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    SEC Volleyball Today: Friday, September 6

    Friday Volleyball RESULTS
    Ole Miss 3, Kennesaw State 0
    Georgia Southern 3, Ole Miss 1
    Houston Baptist 3, Alabama 0
    Alabama 3, Florida International 0
    Mississippi State 3, UT-Arlington 1
    Georgia 3, Southern Miss 0
    LSU 3, Arkansas-Little Rock 0
    Kentucky 3, VCU 2
    Auburn 3, Mercer 0
    Missouri 3, Yale 1
    Clemson 3, South Carolina 2
    Auburn 3, Troy 1
    Tennessee 3, UNC-Asheville 1
    Texas A&M 3, UTSA 1

    Crow Leads Ole Miss To Sweep of Kennesaw State

    OXFORD, Miss. – Behind a fantastic performance from freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow, the Ole Miss volleyball team (3-1) cruised to a 3-0 (25-16, 25-10, 25-18) victory over Kennesaw State in the opening match of the Magnolia Invitational at the Gillom Sports Center.

    Playing in their home opener, the Rebels fed off the energy of the crowd to take the match in three quick sets. The Rebels tallied a season-high hitting percentage of .311, and trailed just once throughout the entirety of the match.

    “It’s great to be back home and put on a show for the young kids on School Day,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We play well at home and it was good to see that we played better today than last week. We’ve made some progress on some things.”

    Sophomore setter Skylar Johnson passed out 34 assists, while freshman libero Kristen Brashear had a match-high 10 digs. Crow’s match-high 10 kills came on an impressive .500 attacking clip. Sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte had nine kills on a .412 attack percentage, while fellow sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair had six kills on a .625 clip, one solo block and three block assists.

    The Rebels controlled the first set from the beginning. A four-point run and two five-point runs gave the Rebels a comfortable cushion at 16-4, and they finished off the set with a final score of 25-16. Laporte paced the Rebel attack in the first set with four kills, while Johnson had 13 assists.

    Three separate four-point runs in the second set and a pair of three-point runs gave Ole Miss an emphatic 25-10 win in the second set as the Rebels hit at a .524 clip. Crow had four kills on six attempts and Laporte hammered down three more kills on just four attempts as the Rebels held KSU to a .000 hitting percentage.

    Ole Miss jumped out to a 4-0 lead to open the third set. After KSU cut the Rebels’ lead to 7-5, Ole Miss went on a 5-0 run and led by at least four points for the remainder of the match. Sophomore outside hitter Seini Moimoi had a set-high four kills, while Crow added three more kills on five attempts. Johnson again passed out 13 assists while Brashear had nine digs.

    Ole Miss has had great success in the Magnolia Invitational in the past. The Rebels have won the annual tournament seven times overall, including each of the past six years.

    The Rebels will close out their Friday doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. CT when they take on Georgia Southern. Ole Miss will then face Arkansas State on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT to close out play at the Magnolia Invitational.

    Rebels Fall To Georgia Southern

    OXFORD, Miss. – Junior Marie-Pierre Bakima had a team-high 13 kills, but the Ole Miss volleyball team (3-2) could not find an answer to the Georgia Southern attack and fell 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 13-25, 18-25) Saturday evening at home in the Magnolia Invitational.

    Playing in their second match of the day, Ole Miss lost a tough opening set before rebounding with a convincing set-two victory. The Eagles (5-1) responded with a well-played third set and closed out the Rebels in the fourth set to take the 3-1 victory.

    Bakima added nine digs to her 13 kills Saturday evening, and was joined in double figures with sophomore Ty Laporte, who had 11 kills of her own. Sophomore setter Skylar Johnson passed out a team-high 21 assists, while freshman Aubrey Edie had 16 assists in two sets of work. Defensively, freshman Kristen Brashear had 19 digs and senior Kara Morgan had 10 digs.

    Ole Miss hit at a solid .306 clip in the match’s opening set, but could not stop the Georgia Southern attack and regain the lead. The Rebels cut their deficit to one at 15-16, but could not tie the set and ultimately fell 25-22. Bakima led the Rebels in the opening set with six kills.

    The Rebels responded in set two with a 25-18 victory. Bakima had four kills in the set while Morgan and sophomore Nakeyta Clair each added three. Morgan also had a pair of service aces and seven Rebels recorded at least one dig.

    GSU used a 7-0 run early in the third set to take a 10-5 lead, and held on to grab a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-13 victory.

    Neither team could find an offensive rhythm in the match’s final set, but GSU was able to use a 5-1 run late in the set to take a six-point lead and win 25-18.

    Ole Miss will close out play at the Magnolia Invitational on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CT against Arkansas State (1-5).


