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    SEC Volleyball Today: Friday, November 22

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

     

    No. 4 Mizzou Wins School’s First-Ever SEC Championship

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – The No. 4 Mizzou volleyball team swept Mississippi State, 3-0 (25-19,25-16, 25-17) on Friday night (Nov. 22) at the Hearnes Center to clinch the program’s first-ever conference championship and the school’s first-ever SEC Championship since joining the league prior to last season. The Tigers improve to a national-best 32-0 and 16-0 in the SEC. The win earns Mizzou an automatic berth to next month’s NCAA Tournament, the 11th in 14 years under Wayne and Susan Kreklow. The win is also the 300th since the Kreklows took over the program in 2000. The match was played in front of a school-record 7,879 fans, breaking the previous mark of 7,298 set against Nebraska in 2005.

    “This is obviously pretty special and it is a really hard thing to do – to win a regular season conference championship,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “I think this all started last spring when the team, led my Molly and Lisa, really committed themselves to doing this. There was a lot of work in the summer, in the spring, and it is great for this to pay off. To be the first SEC Champion at Mizzou is really special, but this is just one of our goals for the year. We are going to enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow, it’s time to shift our attention to Kentucky, which is a very good team.”

    Fittingly, the Championship was sealed on a Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) set to two-time All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) for Henning’s 11th kill and Kreklow’s 39th assist on the night. The duo was sensational again on Friday as they have been all season. Henning led Mizzou with 11 kills on .346 hitting while Kreklow spread 39 assists to seven different attackers. She set the team to .327 in the win, the 27th time in 32 matches that Mizzou has hit better than .300 this season, a national-best. Their play is a big reason why Mizzou remains as one of just two unbeaten teams nationally with two matches left to play.

    Aside from the senior connection on Friday, a pair of freshmen made huge contributions in the win. Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) pitched in nine kills on .333 hitting while classmate Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) added seven kills on .600 hitting. Junior Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) also tallied eight kills and classmate Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) added five kills and a match-high five blocks as Mizzou out-blocked Mizzou, 9.0-5.0. Five Tigers finished with at least five kills.

    One of the huge differences in the match was Mizzou’s ability to terminate play as it hit .327 while limiting MSU to .122 hitting. A big key to that was Mizzou pulling in 53 digs, led by 18 from junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) and 16 more from Kan, who finished just shy of a double-double with nine kills. Freshman defensive specialist Loxley Keala (Honolulu, Hawaii) added eight digs in the win as well.

    In all, Mizzou was able to get reps for every player on the roster and the night culminated with a trophy presentation from the SEC Conference office, amidst confetti, fog and spotlights. The conference championship for the Tigers is the first regular season conference title at Mizzou since 2011 when Ehren Earleywine’s softball team claimed the Big 12.

    Mizzou will be back on the road on Sunday at No. 16 Kentucky as it looks to continue its unbeaten season. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.
     




    Late Set Rallies, Balance Leads No. 16 UK to Sweep of Aggies

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Late set rallies and balance all the way around propelled 16th-ranked Kentucky to an impressive 3-0 (26-24, 25-23, 26-24) sweep of visiting Texas A&M on Friday night in front of 1,592 fans in Memorial Coliseum. UK pushed past the visitors in each of the first and third sets, while three players registered double-figure kills and four more in double-figure digs. Senior Alexandra Morgan led the charge with 10 kills on .529 hitting while adding a squad-best eight blocks.
     
    “Our kids were better executing under pressure than we were at the beginning and middle of all three sets,” ninth-year UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “I’m proud of that. I’m not real thrilled about how many hitting errors we had, but we found a way to win against a team very hungry here at the end of the season. I’m very proud of Jessi Greenberg and Jackie (Napper) and Kelsey (Wolf) for making big-time defensive plays in the back row, and then of course Whitney (Billings) and Zan (Morgan), our seniors at the net making difference-making plays.

    “Every team we play from here on out is very good,” Skinner said. “And so you expect to be in sets after 20 in close games, and you’ve got to be comfortable being uncomfortable and we definitely were that night.”

    Senior Whitney Billings paced the offensive attack with a team-high 15 kills. She also added 10 digs for her 39th career double-double. Morgan and junior Lauren O’Conner joined her in double-figures with 10 kills apiece. Junior Jackie Napper tallied a team-high 17 digs. Freshman Kelsey Wolf added a career-high 12, with Billings and freshman Anni Thomasson reaching double-figures with 10 apiece.

