Story by Eric Short
Photos by Karen Mitchell
Whitney Little gets a solo block against Ole Miss Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012 at the Hearnes Center. Missouri beat Ole Miss in three straight games.
The Missouri volleyball team remained undefeated in SEC play after defeating Ole Miss in straight sets, 25-17, 25-19 and 25-18 Sunday afternoon at the Hearnes Center in Columbia. With the win the Tigers improve to 10-2 on the season and 2-0 in SEC play.
Coming off Wednesday’s stunning five set comeback victory over No. 17 Tennessee, the Tigers showed the same intensity against the Rebels that helped them knock off the Volunteers.
Sophomore middle blocker Whitney Little led the Tigers as she took advantage of the Rebel’s weak side left blocking time and time again on her way to a season high .722 hitting percentage.
Little’s 13 kills were tied for a match high with junior outside hitter Lisa Henning. Little said that she was having a little competition with herself to see if she could match Henning’s number of kills.
“I tried not to look at the stats on the scoreboard but sometimes I can’t avoid looking up there,” Little said. “I saw that me and Lisa were close so I decided to make it a little game, like, ‘Can I beat Lisa in kills?’”
Henning had 13 kills on .312 hitting. Sophomore Taylor Simpson had nine kills on .500 hitting.
There were times when Little and Henning were nearly unstoppable as the two repeatedly powered balls over and through Ole Miss’ blockers.
Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow said he knew that going into the match that the Rebels’ left side blocking was a weakness that they had to exploit.
“Whitney’s best swing is a slide from the left side,” Kreklow said. “ We knew that their weakness on that side was something we had to take advantage of.”
All of the blocking problems that plagued the Rebels were absent from the Tiger’s front line. After recording six total team blocks on Sunday, the Tigers have now recorded six or more blocks in 10 of their last 12 matches.
Sophomore Taylor Simpson helped anchor the Tigers defense, tallying up two blocks to go along with her nine kills.
Simpson credited the team’s success with the high intensity atmosphere of the Tiger’s practices.
“It’s a lot of repetition and we really focus hard on all our drills,” Simpson said. “We were super focused coming into this game.”
Up next for the Tigers will be their first SEC road trip, starting with a game at Florida on Friday, Sept. 21 and LSU on Sunday, Sept. 23.
Information from MU Athletics was used in this story.