Sunday, January 29, 2023

Ole Miss Volleyball Downs Defending SEC Champion Mizzou

Missouri came in as the defending SEC Champion with a 20-match SEC win streak, but the Ole Miss volleyball team silenced the Tigers 3-0 here Wednesday at the Gillom Sports Center in front of more than 500 fans and a nationally-televised audience on the SEC Network.

photo 1 (3)
The Ole Miss volleyball team swept defending SEC champions Missouri in the Rebels’ first home SEC game. / Photo by Mary Kate Berger

With the win, the Rebels improved to 15-2 overall and 1-2 in the SEC. They get a week off before traveling to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to face Arkansas Oct. 8on the SEC Network.
“This match had a lot of the same feelings as last Friday night against South Carolina,” head coach Steven McRoberts said. “We allowed Missouri to take some leads on us, but we just kept fighting and did a great job of coming back.”
After winning the first set 25-18, the Rebels found themselves down 22-16 in the second set.  The team didn’t panic, using a 9-1 run to erase the lead and win the set 25-23 for a 2-0 lead in the match.
The atmosphere at the Gillom Sports Center was full of energy and excitementon Wednesday night. With a crowd of more than 500 people, the Ole Miss Women’s Volleyball Team dominated against the reigning SEC champions, Missouri. Their televised win of 3-0 was an emotional win for the team.
The first set was easily won with a score of 25-18, but the tide turned in the second. The rebels were down 22-16 but came back and won 25-23. The sets were incredibly competitive, but the team pulled through by winning the last set 25-22.
Rachael Weathersby talked about how the win against the reigning SEC champions “feels amazing.”
The Rebels are now 15-2 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, and will be traveling next week for a game against Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas on October 8.
“It’s a huge excitement and we’ve worked so hard,” Weathersby said. “It’s our first SEC win and we did it in three sets.”
“That was a big momentum changer for us being down 22-16, and then we came out of the timeout and went on a 9-1 run to close it out.  That gave us a lot of confidence,” McRoberts said.
Missouri came out after the break, and maintained a lead most of the way of the third set, but the Rebels tied it up at 20-20. The Tigers won the next point coming out of a timeout, but that would be their last lead, as the Rebels closed out the set 25-22 and the match.
Ole Miss handed Missouri its first SEC loss since Nov. 23, 2012 and kept the Tigers winless in Oxford.
Junior Nakeyta Clair led the Rebel attack with 14 kills for a .500 attack percentage and added three blocks. She led all scorers on the night with 16.5 points.
“I love playing teams like Missouri,” Clair said. “It makes it so much more fun. I am glad we came out with a lot of fight and showed that we belong with these types of teams.”
Clair was helped out by freshmen Lexi Thompson and Taylor Alexander.  Thompson tallied 11 kills and added seven digs, a block and a service ace.  Alexander, in just her third start, posted a career-high eight blocks and added four kills for a .333 pct.  Afterwards she talked about gaining more confidence.
“I just kept trying to keep everybody up and in the game, and when I got the opportunity I just had to do my job and everything would fall into place.”
For more information on Ole Miss Volleyball, follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB, on Facebook at OleMissVolleyball and on Instagram at OleMissVB.
Lindsey Andrews is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at lnandre1@go.olemiss.edu. Contributions from Ole Miss Sports

84,459FansLike
20,500FollowersFollow
14,100FollowersFollow