    Kentucky improves to 21-6 overall and 13-3 in Southeastern Conference action following a win in its only matchup with Texas A&M this season. The Aggies drop to 16-11 overall and an even 8-8 mark in league competition. The Wildcats return home to face Missouri on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. The Tigers enter the contest undefeated for the season. It will also serve as UK’s Senior Day as the class of Whitney Billings Jessi Greenberg, Alexandra Morgan and Desirre Wilkerson will be honored prior to the start of the match.

    “There will be emotions flying everywhere,” Skinner said in anticipation of Senior Day. “It’s a good thing though. You can’t really anticipate what’ll happen the first part of the first set, but as long as we just keep our composure and stay focused and have tunnel vision through each point, we’ll give ourselves a great chance to be successful.”

    Thomasson and Schwarzwalder contributed five kills apiece, with Schwarzwalder also adding six blocks. Sophomore setter Morgan Bergren passed out 42 assists while also logging five kills of her own and five blocks. Senior Jessi Greenberg added four digs to aid the Wildcat cause.

    Already owning a 2-0 lead in the match, Kentucky rallied from a 23-21 deficit to claim a 26-24 third set win. UK scored five of the set’s final points to capture the sweep. Billings led the way with seven kills in the stanza on a smoking .545 hitting clip. Morgan added four hammers on an even more impressive .800 hitting percentage. Schwarzwalder had two blocks, while Napper came away with seven digs in the final frame.

    Billings and Morgan teamed up for a block to get the third set underway. The Aggies quickly pulled away for a two-point lead at 4-2. Three-straight kills from O’Conner and Morgan lifted the Cats to a 5-4 lead before the Aggies earned a kill of their own to begin another back-and-forth battle. A block from the tandem of Morgan and Schwarzwalder immediately flustered the Aggies into another mistake. O’Conner then smashed a kill and followed suit by teaming up with Bergren for the fourth block of the stanza to push UK to a 10-6 lead. The Aggies opted to burn an early timeout to attempt to stymie the Blue and White run.

    The Aggies were able to fight back to tie the score at 11 apiece, but Billings quickly put an end to the run with her 10th kill of the night. Propelled by Billings, the Wildcats kept the heat on eventually stretching the lead to as large as four at 16-12. The Aggies would utilize a 4-1 run to pull back to within one at 17-16 and the Wildcats opted to take their first timeout.

    Following the timeout, Bergren came up with a solo block to give UK back a two-point cushion. Sophomore Shelby Workman dueled at the net and won to lift UK to a three-point edge at 19-16. Texas A&M fired back to score the next five and take the lead at 21-19. Kentucky took its final timeout after the Aggies scored nine of the last 12 points.

    O’Conner came out of the timeout firing for her 10th kill of the night to end the Aggie run and pull UK back to within one. The Aggies scored the next two to grab a 23-21 edge before Billings’ kill ended the run. Wolf entered to serve up an ace to once again pull UK back to within one at 23-22 prompting an Aggie timeout. Billings fired away with a kill to tie the score at 23, but A&M answered for set point. Schwarzwalder responded to once again tie the score, this time at 24. Billings’ tooled the Aggies’ block for match-point Cats. Morgan and Billings teamed up for the match-clinching block to preserve the sweep following a 26-24 final set victory.

    “We went for it,” Skinner said in regards to the third set comeback. “We got down and Kelsey went back and served some tough balls and made some defensive plays. Morgan (Bergren) made some great decisions in transition to get kills. At that point in time, it’s about individual plays and staying within ourselves and our kids stepped up.”

    Morgan led the way in the opening set with five kills on .444 hitting to couple with five blocks en route to a 26-24 win for the home team. Billings added four kills and four digs, while Wolf secured seven digs. Kentucky charted 17 kills compared to just nine from the Aggies. The Blue and White committed 13 hitting errors enabling the visitors to remain in the set.

    Billings opened the match with a kill to the middle of the floor before Texas A&M responded with a pair of kills to take the lead. After an extended rally, Billings fired for her second kill of the set to tie the score once again. From there the teams would exchange points back-and-forth until back-to-back blocks with Morgan teaming up with O’Conner and Bergren gave UK a 6-4 lead.