    Alabama Volleyball Falls to HBU in FIU Classic Opener

    Miami, Fla. – In their opening match of the FIU Classic, the Alabama volleyball team suffered a 3-0 (23-25, 23-25, 20-25) loss to the Houston Baptist Huskies on Friday morning. With the loss, the Crimson Tide falls to 2-2 on the season, while the Huskies improve to 4-2.

    Alabama will return to the court at U.S. Century Bank Arena this afternoon for a 2 p.m. CT match against the Florida International Panthers (2-2).  

    Leading the way for the Crimson Tide was sophomore outside hitter Laura Steiner who had a match-high 13 kills. Steiner did not commit an error as she posted a .394 (13-0/33) hitting percentage against the Huskies. Krystal Rivers added nine kills, Brittany Thomas chipped in with seven and Bria Green added four kills.  

    Andrea McQuaid had a team-high 23 assists while Sierra Wilson had nine assists, playing in just the third set. Kryssi Daniels had a match-high 16 digs and Catilin Bernardin added 14.

    Alabama had a chance to take the opening set after leading 21-17 and 22-19. However, the Huskies rallied to take a 23-22 advantage, before closing out the Tide 25-23 for a 1-0 lead.

    In the second set, the Tide trailed 19-16 when they got three straight kills by Stenier, Thomas and Green to even the set at 19-19. After falling behind 21-20, a kill by Rivers and an ace by Green gave Alabama a one-point lead (22-21). After back to back serving error by each team, Alabama had a 23-22 advantage only to see the Huskies run off three straight points, thanks to a pair of hitting errors by the Tide, to close out the set.

    After making a setter change in the third set, Alabama fell behind early and never got back in the set. Houston Baptiste led 17-11 following a UA hitting error. Alabama didn’t quit and closed the deficit to 20-22, but HBU scored the final three points of the set for a 25-20 win, closing out the Tide in straight sets.  

    Alabama Volleyball Defeats Florida International 3-0 in FIU Classic

    Miami, Fla. – In their second match of the FIU Classic, the Alabama volleyball team posted a 3-0 (25-14-25-21, 25-23) win over the Florida International Panthers on Friday afternoon from the U.S. Century Bank Arena. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 3-2 on the season, while the Panthers fall to 2-3.  

    Laura Steiner and Brittany Thomas led the Crimson Tide with 10 kills each and Krystal Rivers added nine kills and led the team with a .312 (9-4/16) hitting percentage. Sierra Wilson had 31 assists to go along with eight digs and Caitlin Bernardin paced the Tide with 10 digs.

    As a team, UA posted a .214 hitting percentage while limiting the Panthers to a .109 hitting mark. Alabama held FIU’s leading hitter Ksenia Sukhareva to four kills and a -.087 hitting percentage for the match. Sukhareva came into the match with a .260 hitting percentage while averaging 3.80 kills per set.

    Alabama took the first set 25-14 behind six kills from Steiner. With the Tide leading 12-10, Alabama went on a 5-1 run to open a 17-11 lead, and then closed the set with an 8-3 run. Alabama held the Panthers to a .086 hitting percentage in the first set.

    The Tide hit .257 in the second set, connecting on 13 kills with just four errors while holding the Panthers to a .100 hitting mark. With Alabama leading 22-20 late in the set, UA got kills by Andrea McQuaid and Rivers for set point, then after a service error by the Tide, FIU served into the net for set-point, giving the Tide a 25-21 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.

    Alabama led 19-15 in the third set, but after a FIU timeout the Panthers won seven of the next nine points to take a 22-21 lead. After trading points, Alabama rallied for the final three points of the set thanks to a kill by Steiner and a pair of setting errors by the FIU, for a 25-23 set victory.

    Alabama will return to the court at U.S. Century Bank Arena on Saturday when they take on the UNC Wilmington Seahawks at 11 a.m. CT. Alabama is 1-1 in the tournament after opening the event with a 3-0 loss to Houston Baptist on Friday morning.

    Bulldogs Take Care Of Business Against UT-Arlington In 3-1 Win

    WACO, Texas – Facing its first road test of the season, the Mississippi State volleyball team (3-2) claimed a 3-1 victory against the UT-Arlington Mavericks (3-2) in the opening match of the Baylor Classic.

    “We started a little sluggish,” fifth-year MSU coach Jenny Hazelwood said. “I was proud of our young team’s maturity to put the first set behind them, refocus and win the next three. Playing a road match for the first time is always an adjustment for freshmen, but I though we handled it well and look forward to facing Tulsa and Baylor tomorrow.”

    The Bulldogs stumbled out of the gate as they couldn’t get anything going and dropped the first set 25-23. MSU outhit UTA .351 to .316 but four Maverick blocks proved to be the difference. State managed to tie the first game 18 times but failed to ever gain control.

