COLUMBIA, Mo. -- No. 18 Mizzou Volleyball (26-5) advanced to the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament on Thursday, sweeping Northern Illinois (25-16, 25-13, 25-20) in straight sets. The Tigers' outstanding .404 team hitting percentage tonight marked the program's second-highest hitting output in NCAA Tournament history. Mizzou's top NCAA hitting performance (.505) occurred on Dec. 3, 2005, against Arkansas in Mid-Missouri.
The Tigers' offense was clicking from the get-go, as junior Courtney Eckenrode (The Woodlands, Texas) turned in a stellar performance at setter. Eckenrode finished with 38 assists, while four Tigers recorded six-plus kills on the evening. Mizzou's attack against the Huskies marked its fifth .400-plus team hitting percentage this season.
Redshirt junior Melanie Crow (Wildwood, Mo.) was fantastic as an all-around player Thursday, recording a team-high 17 kills on .351 hitting and four service aces. Crow's 17 strikes marked her most kills in a three-set match this season. Additionally, it marked her fifth match with four-plus aces this year. Crow now sits with 47 total aces in her junior campaign, ranking T-7th-most in a single season in program history.
Senior Carly Kan (Honolulu) produced her team-leading 13th double-double this season with 10 kills on .280 hitting plus 14 digs. It marked Kan's third career double-double in NCAA Tournament action and the 28th all-time double-double by a Tiger in NCAA postseason play.
Senior Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.), sophomore Alyssa Munlyn (Suwanee, Ga.) and redshirt junior Kira Larson (Fargo, N.D.) rounded up Mizzou's impressive offensive display. Thater tallied five kills on .556 hitting, Munlyn posted six kills on .500 hitting and Larson recorded eight kills on .438 hitting.
Mizzou earned its 26th overall victory this season with its triumph against Northern Illinois, placing T-6th most wins in a single season in program history. Furthermore, Thursday evening marked the Tigers' first victory in their all-time series against the Huskies.