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MU volleyball takes a step in the wrong direction against Ole Miss

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Fans were sparse at Hearnes Center for the pink-out match between Missouri and Mississippi on Friday night, and with good reason.

Mississippi (14-5) topped Missouri (4-17) in three quick sets with scores of 25-17, 25-17, 25-20. The match lasted just under 90 minutes. The biggest excitement of the night came from Mississippi fans giving St. Louis native and Ursuline Academy alum Anna Bair a standing ovation for her team's win against her home state's school. Bair had seven kills and a block.

Missouri did not play well on any side of the ball, and Mississippi capitalized on the Tigers' mistakes. Missouri had 16 hitting errors, nine serving errors and a hitting percentage of only .176. Junior Anna Dixon led the way with 10 kills, and freshman Trista Strasser notched eight.

Missouri did not have a particularly strong defensive outing, but freshman Kaylee Cox had a team-leading nine digs. Freshman middle blocker Kayla Burbage is still out with an injury, so redshirt senior Anna D'Cruz got the start. The Tigers set a 6-2 featuring graduate student Nicole Alford and freshman Addison Lyon.

The Tigers did not play with rhythm. In fact, they played like it was the first match of the season — awkward and unsure. Mississippi did not have to do anything special to come away with the win. The more-experienced Rebels ran a high-powered, quick-tempo offense, and Missouri could not keep up. Each set started out close until point 10 or 11 came around, and then the Tigers fell apart. Mississippi played well defensively, out-digging and out-blocking the Tigers.

Missouri has a point-scoring percentage of 23.2%, while Mississippi doubled that figure.

The Tigers will attempt to get back on track Saturday night, but they will need to play significantly better in order to beat Mississippi.

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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