    UTA would again jump out to an early 5-2 lead in the second set but a 7-2 run ignited by back-to-back kills from freshmen Kimmy Gardiner and Brooke Sassin gave the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish. The Bulldogs held the Mavericks to a .037 hitting percentage during the second set to win 25-17.

    Behind a .438 hitting percentage in the third set, State kept rolling as it sprinted out to a 10-4 lead and never looked back. Chelsea Duhs registered five of her 10 kills with a .714 hitting parentage for the third stanza. Most importantly, the Bulldogs had four of their five blocks in the set and out-blocked the Mavericks four to two.

    UT-Arlington kept battling in the fourth set to keep the match alive, but Mississippi State held the momentum and pulled out a 25-20 victory. Sassin stole the show with five kills of her own, while Taylor Scott and Gardiner added three each.

    After being out-blocked four to none in the first set, the Bulldogs registered five blocks the Mavericks four over the final three sets.

    Gardiner recorded her second-career double-double with 18 kills and 11 digs. Scott and Sassin added 13 kills each. Freshman setter Suzanne Horner recorded 51 assists while Roxanne McVey had 23 digs. Gabby Litwin also added 10 digs.

    The Bulldogs will face Tulsa in the first game of a doubleheader at 12:30 p.m. Saturday before wrapping up the trip against Baylor at 7 p.m.

    Georgia Downs Southern Miss 3-0

    LINCOLN, Neb. – For the fourth time in as many matches, the University of Georgia volleyball team won its match in straight sets, as it handed the Southern Miss Golden Eagles a 3-0 (25-12, 25-22, 25-17) loss at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 4-0 on the season, while Southern Miss dropped to 2-2.

    Brittany Northcutt led the team with 11 kills, followed by Stacey Smith and Lauren Teknipp, who finished with nine kills each. Both Smith and Teknipp finished with an attack percentage over .400, as Smith went 9-for-12 with one error for an attack percentage of .667, while Teknipp finished 9-for-17 with one error for a hitting percentage of .471. Jasmine Eatmon and Elena Perri each finished with seven kills each. Kaylee Kehoe and Maggie Baumert paced the offense, finishing with 23 and 20 assists, respectively.

    On the defensive side of the court, the Bulldogs finished with six team blocks, led by Eatmon, Perri and Teknipp, who each finished with two blocks. Georgia has now out blocked its opponent in three of its four victories this season. Allison Summers led the Bulldogs in digs with 11.

    Georgia raced out to a commanding 7-2 lead in the first set and never looked back. On the service of Northcutt and with the help of kills by Smith, Tirah Le’au and Perri, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead that forced the Golden Eagles to call their first time out. Southern Miss made it a five-point set at 12-7 before a Northcutt kill sparked a 4-0 run that put the Bulldogs up 16-7. With Georgia leading 17-9, Eatmon registered a kill that helped the Bulldogs score eight of the final 12 points to take set one 25-12 and take a 1-0 lead in the match. During the run, Baumert was effective at the service line, serving four of Georgia’s final eight points.

    The Bulldogs took an early 7-4 lead in the second set, before Southern Miss put the set within two at 8-6. A block by Northcutt and Eatmon, paired with a kill by Chloe Buckendahl and a Perri block, allowed Georgia to extend its lead to five at 11-6, forcing the Golden Eagles to use their first timeout of the set. Southern Miss fought back to within three at 13-10 before a trio of Georgia kills put it in front 16-10. The teams traded points over the next several possessions, with Southern Miss coming within two at 22-20 with the help of three-straight kills. An attack error by Southern Miss gave the Bulldogs set point, at 24-20 before another Golden Eagle miscue sealed the 25-22 set two win for Georgia.

    The two teams kept the third set close through the opening possessions, as neither team was able to take more than a two point lead. With the scored tied at nine, Perri registered back-to-back kills that put the Bulldogs on top 11-9. Georgia strung together a 6-0 run, that included two kills each by both Perri and Northcutt and allowed Georgia to take a comfortable 17-10 lead. Southern Miss put together a run that brought it to within five at 20-14, but a Baumert service ace, a pair of Eatmon kills, a Golden Eagle attack error and a Northcutt kill gave Georgia the match with a 25-17 set three win.

    Georgia gets back in action tomorrow afternoon, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m., when it takes on No. 13 Nebraska. The match marks the first time this season that Georgia has faced an opponent that is ranked in the AVCA Top-25.

    LSU Volleyball Notches First Sweep of 2013 over Arkansas-Little Rock

    HOUSTON, TEXAS – The LSU volleyball team garnered a season’s best .385 hitting percentage and Malorie Pardo sparked a trio of hitters to double-digit kills as the Tigers secured their first sweep of the 2013 season over Arkansas-Little Rock [25-18, 25-12, 25-23] Friday to open day one of the Rice Invitational.

    LSU (4-0) won its first match of the young season away from the Maravich Center and improved to 3-0 all-time versus UALR (1-3).

