    Auburn knotted things up with a 25-22 second set win to even the match at 1-1 going into the locker room. Both squads struck for 13 kills, but the Tigers benefited from five service errors from the Cats.

    Kentucky steamrolled to a 25-19 third set win to grab the 2-1 lead. UK blistered the Tigers for 18 kills on .250 hitting with Billings and Morgan teaming up for 13 in the stanza. Frazier added four to the Wildcat cause, while Klefot was at her best with seven scoops in the set.

    The teams swapped points back and forth until UK shook loose for a four-point swing capped by a block from Tronick and Hartmann to make the score 20-16. Kentucky would then close out the frame on a 5-4 run with Frazier earning the set-clinching kill.

    UK then claimed the match behind a 25-17 dominating fourth set that saw UK chart 16 kills and add a trio of blocks. Auburn was held to nine kills on a meager .079 hitting percentage. Billings had seven digs and Tronick four kills to lead the way.

    Kentucky jumped out in front by a 8-1 score to begin the set and never looked back. In the opening nine points the Wildcats registered three kills and an ace from the right hand of Billings. Auburn fought back to within three at 13-10, but UK responded with a 12-7 run to close out the frame including forcing the Tigers into a final hitting error to win the match.


    Rebel Volleyball Sweeps Gamecocks On Road

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – A balanced effort by the Ole Miss volleyball team paced the Rebels to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-23) sweep of South Carolina (13-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) in Columbia, S.C., on Sunday afternoon.

    “I’m really proud of the team with the way they came back after a loss Friday night,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We had a good practice (Saturday). I’m proud that they stayed focused and executed a game plan. We did some really good things on the road. There was a good crowd here at South Carolina and it’s always good to get a road win.”

    The Rebels (8-6, 2-3 SEC) had a balanced attack against the Gamecocks with four players recording seven or more kills, but no player with more than eight. Senior setter Amanda Philpot led the Ole Miss attack with a match-high 24 assists, seven kills and six digs. Junior outside hitter Kara Morgan led Ole Miss with eight kills, and senior libero Ashley Veach had a match-high 13 digs. It was the eighth straight match Veach has registered a dozen or more digs.

    “Amanda did a good job of distributing the ball and getting the ball to the people who got us kills at the right time. We had some kids playing injured and I was really happy with the way the team came together to support them.”

    Ole Miss jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the first set, prompting a timeout from South Carolina. The Gamecocks would later pull within two of Ole Miss at 14-12, but it was all Rebels for the remainder of the set as they won 25-19. Philpot led Ole Miss in the first set with four kills and six assists.

    South Carolina came out strong in the second set and led the Rebels 7-4 early before Ole Miss went on a 7-1 run to take an 11-8 lead. Ole Miss kept its newly gained momentum for the remainder of the set and finished it out by taking it 25-18 to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Morgan had six kills for the Rebels in the second set, while Philpot had 10 assists and Veach had six digs.

    Ole Miss opened the third set on fire, taking an 11-1 lead at the start. South Carolina wouldn’t back down though, and tied the match with the Rebels late at 23-23. A Gamecocks serving error gave Ole Miss a 24-23 lead, and a block assist by junior middle blocker Kellie Goss and senior outside hitter Whitney Craven closed out the match as the Rebels held on to win it 25-23.


    Aggies Sweep Alabama, 3-0

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala.  – Texas A&M capped its first SEC weekend road swing with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 victory over Alabama this afternoon at historic Foster Auditorium.

    The Aggies, playing in Tuscaloosa for the first time in program history, improved to 12-2 overall and 4-1 in SEC play after handing Alabama (13-5, 2-4 SEC) its first sweep of the season.

    “We are really excited to get another SEC win in an unfamiliar place,” A&M coach Laurie Corbelli said. “(The game) was relatively slow on our side, and it didn’t really resemble a lot of the things that we have been trying to work on. Part of that was frustrating, but at the same time we had some players really come through and do a great job of leading with intensity and energy. In the end our numbers looked okay and we got the win, so we are really excited about that.”

    Alabama used a 3-0 run to take a 6-5 lead in the opening set, but A&M immediately retook the lead, countering with a 4-0 surge which included back-to-back back-row kills by 6-4 junior opposite Alisia Kastmo. Alabama managed to tie the score four times throughout the remainder of the set but was unable to regain the lead. The Crimson Tide evened the score for the final time at 16-16 before kills by Kastmo and junior setter Allie Sawatzky, as well as consecutive aces by junior outside hitter Heather Reynolds, gave the Aggies a 20-16 lead.

    Alabama mounted a late rally, scoring three unanswered points to get within 22-21 when Kastmo put down her seventh kill of the stanza and senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger followed with an ace to put the Aggies at set point. Alabama notched a kill before Aggie freshman Angela Lowak plastered a kill down the line to clinch the 25-22 win.

