In a very sloppy game, Missouri made more of a mess on its way to a four-set loss (21-25, 21-25, 25-16, 22-25) against Texas A&M in College Station on Sunday.
A multitude of mistakes were committed by both teams. A total of 58 errors were made, 28 of those by the Tigers. Missouri came out in the first set and looked unorganized. The Tigers weren’t communicating well on defense and two of Missouri’s best hitters, Kylie Deberg and Leketor Member-Meneh, had a combined 17 total errors.
Member-Meneh struggled to attack all day long, finishing the day with a hitting percentage of just .053. She also committed two service errors. Deberg was a little more efficient, recording 14 kills, but only on a .171 percentage. Deberg came into the match averaging over five kills a set, but finished today averaging under three. With two bad offensive performances from two of its offensive leaders, Missouri stood no chance.
Missouri struggled from the beginning. As a team the Tigers hit just .119 in the first set, followed by a dismal .088 in the second set. Missouri was essentially trading every kill with an error, gifting the Aggies 17 free points in the first two sets alone. Texas A&M finished the first set on an 11-2 run, and followed it up with a 13-7 run to close out the second set, taking away any sort of positive momentum from the Tigers.
"Today was frustrating for sure,” interim head coach Joshua Taylor said. “Starting in that opening set where we took command midway through, but couldn't close it out, it was a sign of things to come in the three sets we dropped.
The Missouri defense was able to handle the Texas A&M attack quite well though, forcing the Aggies into many errors as well. The Aggies hit .235 in the first set and .107 in the second, but committed three less attack errors, which was the difference.
Missouri has had this problem before. When the team starts making mistakes, it tends to snowball, making more and more until it eventually loses the set. Coach Taylor has emphasized the importance of the teams confidence during the rough patches, but no signs of confidence were evident during the teams trip to College Station.
Missouri did play well in the third set though, making only made two attacks errors and hitting a match best .429. It was the only set where the Tigers hit above .285, and in turn the only one they won. However, the success didn’t last long. Missouri came out in the fourth set and made seven total errors, the key difference in the Aggies three point set win.
“I was pleased with how we competed tough in all four sets, but we have to dig deep and find a way to close things out against good teams like Texas A&M,” Taylor said. “You can't give teams like them any second life."
The two best performances were from Tyanna Omazic and Kayla Caffey. Omazic had eight kills on .438 hitting while also adding two aces and four digs. Coffey had six total blocks and eight kills while hitting .467. These were the only Missouri players to hit above .270 in the match.
The loss was the Tigers’ second straight and drops Missouri to 14-6 on the year and 6-4 in the SEC. The Tigers now sit in a tie for fifth place with South Carolina in the SEC standings.
Missouri continues its road trip with a match against Alabama at 7 p.m. on Friday in Tuscaloosa.