    Pardo turned in a solid all-around effort with 43 assists, eight digs, four kills and two aces. The 43 assists enabled her to move past Luciana Santana (1992-95) for sixth place on the program’s all-time list.

    Cati Leak cranked a team-leading 13 kill on a .312 hitting ratio and added a match-high 13 digs to compile her fourth double-double in as many matches.

    “I thought Malorie did an unbelievable job and found the right swing for the right person,” head coach Fran Flory said. “At the same time, you have to credit our first-contact ball control. We were able to keep ourselves in system for a majority of the match. Cati had another solid match for us. If you asked her, I’m sure she would tell you that she didn’t play very well. She didn’t have those big kills but had a very efficient match for us. That’s the maturation process for Cati. She doesn’t have to be the power hitter. I thought she was very mature with her shot selection and found the open spots on the floor.”

    Briana Holman and Madi Mahaffey popped 10 kills apiece, while Emily Ehrle smacked nine kills to go along with three digs and two blocks. Khourtni Fears also came away with five kills and three blocks for the Purple & Gold.

    “When Madi goes out there and plays within herself, she’s an outstanding and efficient volleyball player,” Flory said. “Sometimes, she tries to be a little bit too physical or hit too sharp of a shot. I thought she had great poise and great demeanor about her in her play.”

    On the back row, Katie Lindelow registered 11 digs and three assists during her fourth straight start at the libero position. Laura Whalen also secured six scoops for the Tigers, and LSU converted on 44-of-55 sideout attempts for an impressive 80-percent clip.    

    Edina Begic hammered a match-high 16 kills and tacked on 11 digs for the Trojans. UALR also received nine kills from Sonja Milanovic.   

    LSU controlled the tempo from the outset of the opening set and built a 10-6 lead after Ehrle and Fears powered home back-to-back kills. The Trojans trimmed the deficit to 12-11 after a block, but the Tigers fired back with nine of the next 11 points to regain a comfortable 21-13 advantage. Lindelow provided a run of five consecutive points on her serve led by three Pardo second-contact kills. LSU tucked away the 25-18 win after forcing UALR into a hitting miscue.

    The Tigers put together a performance for the ages during the second set. LSU belted 20 kills on 26 swings with only one hitting error en route to sparkling .731 hitting percentage. The Tigers also converted on all 12 of their sideout attempts and won the frame going away by a 25-12 margin. Holman nailed kills on all seven of her swings, while Katarina Raicevic came off the bench and added two blocks.     

    “At one timeout during the second set, I looked at Briana and at Malorie and told them this is what you have do,” Flory said. “That second set was one of the few times as a coach that you draw it up on paper and you’re able to execute to perfection. It was a great performance from start to finish.”

    The third set featured six ties, but the Tigers never relinquished the lead. LSU held an 18-14 lead after a Mahaffey kill, but UALR rallied to knot the score at 20-20 after a four Begic kills and an ace. All square at 23-23, the Tigers used another Mahaffey spike and forced a Trojan hitting error to collect the 25-23 victory and complete the sweep.  

    “I was proud of the answer that we had late in the third set,” Flory said. “As you coach a team in the first couple of weekends of the season, you’re curious to see how they are going to respond in those pressure types of situations. I thought we took aggressive swings, and the best part is we’re not backing down. We’re not afraid to play to win and to take that big swing when the situation calls for it.”

    “We did very well of moving onto the next play when things didn’t go our way,” Pardo said. “We had some silly errors early but kept good composure through the entire match. That’s what really helped us be successful. Responding to their run in the third set will help us in future matches.”

    LSU finishes off Rice Invitational action Saturday versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Rice. First serve is on-tap for 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

    Wildcats Claw Back for Five-Set Win Over VCU

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 21st-ranked Kentucky volleyball team fended off two deficits for a thrilling comeback victory in five sets 3-2 (24-26, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19, 15-12) over visiting VCU to begin the eighth-annual Kentucky Classic in front of 1,439 fans in Memorial Coliseum on Friday night.

    The Wildcats faced set deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 before capturing the final two frames in dramatic fashion for the opening win of the home schedule. UK improves to 2-2 on the year, while VCU drops to 4-1 on the season.

    “First of all, VCU is a very good team,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “After seeing them on video this week as a coaching staff, we knew it was going to be a tough match. Regardless of what’s happened in the past, that’s a very capable team of winning a lot of matches this year and we were fortunate enough to come out on top after getting down 2-1. This week we made the plays at the end and were able to pull it out.”

    Kentucky returns to the hardwood for a pair of matches on Saturday. UK takes on Liberty at 11 a.m. and will conclude the weekend with East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. ET.

