COLUMBIA, Mo. – Northwestern State fell in straight sets on Saturday 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-20) to Missouri on the final day of the Mizzou Invitational.
The Lady Demons (3-3) did not back down from the Tigers’ big blocking presence and powerful swings which they faced the entire day. The will to compete the Demons have shown thus far served them well in their continued development.
“I was happy that we continued to improve during the match, and we were able to make adjustments,” head coach Sean Kiracofe said. “It’s impossible with the short training period we have before the season starts, specifically with freshmen and transfers, to be able to practice for many different situations.
“So matches like this are a learning opportunity to be in a timeout and for them to hear me say, ‘we’ve never practiced this, but here’s what I need you to do.’ The 2018 and 2019 teams could take that info and put it into action. Today we might not have made it work the first time, but we got better because of it.”
NSU fell behind quickly in each of the first two sets and were unable to string together scoring runs of its own or stop the Mizzou stretches. A total of 12 unforced errors in the first two sets kept play firmly in the hands of the home team allowing them to cruise to a 2-0 match lead.
As the Demons adjusted to the play of the game and limited their own passing and hitting mistakes, the results were noticeably different in the third set.
A kill, pair of aces from Piper Boydstun and one of four blocks in the third set, twice as many as the first two sets combined, put NSU on a 4-0 run and given it the first lead of the day at 7-6.
NSU evened things against at 11 after a Mizzou scoring run and the teams traded points until a Symone Wesley kill made it a 16-15 game. Some of the early miscues bit the Demons at that point as the Tigers scored on four aces in the final nine points with four kills and a block accounting for the winning points.
The Lady Demons made just three errors total in the third set, just one of them unforced had twice as many blocks and aces as the previous two sets combined.
NSU returns to play on Sept. 13 in a road contest at Jackson State before playing the first Southland Conference match of the season two days later at Southeastern.
Photo: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services