    Although Alabama hit -.023 in the second set, the Tide stayed within striking distance as A&M was held to a .136 hitting efficiency. Alabama held its only lead of the frame at 3-2 before Lowak had consecutive kills to give the Aggies the advantage. A&M later held a narrow 17-16 lead, but an Alabama attack sailed long and A&M got kills from Mellinger and senior middle blocker Stephanie Minnerly to give the Aggies a 20-16 lead. Alabama twice got within two points, the last time at 22-20 before A&M junior setter Mariah Agre, who had come off the bench late in the set, got a kill to put A&M up, 23-20. Alabama hit out on each of the next two plays to close out the 25-20 A&M win, giving the Aggies a 2-0 lead in the match.

    A&M jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third set, and other than a 9-9 tie, the Aggies held the lead from start to finish. Leading 15-13, A&M recorded back-to-back blocks with Minnerly, Lowak, Kastmo and senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller all getting in on the action. Lowak then got a kill to widen the gap to 18-13.

    A&M continued to hold its five-point margin at 19-14 when it hit a rough stretch that led to four consecutive points for Alabama. After an A&M serve went long and an attack went into the net, the Aggies set up Alabama for a kill with an errant pass over the net. Another A&M attack error put Alabama within 19-18, forcing Corbelli to take a timeout.

    Miller got a kill on the slide attack coming out of the timeout, marking the start of a 4-0 run by the Aggies. Alabama was whistled for a ball handling error on the ensuing play, and then Sawatzky and Miller blocked an Alabama attack. Reynolds capped the run with her career-high fourth service ace of the match to put the Maroon and White ahead, 23-18.

    The teams exchanged kills, with Miller putting down her ninth kill of the contest to put the Aggies at match point. Alabama staved off one match point with a kill but then unceremoniously served long to end the match.

    Kastmo and Miller led A&M with nine kills apiece and Sawatzky dished out 35 assists as A&M outhit Alabama, .202 to .073.

    A&M had three players reach double figures in digs, led by senior libero Megan Pendergast’s 15. Mellinger had 14 digs to give her 1,266 for her career, catapulting her from ninth to sixth in the A&M career records. Reynolds finished with 11 digs.

    Lowak, who as of late has been coming in for Reynolds on the front row, finished with career highs of six kills, three blocks -- including two solo blocks – and 8.5 points.

    Kayla Fitterer led the Tide with 11 kills.


    Four-set win over LSU caps weekend

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team rallied to beat LSU in four sets Sunday afternoon in front of 1,038 fans at Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks registered a .310 hitting percentage in the match with 15 kills each from Roslandy Acosta and Janeliss Torres-Lopez. With the victory, Arkansas improved to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play.
    Running the show from her setter position, Raymariely Santos had her ninth double-double of the season with 47 assists and 14 digs. Amanda Anderson totaled a season-high 14 kills and added four total blocks. Defensively, Jasmine Norton led all players with 16 digs.
    “Different people keep stepping up at different times,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “I’m very proud of our team effort. As a unit, I thought we did some really good stuff, especially in sets three and four. Our collective effort got better which led to everything else getting better.”       
    Arkansas held the early advantage in the opener, taking an 8-5 lead on a service ace from Santos. The visitors rallied to take a 17-13 lead after a four-point surge. LSU (6-9, 2-4 SEC) arrived at set point with its largest lead of the game, 24-18. The Razorbacks saved three set points to force a timeout but on the next point, LSU closed out the set, 25-21.
    The second set featured back-and-forth play with neither team gaining more than a three-point lead—Arkansas at 12-9—and 11 ties. With the score tied at 21-all, the Razorbacks reeled off the final four points to even the match at one set each. During that stretch, Arkansas took advantage of two LSU errors including a ball-handling error on set point.
    The home team jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead in the third set after consecutive service aces from Christa Alvarez. The Tigers responded to tie the game at 7-all with an ace of their own. With the score tied at 8-8, Arkansas used a four-point push to force an LSU timeout. The Razorbacks’ lead reached six, 19-13, after a kill from Anderson. LSU pulled to within three on several occasions down the stretch but a kill from Torres-Lopez on set point gave Arkansas a 2-1 match lead.
    Despite an even start between the teams in the fourth set, the Razorbacks never trailed in the game. Another four-point surge by Arkansas pushed the lead to 14-9 after consecutive kills from Anderson and Santos. Out of an LSU timeout, the Razorbacks extended their advantage to seven—17-10—with the help of back-to-back kills from Acosta. On the team’s second chance to close out the match, Norton found the floor with her ninth kill to seal the four-set win.
    “We’ve really been practicing hard,” Acosta said. “We know LSU is a good team but when we are playing together, we’ve been doing great. So the key for us was to play together as a team. That is how we came in today to get the win.”