    Junior Lauren O’Conner paced the attack with a season-high 14 kills on .355 hitting. Senior Whitney Billings logged her fourth-consecutive double-double effort with 13 kills and 14 digs. Sophomore setter Morgan Bergren narrowly missed on a triple double with 36 assists, nine digs and seven kills. Sophomores Sara Schwarzwalder and Shelby Workman contributed nine and seven kills, respectively.  

    Leading the defensive charge was junior Jackie Napper with a season-best 19 digs. Bergren paced the effort at the net with a squad-high five blocks. O’Conner and senior Alexandra Morgan each chipped in with four apiece. Freshman Anni Thomasson had a team-high three service aces.

    In the decisive fifth frame, the Rams jumped in front by a 3-1 margin. UK raced back scoring the next two points as O’Conner sliced consecutive kills. The visitors would extend their advantage to 8-5 as the teams exchanged sides. However, Kentucky would utilize a 3-0 run highlighted by a block from the Bergren-Schwarzwalder tandem to even the score at eight apiece. VCU scored the next two points, before UK mounted a 4-0 run to grab a 12-10 edge. VCU would again respond and knot things at 12. However, the home team struck for the match’s final three points with Billings smacking a kill for the 15-12 victory.

    UK posted nine kills in the frame with O’Conner leading the charge with three. Napper and Billings each logged three digs in the set.

    “We challenged them a little bit (in sets four and five),” Skinner said. “You have to step up and you have to compete. It’s about competing, and VCU has great competitors on that team. They weren’t afraid of who we were or the environment or being on the road. They just competed, and we had to match that.”

    Kentucky trailed 2-1 and needed to capture a win in the fourth frame to extend the match. Feeling the support from the rowdy crowd the Blue and White struck for a 25-19 win. Kentucky notched 15 kills on a match-high .323 hitting clip. O’Conner was at her best with six hammers on .400 hitting to pace the attack. The set was highlighted by a 10-1 run to conclude the stanza for the home team. With Napper serving, UK struck for three kills and flustered the VCU attack into four errors. Morgan and Bergren teamed up for the set-clinching block.

    Kentucky quickly raced out to a 4-0 advantage to begin the second set and never looked back. UK had six blocks in the stanza with O’Conner turning in three rejections to lead all scorers. VCU was harassed into a negative .083 hitting percentage and committed 10 hitting errors as UK rallied to even the match at one set apiece into the break.

    VCU captured the opening set of the match by a 26-24 score as UK surrendered a five-point lead late in the stanza. The Rams logged a 25-20 third set win to go ahead 2-1 in the match, setting the stage for Kentucky’s comeback effort.

    Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. UK is one of four sites selected for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups with one team advancing to the Final Four in Seattle, Wash., from the Lexington Region. This marks the second time in three seasons Memorial Coliseum will host this premier volleyball event.

    Auburn Bounces Back, Beats Mercer 3-0

    AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's volleyball team got back on the winning track Friday afternoon with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-10, 25-14) sweep of Mercer at the Student Activities Center to open day two of the Active Ankle Challenge.

    The Tigers (5-1) put together an all-around solid offensive and defensive effort, dominating the Bears (1-5) in all statistical categories. Auburn hit .450 as a team (42 kills, 6 errors, 80 digs), which ranks as the 11th-best single-match hitting percentage in program history.

    "I thought we did a much better job of organizing our defense," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "Yesterday (against Green Bay), I thought we were chasing the whole way, both on the block and in the backcourt. Today I thought we were much better in terms of that organization, being able to play some simple defense behind a solid block."

    Senior Kathia Rud picked up her second double-double in as many matches with a 15-kill, 11-dig performance while hitting .522 on the day, leading the team in all three categories. Fellow senior Katherine Culwell posted 12 kills and fell just short of her own double-double, picking up nine digs.

    "We went to both our outside hitters quite a bit," Nold said, "probably more than what we really want to. We want to balance that offense a little bit. But they both did a great job. They were going against a double-block most of the time, but they took advantage of their opportunities."

    Freshman Emily Klitzke, making her first career start, had six kills and three blocks, and senior Camila Jersonsky was the team's leading blocker with five. Senior Chelsea Wintzinger led the way with 19 assists, and libero Sarah Wroblicky had 10 digs.

    Auburn had 42 kills to Mercer's 28, 39 digs to the Bears' 25, and eight blocks while Mercer had none. The Tigers also held the Bears to a .153 hitting percentage. Auburn also recorded six service aces with two each from Wintzinger and Stephanie Campbell.

    Molly Locke led Mercer with 10 kills, and Carly Iannarino had 25 assists.

    All three sets saw Auburn make big runs midway through the game to take insurmountable leads. In the first set, Auburn put together a 7-0 run to extend an early lead to 14-4, and Mercer would get no closer than six points the rest of the way as Auburn won it 25-16. Six kills from Rud and five from Culwell led the way as the Tigers hit .441 in the set with 17 kills and just two errors.

