The Mizzou volleyball team defeated fifth-seeded Northern Iowa, 3-2 (25-19, 17-25, 26-24, 26-28, 15-10), in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Friday night at McLeod Center. The win advances the Tigers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as they will play against Northwestern this afternoon.
The win for the Tigers over the fifth-seeded Panthers marks the highest national seed to lose in the first round since the NCAA began seeding teams back in 2000. The win also is its first five-set win in the NCAA Tournament in nine total tournament appearances.
Mizzou had been 0-5 in five-set matches in the NCAA Tournament before Friday. The win also improves Mizzou to 7-8 in NCAA Tournament play and 5-4 in the first round.
The win marks first time that Mizzou has knocked of a national seed in the first round of the tournament as was the Panthers’ first home loss of the season.
Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) was one of four players with 12 or more kills as she posted a team-high 22 kills. Senior libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) also pulled in 35 digs in the match, good for her second straight match with at least 35 digs.
The Tiger offense was in sync all night long and in the three sets that they won, the Tigers had just two attack errors in each. Aside from Ampudia, who had 22 kills on .224 hitting, Mizzou got a huge performance from Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.), who finished with 12 kills on a match-high .522 hitting with three blocks. Senior Julianna Klein(Keota, Iowa) and freshman Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) also pitched in 12 kills apiece.
Freshman setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) quarterbacked the Tiger offense with 56 assists, helping Mizzou hit .254 in the match. She spread the ball to seven different attackers in the match and finished with a career-best 18 digs for her 12th double-double of the season. Klein (12 kills, 12 digs) and Ampudia (22 kills, 17 digs) also had double-doubles in the match.
The Tiger back row shined in the match, pulling in 96 digs, a season-best. Vann anchored the back row with 35 digs while four others finished in double figures. Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) added 12 digs in the match as well to go along with the other four in double-figures.
Mizzou will play Northwestern this afternoon at 4 p.m. at the McLeod Center.