Molly Kreklow and Missouri dropped their Big 12 home opener to No. 11 Iowa State. (Photo by JJ Stankevitz)
For one set, everything seemed to be falling into place for the Missouri volleyball team. But after running out to an easy first set win, the Tigers dropped three straight, falling to the No. 11 Iowa State Cyclones, 3-1, on Saturday.
The loss drops Missouri to 9-3 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Iowa State improved to 8-2 (1-1) with the victory after losing to No. 4 Nebraska, 3-1, at Ames High School last Wednesday.
Missouri had an opportunity to make a statement against the 11th-ranked Cyclones, and they appeared ready to do so in the first set. The Tigers stormed out to a 7-0 lead, effectively closing out on blocks to keep Iowa State’s high-powered offense in check.
Missouri entered play on Saturday as the Big 12’s worst blocking team statistically, but the Tigers blocked better than they have in most of the previous few seasons as in taking the first set, 25-16. The nine-point differential was actually equal to the point differential of the Cyclones’ previous match, a 3-1 loss in Ames, Iowa, to No. 4 Nebraska on Wednesday. The Tigers outhit the Cyclones, .289 to .119, in the first set but were unable to sustain both numbers as the match continued.
Iowa State hit .367 and .370 in the second and third sets, respectively, as the Cyclones regained control of the match from the first point in the second set. The Tigers, meanwhile, lost their offensive rhythm. The Tigers hit under .100 in the final three sets, as Iowa State was able to block out on Missouri’s middle attacks, which had been so effective for the Tigers throughout the first 11 matches of the season. The missing middle threat disrupted the Tigers tempo, as the Cyclones took sets two through four, 25-15, 25-18, 25-19.
The Tigers play again on Wednesday against another nationally ranked opponent, as the No.8 Texas Longhorns make a visit to the Hearnes Center. First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m.