    Set two was more of the same as Auburn went on a 15-2 run to sprint to a 25-10 win and a two-set lead in the match. Mercer was held to an .034 hitting percentage in set two as the Tigers held the Bears to six kills and forced five errors, three coming on Auburn blocks. The service game was key as well - Auburn had four aces in the set while Mercer was the victim of five service errors.

    Auburn put the match away with a 25-14 win in set three that saw the Tigers hit .571 with 14 kills and two errors on just 21 swings. Rud had six more kills in the set, and the Tigers racked up four more blocks as a 10-2 run midway through put the match out of reach.

    The Tigers will be back on the floor at the Student Activities Center at 7 p.m. tonight as they face Troy in the final match of the Active Ankle Challenge.

    Mizzou Wins Four-Set Thriller at Yale

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Mizzou volleyball team got perhaps its toughest win of the season so far as it defeated three-time defending Ivy League Champion Yale, 3-1 (25-23, 15-25, 25-19, 25-20), on Friday night (Sept. 6) in its first match of the Yale Invitational. The win improves Mizzou to 6-0 on the season and 2-0 on the road after its win at Fairfield on Thursday.

    Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) anchored a great Mizzou offense that hit .336 on the night with 57 kills. Kreklow spread the ball to six different attackers and four of those six finished in double-figures. Of the four to finish in double figures, none was more important to the Tigers on Friday than junior Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) who finished with 13 kills on .423 hitting as Yale had no answer for the 6-2 outside. Freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) was also sensational with a match-high 16 kills on .424 hitting while adding eight digs. All-SEC middle blocker Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) added 13 kills on just 19 attacks without an error and All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) had 13 kills and a team-high 13 digs. Yale hung tough with the Tigers, but in the end Mizzou just had too many options on offense, the most notable of which was Wilson who tallied 10 of her 13 kills in the final three sets.

    “This is a big win for us – Yale is a very good team and that was a very hard place to play,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “They were really clicking in the second and took it to us pretty good, but we showed great mental toughness to rally after that. We kept our composure and we had a lot of people step up and make plays when we needed them. That was a great win.”

    Aside from Kreklow’s setting (50 assists on 57 kills), the senior also led Mizzou with a team-high 13 digs, good for her second double-double of the season. Junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) added 11 more. Little led the team with three blocks as Mizzou finished with six in the match.

    Yale and the Tigers came out firing in front of a loud, raucous crowd at Lee Amphitheater and the two teams played very even until the serving of freshman Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) kept Yale out of system. After a block by Little and Henning, Thater served up and ace and Mizzou opened a 15-12 lead, forcing a Yale timeout. A big solo block from Little gave Mizzou its largest lead of the set at 19-14, but Yale rallied off seven of the next eight points and took a 21-20 lead. Kan tallied a big kill out of a timeout and Kreklow added an ace as Mizzou went back on top, 22-21, and Yale took the next two. But after a bad set by Yale, Wilson ended a long rally with a tip shot to space to give Mizzou set point. Henning then ended the frame with her fifth kill of the set, giving Mizzou a 25-23 win. Mizzou had 15 kills on .452 hitting in the first as Kreklow assisted on 14 of 15 kills.

    Yale jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second and kept that cushion throughout, despite several Tiger rallies and ran away with the set, 25-15. Mizzou had just 10 kills in the set as Yale countered with 16. The loss was the worst of the early season for the Tigers, but they responded in the third thanks in large part to Wilson who had five kills and gave Mizzou another huge weapon. In fact, her hitting helped Mizzou to a 25-19 set win as through three, she had nine kills on just 18 swings. Kan had 13 kills through three on .440 hitting. The Tigers had 17 kills on .400 hitting in the third.

    Wilson continued to carry the Tigers in the fourth set as they pulled away late to a 25-20 set win. Wilson added four more kills in the final frame and pitched in a huge solo block as Yale was making a run late in the set. The win improves Mizzou to 6-0 on the season and 2-0 on the road.  After Yale hit .400 in the first two sets, Mizzou held Yale to .209 hitting and hit .400 in each of the final two sets behind the setting of Kreklow.

    The Tigers will play Seton Hall and Colgate tomorrow as they wrap up play in the Yale Invitational.

    Gamecocks Fall in Five Sets at Clemson

    CLEMSON, S.C. — Despite a career-high 30 kills from senior outside hitter Juliette Thévenin, the South Carolina volleyball team lost a hard-fought match to rival Clemson on Friday night at Jervey Gymnasium in five sets by the scores of 25-22, 20-25, 21-25, 25-20 and 9-15.

    With the loss, the Gamecocks fall to 3-1 on the season. The Tigers even their record at 2-2.

