COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri volleyball team (1-0) opened its 2023 campaign Friday night at the Hearnes Center with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19) victory over Illinois State (0-1). The win marked head coach Dawn Sullivan’s first victory with the Tigers.
Junior Jordan Iliff paced the Tigers offensively with a match-high and career-best 19 kills with seven digs, two aces and two blocks as three Missouri players had double-digit rally stoppers.
Graduate student Colleen Finney added 12 kills on a .647 hitting percentage with two digs and two blocks in her Mizzou debut. Fellow graduate student Dilara Gedikoglu just missed a double-double with 10 kills, nine digs and three aces in her first match donning the Black & Gold.
FIRST SET (Mizzou 25-23, Mizzou leads 1-0)
In the opening set, the Tigers and Redbirds traded points early, with no team holding larger than a two-point lead heading into the media timeout, with ISU leading 15-14.
Gedikoglu, a graduate transfer from Arizona, made her impact felt immediately, collecting three kills on the Tigers first six points.
Illinois State would take the set’s first lead of larger than a pair with a kill from Bella Zeman, giving the visitors an 18-15 advantage. Mizzou would then close the gap with a 4-0 run (19-18 Mizzou) before tie score lines of 19-19 and 20-20.
The Tigers and Redbirds would swap 3-0 rallies before back-to-back ISU miscues secured the set for Mizzou, 25-23.
SECOND SET (Illinois State 27-25, 1-1)
Set two would open with a 5-1 run from Illinois State, before MU quickly answered with four unanswered points to knot up the stanza.
Illinois State would hold a 15-14 edge at the media stoppage before Mizzou evened the frame at 21-21 and 22-22.
Gedikoglu placed an ace before slamming a kill followed by a Morgan Isenberg rally stopper to keep things all square.
Iliff added a service ace followed by a Finney kill for a 25-25 second set. ISU would then tie the match at 1-1 with a kill and ace from Aida Shadewald.
THIRD SET (Mizzou 25-19, Mizzou leads 2-1)
The Tigers would jump out to a 7-3 advantage after a 6-0 run to commence the third set. Mizzou hit a match-best .515 during the frame and finished Friday with a .284 clip.
The Redbirds would then tie the stanza at 11-11, before a four-point run by the Tigers put the home team up 15-11.
Mizzou would regrow its advantage to 20-14 after consecutive kills from Janet deMarrais and Gedikoglu.
The Tigers would keep Illinois State at arms’ length for the final stretch of the set, not letting ISU within three points. A Finney kill would punctuate the set at 25-19.
FOURTH SET (Mizzou 25-19, Mizzou wins 3-1)
Junior Lauren Forbes posted two service aces after Sierra Dudley and Finney combined for a block for an early 6-4 Tigers lead.
Missouri then answered ISU’s run with a 9-1 stretch for a 17-12 advantage. The Redbirds would come as close as 18-16 before an Isenberg kill secured Sullivan’s first win at Mizzou, 25-19.
Isenberg led the squad with three blocks, to go with a career-best nine kills (.643) in her second career start.
- With the win, the Tigers moved to 2-6 all-time versus the Redbirds.
- The victory is head coach Dawn Sullivan’s first as a Tiger. Her career record improved to 110-38 after five seasons leading UNLV.
- Dawn Sullivan faced her former school in Illinois State Friday. Sullivan began her collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Illinois State in 2002.
- Illinois State is Sullivan’s second former school that Mizzou has faced in 2023 as the Tigers hosted Iowa State in exhibition play on Aug. 19.
- Freshman setter Sierra Dudley registered a double-double with 45 assists and 19 digs to go with four kills, two aces and a block in her first career start.
- Three Tigers had double-digit kills led by Jordan Iliff’s 19. Colleen Finney added 12 followed by Dilara Gedikoglu (10 kills and nine digs).
- Sophomore libero Maya Sands scooped up 14 digs and six assists with three aces in her Tiger debut after transferring to Missouri from UNLV.
- Lauren Forbes added five digs and two aces.
- Seven student-athletes made their Mizzou debuts in the match.
The Tigers continue action in the Mizzou Classic Saturday against Central Arkansas. The match is slated for a 7 p.m., CT first serve at the Hearnes Center. The match will be broadcasted on SEC Network+.