TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - No. 9 Mizzou Volleyball opened its 2020 fall season Wednesday evening with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-19, 17-25, 28-26) victory against Alabama inside Foster Auditorium. After coasting through the first two sets, the Tigers dropped the third, but fought back even stronger in the fourth set to defeat the Crimson Tide.
In the first match of her second-year campaign as a Tiger, sophomore OH Kenna Sauer surpassed her previous single-match career-highs with nine kills and two total blocks. Defensively, freshman DS Emily Brown contributed 19 digs in her first collegiate appearance, marking the most by a first-year Tiger DS since 2013.
Also, in her Mizzou debut Wednesday, sophomore OH Anna Dixon secured 11 kills for the Tigers, recording the second-highest number of kills on the team.
Senior OH Kylie Deberg exploded with 22 kills for the Tigers, surpassing 1,000 kills for her storied black and gold career. She also posted a career-high six total blocks against the Crimson Tide, leading Mizzou's defensive efforts at the net.
#SHOWME TOP PERFORMERS AT ALABAMA
- Deberg: 22 kills on .367 hitting, 6 total blocks, 2 solo blocks
- Dixon: 11 kills
- Sauer: 9 kills, 2 total blocks
- Brown: 19 digs, 5 assists, 1 ace
- Tyanna Omazic: 7 kills, 5 total blocks, 3 digs
- Andrea Fuentes: 39 assists, 14 digs
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH JOSHUA TAYLOR
On Wednesday's fall opener in Tuscaloosa...
"First off, it was simply a great feeling to back in the gym and playing actual matches again. This team has had a long and nontraditional offseason and I'm very proud of all their efforts with training and practice. With both teams tonight, you could definitely see some rust and fatigue set in, which is definitely expected with such a long layoff from actual game action. I think we came out strong in sets one and two and did a lot of nice things. We had a little rut in set three and most of set four, but I was really pleased with the fight we showed and determination to close the match in extra points of the final set. We'll work on some things tomorrow at practice and be even better for our finale against Alabama."
- Following Wednesday's triumph, the Tigers have now been victorious in 13 consecutive season openers dating back to 2008.
- Mizzou improved to 12-3 all-time against Alabama following tonight's victory. The Tigers have claimed eight consecutive wins against the Crimson Tide dating back to 2015.
- Redshirt sophomore DS Erin Williamson, Dixon, Brown and redshirt junior Anna D'Cruz all made their Mizzou debuts Wednesday.
- Williamson produced seven digs in the back row, while D'Cruz tallied one kill, one assist and two total blocks at middle blocker. Williamson's seven digs shattered her previous single-match career-high, previously set a season ago at Arizona.
- Fuentes secured a double-double in the Tigers' season-opening victory. Her 14 digs were second-most on the team.
- Deberg, Dixon and Sauer keyed Mizzou's offensive attack, accounting for 79% of the team's kills (42 of 53 total kills).
The Tigers conclude their doubleheader against Alabama Thursday evening in Tuscaloosa. First serve is slated for 8:30 p.m. CT and the match will broadcast live on SEC Network.