    Texas A&M would eventually climb back into things and tie the score at nine. Schwarzwalder’ s second kill of the stanza ended the A&M run. The Aggies however, answered with a pair of kills of their own to take an 11-10 edge, but Thomasson scored with a kill to tie it back up at 11. Morgan and Billings teamed up for a block to reclaim the home team’s advantage. A 3-1 run by the visitors pushed the score to 14-12 in favor of Texas A&M forcing UK to take a timeout.

    Schwarzwalder broke a 17-17 tie with a magnificent solo block, but UK couldn’t capitalize on the momentum swing as the Aggies scored the next two points to reclaim a two-point edge. Schwarzwalder and Billings logged consecutive kills to knot the score once again, this time at 20. Thomasson and Bergren them teamed up for the sixth block of the set to give UK a 21-20 lead forcing Texas A&M into a timeout.

    The momentum shifted once again as the Aggies were able to capitalize on a couple of UK’s mistakes to earn a 23-22 lead. UK opted to use its final timeout to attempt to quell the run. Morgan came out firing out of the timeout to tie the score and a back-row attack charged to Texas A&M gave the Wildcats set point. The Aggies were able to save the set with a kill to the back row after a long rally was exchanged. Morgan again answered for Kentucky with her fifth kill of the set and O’Conner delivered with the set-clinching kill for a 26-24 win.

    In the second set, Kentucky overcame a late-set deficit at 23-22 to score the final three points off kills from O’Conner and Billings to go into the locker room with a 2-0 advantage. UK posted 17 kills with O’Conner leading the way with six in the frame. The Wildcats’ utilized a .261 hitting clip and O’Conner’s .455 bested the squad. Thomasson and Schwarzwalder paced the defensive effort with six digs and a trio of blocks, respectively.

    Billings once again opened play to begin the second frame with a kill by tooling the Aggies’ block. This time, however, Texas A&M scored the next three points to grab a 3-1 advantage before a service error spelled the run. A pair of blocks from O’Conner and Schwarzwalder propelled the Cats to an 8-7 lead before the Aggies recaptured the lead with four consecutive points forcing the Blue and White into a timeout.  

    Kentucky rallied back to tie the score at 14 apiece. The run was highlighted by a block from Morgan and Bergren and a kill from UK’s setter. The Aggies didn’t waste long in retaking the lead, however, immediately scoring on the next play. Billings answered with a thunderous kill from the back row to start a back and forth battle between the squads. Three straight kills from the home team pushed the lead back in favor of the Wildcats at 19-17 prompting a timeout from the visitors.

    Out of the break the Aggies fired back with two straight points to tie the score at 19 all. Thomasson took advantage of a one-on-one matchup to quiet the run. From there the teams would trade points until UK shook loose for back-to-back kills from O’Conner and Billings to lift the home team to set point at 24-23. Texas A&M used its final timeout to attempt to regroup. The break couldn’t stop the momentum swing as O’Conner quickly laced the set-clinching kill off the Aggie block for a 2-0 lead into the break.

    Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum will play host to the NCAA Regionals Dec. 13-14. The regional will get underway Dec. 13, with semifinal contests at 5 and 7 p.m. ET, while the regional final will commence Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. 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. Tickets for the event are available now at UKathletics.com/tickets.






    Auburn Volleyball Sprints Past Tennessee, 3-0

    AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn hit for its second-best percentage in an SEC match this year and used a strong service game to earn a 3-0 sweep of Tennessee (25-14, 25-7, 25-16) Friday night at Auburn Arena.

    The Tigers (18-10, 9-7 SEC), with their ninth SEC win, guaranteed a .500 or better record in league play for the second time in the last four years. It also marked Auburn's first time to beat Tennessee (9-21, 1-15 SEC) twice in the same season since 1994.

    "I think we did a great job keeping them off-balance with our serve and maintaining our defensive system," Auburn head coach Rick Nold said. "We were able to get some good opportunities in transition and took advanage of them."

    Katherine Culwell led the way for the Tigers with 10 kills, 11 digs and a career-high seven service aces on the night. It marked the most aces in a single match for Auburn since Maira Mogollon had seven against Delaware State in 2003 and ties the Auburn rally scoring-era record.