    Thévenin recorded her first double-double of the season as she added 10 digs to go along with her 30 kills. She also moved to sixth on the Gamecocks’ career kills list with 1,193. Sophomore Darian Dozier added 11 kills while hitting .391. She also recorded six digs and five block assists. Sophomore Sarah Blomgren tallied eight kills and three block assists, while sophomore setter Kellie McNeil dished out 54 assists and chipped in 10 digs, five kills and four block assists. Junior Michaela Christiaansen finished the night with a match-high 19 digs.

    As a team, South Carolina hit .241 on the night, while the Tigers finished with a .250 hitting percentage.

    Senior outside hitter Moneshia Simmons led four Tigers in double figure kills with 23, while Leah Perri (13), Karis Watson (10) and Beta Dumancic (10) also had double digit kills. Setter Hannah Brenner tallied 56 assists and 19 digs in the win.

    The Gamecocks came out strong early in the first set, building a 9-4 lead behind a pair of kills from freshman Dessaa Legros. South Carolina extended its lead to 12-5 before the Tigers went on an 11-4 run to tie the match at 16. The teams battled through five ties and two lead changes before the Gamecocks took the lead for good at 22-21 on a Clemson service error. Legros later clinched a 25-22 set win after putting down an overpass for a kill. As a team, South Carolina outhit Clemson .295 to .174 for the set.

    Clemson built an early 4-1 lead in the second set, but the Gamecocks fought back to later tie the match at 9-9 on a kill by Blomgren. The teams went back and forth through three more ties, with the last being at 14-14 after a Tiger attack error. Clemson then closed out the set with an 11-6 run to even the match at 1-1.

    The third set proved to be just as close as there were eight ties and four lead changes. The Gamecocks held a 16-14 lead late in the frame, but Clemson scored four straight points to take the lead for good on its way to a 25-21 win.

    South Carolina evened the match up with its best effort of the night in the fourth set. The Gamecocks hit .410 as a team and received nine kills from Thévenin. With the score tied 6-6 early in the frame, sophomore Elizabeth Johnbull delivered a kill to spark the Gamecocks and give them a lead they would not relinquish. South Carolina built its biggest lead of the set at 20-14 after Dozier slammed the ball down in Tiger territory. Clemson was unable to pull closer than four points the rest of the way.

    Clemson scored first in the fifth set and never trailed as it jumped out to a 10-4 lead. The Gamecocks were able to pull within four points at 13-9 on a Tiger attack error, but Clemson scored the next two points to win the match.

    South Carolina returns to action on Saturday with two matches on the schedule. The Gamecocks will face Furman at noon and Winthrop at 4 p.m. at Jervey Gymnasium.

    Auburn Wraps up Tournament with 3-1 Win over Troy

    AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn made it a sweep of Friday's action at the Active Ankle Challenge with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-15, 25-13, 25-22) win over Troy at the Student Activities Center.

    The Tigers (6-1), who also knocked off Mercer earlier in the day, used a strong service game and a stellar offensive attack up the middle to hold off the Trojans (3-4) for the 15th consecutive time. Seniors Katherine Culwell and Sarah Wroblicky were named to the all-tournament team.

    "Troy's a really scrappy team, and they came out in the first set and put a lot of pressure on us," Nold said. "The thing I was really happy to see was that we kept learning how to defend them, making little changes and adjustments as the match went along. We were able to stay in our system and put a lot of pressure on them."

    Senior Camila Jersonsky had her best match of the season so far with a 14-kill, 7-block performance while hitting .591 with just one attack error. Culwell turned in her third double-double of the year with 11 kills and 17 digs, and Kathia Rud finished with 13 kills. Freshman Stephanie Campbell also had one of her best performances of the year, posting nine kills and five blocks.

    Auburn dominated all statistical categories, putting down 58 kills to Troy's 38, out-hitting the Trojans .204-.105, and recording 77 digs to Troy's 67. The Tigers also had eight service aces and nine blocks in the match.

    Troy was led by Cassie Hendricks, who had nine kills. Marija Zelenovic had seven kills and 17 digs, and all-tournament selection Kiah Cheatham had six blocks and four kills.

    The Tigers will return to action Monday night on the road at Jacksonville State. The match is set for a 6 p.m. start.

    UT Hands Bulldogs First Loss

    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Tennessee handed UNC Asheville its first loss of the season Friday afternoon as the Lady Vols claimed a 3-1 victory (16-25, 25-18, 25-21, 30-28) in the Country Inns & Suites Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn.

    Senior libero Ellen Mullins had another record-breaking afternoon as she scooped up 31 digs, the most in four sets in UT history during the 25-point rally scoring era. The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week had a UT record 28 digs in three sets (during the 25-point rally era) against Chattanooga Thursday night.

    Freshman Jamie Lea led the team with 23 kills, hitting at a .212 clip. Her 23 kills are the third-most in four sets in program history during the 25-point rally scoring era.

