KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Mizzou Volleyball (20-4, 11-1 SEC) opened its two-match weekend road trip on Friday evening with a 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 25-20) victory over Tennessee. The Tigers earned their 20th victory of the year, marking their 10th 20-plus win season under Wayne Kreklow and Susan Kreklow (2000-pres.).
Friday's triumph also marked the 98th career win for the 2016 Mizzou senior class of Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.), Julia Towler (Blue Springs, Mo.), Carly Kan (Honolulu) and Alexa Ethridge (Lee's Summit, MO.). The Tiger quartet surpassed the 1980-83 and 2010-13 senior classes who accumulated 97 career victories.
Redshirt junior Melanie Crow (Wildwood, Mo.) finished with double-digit kills for the second consecutive match, as her 16 kills paced Mizzou's offense against the Volunteers. Kan was fantastic all-around again for the Tigers, recording her team-leading 10th double-double this season. Her 10 kills and 12 digs also marked her sixth double-double in SEC play this season.
The Tigers' offense came ready in the opening set, producing 13 kills on .423 hitting. Mizzou cruised to a 25-18 set triumph with the aid of six Tennessee service errors. Crow and sophomore Alyssa Munlyn (Suwanee, Ga.) each tallied a team-best four kills to pace Mizzou's attack.
Tennessee used strong serving and efficient hitting to build a demanding early lead in the second set. Mizzou trailed 18-13 late, as the Volunteers threatened with a quick set victory. The Tigers stormed back with a 9-2 scoring run to claim a 22-20 advantage. Tennessee ultimately rebounded with a 5-1 run to even the match at one set apiece.
Following an uncharacteristic blocking effort in the first set, Mizzou exploded for seven total blocks in the second set. Thater particularly stepped up her defense, posting five total blocks at the net.
The third set marked Mizzou's turn to open with a large scoring run, as it sped out to an early 8-2 advantage. Mizzou held a comfortable lead throughout and claimed a 25-17 set win over the Volunteers. The Tigers recorded 12 kills on .281 hitting to key their triumph, as Crow led the team with four kills in the set.
Mizzou continued to take advantage of poor Tennessee serving in the fourth and final set. Overall on Friday evening, the Volunteers suffered 17 service errors. The Tigers added two total blocks in the fourth set and finished with 11.0 total blocks overall. Mizzou has now produced double-digit blocks in seven of its past nine matches.
Mizzou closes its weekend road trip on Sunday, Nov. 6, at No. 18 Kentucky. First serve is set for 11 a.m. (CT) and the match will broadcast live on SEC Network. The Tigers will later have a week away from the court and return to action on Sunday, Nov. 13, at South Carolina. First serve in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled for 3 p.m. (CT).