    "Kat played well in a lot of different areas," Nold said. "I thought we passed the ball well and had a good balance offensively. Courtney (McDonald) stepped up and had a big night, too."

    McDonald had eight kills on 12 error-free swings for a .667 hitting percentage, one kill shy of her season-high. Auburn's other middle, Camila Jersonsky, was strong on the defensive end with a team-best six blocks along with five kills. Kathia Rud also added eight kills.

    Chelsea Wintzinger and Alyssa Ivey shared the team lead with 16 assists each, and Wintzinger picked up her 11th double-double of the year with 11 digs as well.

    Tennessee was led by Jamie Lea, Raina Hembry and Ashley Mariani with five kills each.

    Auburn outhit Tennessee .311 to .019, the lowest hitting percentage by an Auburn opponent this season. The Tigers had 43 kills to the Lady Vols' 23, nine service aces to Tennessee's one, and out-blocked the Lady Vols, 8-3.

    The Tigers went on big runs in each of the first two sets and never trailed after the opening point of the match. Auburn jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the first set before Tennessee closed the gap, but UT never got closer than eight points the rest of the way as Auburn won the opening game, 25-14. Set two saw Auburn hold the Lady Vols to a -.154 hitting percentage and put together four runs of four-straight points or more, sprinting to a 25-7 win.

    Tennessee hung closer in the third set, but a 6-0 run midway through the set that included three aces from Culwell gave Auburn a 19-9 lead, all but sealing the victory.

    The Tigers will wrap up the 2013 home schedule Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. as the Ole Miss Rebels visit Auburn Arena. Admission is free for all home Auburn volleyball matches. Auburn's six seniors - Katherine Culwell, Camila Jersonsky, Courtney McDonald, Kathia Rud, Chelsea Wintzinger and Sarah Wroblicky - will be honored prior to the match.






    Senior Sweep: No. 7 Gator Volleyball Sweeps LSU in Regular-Season Home Finale on Senior Night

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Friday night in the O’Connell Center was all about Gator volleyball seniors Taylor Brauneis and Chloe Mann, as a crowd of 2,626 celebrated the duo’s contributions to the Florida program in a pre-match ceremony prior to UF’s sweep against LSU (25-16, 25-19, 25-20) in the Gators’ regular-season home finale.

    Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Mallette turned in a career night with 15 kills and her third-best hitting efficiency of the season (.458), while Mann was a monster, registering her second-highest hitting percentage of the conference season (.714) with 10 errorless kills. For Mann, Friday marked her ninth SEC match with in double-digit slams, thanks in part to Brauneis’, who dished up 39 assists, her most since Nov. 3 at Texas A&M.






    Arkansas Gets Straight-Set Win Over South Carolina

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team swept South Carolina (25-13, 25-21, 25-14) Friday evening at Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks posted a .374 hitting percentage as a team and had six different players finish the match with at least five kills, paced by a match-high 12 kills from junior Meredith Hays. With the win, Arkansas improves to 15-12 overall and 8-8 in Southeastern Conference play.

    In addition to the output from Hays, the Razorbacks’ balanced offensive attack featured eight kills from Barbara Dapic and Ana Sofia Jusino, seven from Savannah Voelzke, six from Danielle Harbin and five from Raymariely Santos. Arkansas’ .374 hitting percentage is its second highest of the conference season. In back-to-back home matches, the Razorbacks are hitting .402; the team registered a .434 mark in its previous home match Nov. 3 against Ole Miss.

    Defensively, senior libero Emily Helm had a match-high 15 digs including eight in the final frame, her 30th set of the year—and 20th of the conference season—with at least six digs. With the effort, she inches closer to the No. 10 spot of 966 on the program’s career digs list and is now just 20 shy of the figure. At the net, the Razorbacks had 14.0 total team blocks and were led by six each from Harbin and Jusino; Dapic added five blocks. Collectively, the Arkansas defense held the Gamecocks to a .109 hitting percentage.

    With the score tied at 7-all in the first set, the Razorbacks used a six-point run to take control of the opener. The lead reached double digits at 22-12 after a tandem block by Harbin and Voelzke. Back-to-back attack errors by South Carolina (12-17, 3-13 SEC) handed the set to Arkansas. In the second, the Razorbacks led by as many as seven points before the visitors cut their lead to 22-20 late in the set. Arkansas steadied to win three of the last four points to go into intermission with a 2-0 match lead.