    Sophomore setter Lexi Dempsey dished out a career-best 47 assists with 14 digs for her second-straight double-double, and third this season. The Palm Springs, Calif., native had a team-leading three aces against the Bulldogs.

    UNC Asheville jumped to a 1-0 set lead over Tennessee as the Bulldogs won the first set, 25-16. Senior Whitney Heeres hit .500 with three kills, while Lea, Shealyn Kolosky and Ashley Mariani added two kills apiece.

    Lea set the tone in the second set, racking up 11 kills with no errors. She hit .579 while Dempsey handed out 13 helpers. As a team, the Lady Vols hit .306 during the second game.

    Tennessee trailed in the beginning of the third set, before a kill by Kolosky tied it up 14-14. Kolosky followed up with another kill and Mullins recorded a service ace to give the Lady Vols a 16-14 advantage. UT would continue to hold the lead for the rest of the set, taking it 25-21, and a 2-1 lead over the Bulldogs. Kolosky served up to aces, while Dempsey and sophomore Megan Hatcher added one service ace apiece to go along with Mullins' one ace.

    The two teams battled it out in the fourth set, as the squads were tied on 13 different occasions. UT went on to claim the set and match with a 30-28 win.

    Tennessee is now 9-0 all-time against the Bulldogs. UT competes in its third game of the Country Inns & Suites Invitational at 10 a.m. Saturday when the Big Orange takes on UT Martin. The Lady Vols will cap off the tournament facing Charlotte at 6 p.m.

    Texas A&M Wins UTSA Classic

    SAN ANTONIO – Texas A&M senior setter Allie Sawatzky posted a triple-double and three other players tallied double figures in kills to lead the Aggies to a 25-22, 25-16, 16-25, 25-15 victory over UTSA tonight at the Convocation Center. With the win, A&M captures the UTSA Classic championship with a 3-0 record.

    Sawatzky finished the match with 10 kills, 48 assists and a career-high 16 digs to notch the third triple-double of her career. Senior libero Kelsey Kinley also had a career-high in digs with 23, and Sierra Patrick and Jazzmin Babers had career highs in kills with 21 and 10, respectively. Angela Lowak also reached double figures in kills with 11.

    It was the fourth consecutive win for the Aggies, who improve to 5-1 for the season. UTSA, which was 2-0 against the tournament field and was aiming to capture its own tournament title with a win against the Aggies, falls to 3-4.

    In the opening set, A&M used a 3-0 run to build its largest lead at 19-14. UTSA later went on a 6-1 run to tie the score at 21-21 before Patrick got a kill to the back corner and UTSA All-American outside hitter McKenzie Adams followed with an attack into the net to give the Aggies a 23-21 lead. The Roadrunners called a timeout and then got a kill by Daniella Villarreal to get within 23-22, but Patrick closed out the set, tipping the ball in for a kill and then blasting her eighth kill down the block for the clincher.

    The Aggies never trailed in the second set and Lowak posted back-to-back aces to quickly double up the Roadrunners, 12-6. Soon after, the Aggies erupted for five unanswered points with a barrage of kills by Shelby Sullivan and Patrick to take command. A&M continued to pull away and built its largest lead at 24-13, with an errant UTSA attack putting the Aggies at set point. The Roadrunners, who were outhit, .293 to .170 in the set, staved off two set points with a block and a back-row kill by Adams before Lowak put down a kill to end the set and give the Aggies a 2-0 lead in the match.

    The Roadrunners came back from the intermission and took their first lead of the match at 3-2. A&M twice tied the score but was unable to take the lead as UTSA went on a 4-0 run to build an 8-4 advantage. A&M never got closer than three points and was trailing 21-16 when the Roadrunners, who outhit A&M .389 to .250, reeled off four points to close out the set, 25-16.

    The Aggies got back in sync in the fourth set and used a 6-0 run to build an 11-4 lead. UTSA countered with a 4-1 run but was unable to get closer than four points for the remainder of the set. A&M continued to extend its lead, outhitting UTSA .333 to .216. Sullivan put the Aggies at set point, getting a kill off the block following a slide attack. UTSA then hit into the net for the final point.

    A&M outhit the Roadrunners .296 to .253 for the match and posted 66 kills to UTSA’s 53. Sawatzky, Lowak and Mariah Agre had two aces each to lead A&M to a 7-2 advantage in aces. The teams tied with 79 digs apiece, and UTSA led in blocks, 7-2

    The Aggies make their home season debut Thursday, Sept. 12, taking on Siena at 10:30 a.m. in the opener of the Texas A&M Invitational at Reed Arena. Other teams competing in the tournament are No. 7 Michigan, a NCAA Final Four team last season, and No. 15 Florida State, which reached the Final Four in 2011.