Tigers Down Broncos in Three Games
Dec. 2, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - In the opening match of the NCAA First & Second Rounds hosted in Maples Pavilion Saturday evening, Missouri (18-12) defeated Santa Clara University (20-8) in three games to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Led by junior outside hitter Yang Na's 18 kills, the Tigers took out the Broncos 35-33, 30-24, 30-26 with senior outside hitter Jessica Vander Kooi chipping in with 12 kills. Junior libero Tatum Ailes was a terror on defense with a team-high 17 digs, while senior middle blocker Nicole Wilson pitched in a match-high seven blocks. For Santa Clara, junior middle blocker Anna Cmaylo had 17 kills, while outside hitters Brittany Lowe and Kim McGiven each contributed 11 kills each. Junior libero Caroline Walters finished the night two shy of her career high in digs, ending the match with 33 digs in the losing effort.
'The first game was pivotal for us,' said Missouri head coach Wayne Kreklow. 'Our travel situation made it a hard, but it was important to play well tonight. We played Santa Clara earlier in Austin and we knew they control the ball well. We knew it was going to be a battle.'
The first point of the match went to Santa Clara, as middle blocker Amanda Hantouli's attack went wide. Santa Clara took a quick three-point lead at 6-3, thanks to a blast from the left from McGiven and a block from Cmaylo and setter Crystal Matich. However, the Tigers were able to knot things up again at 6-6 on a Wilson kill and slowly pulled away from the Broncos. A Yang blast from the outside gave Missouri a 13-9 advantage, forcing Santa Clara head coach Jon Wallace to call a timeout to calm down his troops. Offensive contributions from middle blocker Megan Pura, McGiven, and Cmaylo, along with the outstanding defense of Walters, took the South Bay squad to within one point, although Missouri was able to build its lead back up to 18-14 on a block from Wilson and Vander Kooi. Consecutive double touches by Missouri again brought Santa Clara to within one and on the following play, a by Nicole Clarke kill evened things up at 18-18. The two teams traded points the rest of the match until Lowe's blast from the outside gave Santa Clara game point at 29-28. A Santa Clara service error to tied it up at 29-29 and both teams fended off game points until Wilson blocked an attack to give her team the 34-33 lead. A subsequent ace from Ailes gave Missouri the first game 35-33.
Missouri jumped out to a 4-2 lead behind consecutive errors from Santa Clara, though a Lowe kill brought the two teams even again at 4-4. Freshman outside hitter Lindsy Evans went on a serving tear to give the Broncos a 10-7 advantage, as her hard jump serve yielded three aces and caused the Tigers coaching staff to call a timeout. Coming out of the huddle, Missouri began to chip into Santa Clara's lead and eventually tied it up at 12-12 after a Yang kill. Both teams battled tough throughout the middle of the second game, exchanging points until an attack error by Cmaylo broke a 21-21 tie. Missouri then proceeded to reel off seven of the next nine points to take a commanding 29-23 lead. Two points later, another kill from Yang gave the Tigers the 30-24 game two triumph and a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.
As in the previous two games, both Missouri and Santa Clara fought tooth and nail for every point and no one was able to take more than a two-point lead for much of the opening moments of game three. A kill by Evans broke a 9-9 tie and propelled the Broncos on a three-point run, forcing the Tigers to take a timeout after a kill from Cmaylo gave her team the 13-9 lead. Missouri responded by scoring the next three points and eventually caught up at 15-15 after a bad set. From that point on, no one was able to take more than a one-point lead until the Tigers took a 25-22 advantage behind a kill from Vander Kooi and an ace from Ailes. Missouri was able to hang on for the game three victory and won 30-26 after Yang collected a block on the right side.
'All season we've gone through ups and downs,' said Vander Kooi. 'Tonight we didn't do anything special, but we were consistent. We had a smile on our faces.'
Missouri will meet the winner of tonight's match featuring host Stanford and visiting Sacramento State for a chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
GAME SCORES 1 2 3 TEAM RECORDSSanta Clara (0) 33 24 26 20-8Missouri (3) 35 30 30 18-12