    The Razorbacks jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the third game after consecutive service aces from Hays and held the advantage for the remainder of the match. Arkansas turned a two-point lead into a 20-12 advantage behind a surge that saw the home team win 10 of 14 points. With the win in sight, the Razorbacks reeled off the final four points to seal the set and secure the sweep.

    The Razorbacks close out their 2013 home schedule Sunday afternoon with a match against Mississippi State. First serve at Barnhill Arena is set for 1:30 p.m. (CT). Prior to the match, Arkansas’ six-player senior class of Helm, Santos, Hayley Koop, Avery Lewis, Clarissa Pavey and Ashley Vazquez will be recognized for their respective careers.
     




    Alabama Volleyball Sweeps Ole Miss for 22nd Win of the Season

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Brittany Thomas paced the Alabama volleyball team with 15 kills and nine digs, as the Crimson Tide posted a 3-0 (32-30, 25-19, 25-22) Southeastern Conference victory over the Ole Miss Rebels on Friday night from Foster Auditorium. With the win Alabama improves to 22-8 overall and 9-6 in SEC play. The Rebels fall to 13-16 overall, 3-13 in conference action.

    The final home match of the season will have the Tennessee Lady Vols at Foster Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 24. The match will be televised on CSS, with first serve slated for 1 p.m. CT. The Tennessee match will be the final two home matches for seniors Andrea McQuaid and Kelsey Melito. Alabama will honor the seniors in a ceremony prior to the start of the match.

    Brittany Thomas notched her 20th double digit kills match of the season as she led all players with 15. Thomas posted a .324 hitting percentage, committing just four errors on 34 swings.

    After a tough time in matches against South Carolina and Florida last week, Krystal Rivers returned to form, collecting 12 kills with a .296 hitting percentage against the Rebels. The 12 kills marked Rivers’ team-leading 21st double-digit kills match of the season. Rivers added seven total blocks, recording four solos and three assisted blocks and had a career-high six digs. With her four solo blocks, Rivers now equals Mavis Reed’s 1992 season total of 34 for the fifth best total in a single season at Alabama.

    Sierra Wilson dished out 43 assists to set a new season-high for a three-set match, bringing her season assists total to 1,281, 12 shy of her 2012 total. Wilson has 2,573 assists in her career and is now 14 assists behind Bridget Studnicka for fifth in school history. Laura Steiner and Katherine White chipped in with six each, while Kryssi Daniels tied Thomas for team-high honors with nine digs, and Bria Green had eight digs and a pair of kills

    En route to the team’s ninth straight sets victory, Alabama out-hit the Rebels .206 to .126. Alabama committed a total of 24 hitting errors in the match, as Ole Miss collected seven blocks. The Tide had nine blocks, forcing the Rebels into 21 hitting errors. The Crimson Tide out-dug the Rebels 47-41, while Bama had four aces compared to none for Ole Miss.  

    Nakeyta Clair paced the Rebels with 13 kills, as the sophomore middle blocker hit .360 in the match. Clair was the only player to reach double figures in kills for Ole Miss. Cara Fisher had a match-high 12 digs and Kara Morgan added 10 digs.

    Alabama came from behind to win the first set 32-30. With the Tide trailing 21-19, Alabama went on a 3-0 run to take its first lead of the set at 22-21 after a kill by Steiner. Ole Miss held set-point at 24-23 after three straight points, but Alabama responded with a kill by Wilson and a Rebels error for a 25-24 lead. The lead traded hands three more times before the Tide got back-to-back kills from Steiner to put the set away.

    With the Rebels holding an 18-16 lead in the second set, Bama closed the set with a 9-1 run for a 25-19 win for a 2-0 lead in the match. The Tide scored five straight points thanks to a kill and two blocks Rivers and two kills by Thomas. A kill by Ole Miss’ Clair stalled the run, but the Tide closed the set with four straight points on a Rivers’ block, a Thomas kill and back-to-back kills by White.  

    Alabama held on to win a very sloppy third set, as the Tide committed 10 hitting errors with four errors from the service line, finishing the set with a .111 hitting percentage. Bama held a 23-22 lead late and got a block by White and a kill by Green to end the match.

    Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaVBall on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.