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After an impressive 4-0 start, highlighted by a straight-set sweep over No. 14 Michigan, Missouri's volleyball team has made its 2019 debut in the AVCA Coaches poll. The Tigers are ranked No. 21.

Missouri received 280 votes, a sizable leap from the 63 they had in the previous poll. This is the first time the Tigers have been ranked this season, but they have come close in the two previous polls released so far, finishing as both the first and second team out the last two weeks.

The ranking was expected after a perfect 3-0 weekend at the Dayton Invitational. The Tigers only dropped two sets during their road trip to Dayton, and have only dropped three the entire season. Even more impressive, Missouri already has two true road wins — at Miami and Dayton, both 3-1 set victories.

The Tigers have been led by Kylie Deberg, a preseason All-SEC honoree who tallied 59 kills during the invitational’s three matches. As a team, the stats are just as dominant; Missouri combined for 158 kills on an outstanding .434 hitting over the weekend.

Much of the offensive success can be  attributed to Andrea Fuentes, who was awarded SEC Setter of the Week honors after accounting for 55 assists in the final match versus Northern Illinois. Fuentes has had at least 30 assists in every match so far.

The Tigers stayed focused behind interim head coach Joshua Taylor after dropping early sets against Miami and Dayton. Taylor still has yet to lose a match in his head coaching career. 

Missouri makes its home debut this weekend as it hosts the Mizzou Invitational at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers play a doubleheader on Friday, beginning with Austin Peay at 11 a.m. followed by Northern Iowa at 7 p.m. The invitational continues Saturday with a matchup against UMKC at 2 p.m. before the weekend concludes with a noon matchup against Boise State on Sunday.

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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