MO State HS Sports

Volleyball Sweeps Northern Kentucky to Open Tiger Invitational

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COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri Volleyball team (4-0) completed its first sweep of the Dawn Sullivan era, besting Northern Kentucky (1-3), 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-21), Friday evening at the Hearnes Center to open the 2023 Tiger Invitational. 

Junior Jordan Iliff and sophomore Janet deMarrais led the Mizzou offense with 10 kills apiece Friday. Graduate student Dilara Gedikoglu chipped in eight with seven digs. 

Sophomore libero Maya Sands notched a match-high 15 digs as Mizzou led the defensive category on NKU, 51-38. The Tigers also registered seven blocks compared to Northern Kentucky’s one.

Freshman setter Sierra Dudley continued to impress, garnering 26 assists as her season total increased to 172 over four matches.

FIRST SET (25-21 Mizzou, Mizzou leads 1-0)

The Tiger’s success in the opening set was in large part due to Dudley’s 12 assists, as Mizzou hit .333 on 15 kills to commence the match.  

Northern Kentucky jumped out to an early 4-1 lead before Mizzou slowly climbed back, piggybacking off an ace from defensive specialist Lauren Forbes to embark on an 8-2 run (14-10) midway through the frame.

Consecutive kills from Colleen Finney and Gedikoglu provided a slight 21-17 edge for the Tigers. 

MU closed out the opener with back-to-back kills from Iliff, before deMarrais finished off the stanza with a rally stopper of her own.

SECOND SET (25-14 Mizzou, Mizzou leads 2-0)

In the second frame, it was Mizzou who left the starting blocks hot, beginning the set with a 6-0 run.

After an attack error put the Norse on the board, back-to-back block assists by Dudley and junior Morgan Isenberg put the Tigers right back on track as they continued to punish NKU, building the lead to 12-2.

Not letting Northern Kentucky get close to them, the Tigers wrapped up the second set with an 11-point lead (25-14). 

Iliff led Mizzou with four kills on a .333 hitting clip during the middle set Friday.

THIRD SET (25-21 Mizzou, Mizzou wins 3-0)

Neither team was able to build a lead of more than two throughout most of the third set’s entirety.

Trailing 13-11, Mizzou utilized a 4-0 run to pull ahead 15-13 after four-straight rally stoppers including back-to-back kills from deMarrais.

deMarrais had six kills during set #3 Friday to set a new career-high for rally stoppers, finishing with 10 to edge out her previous high of eight set against Northwestern State on Sept. 3, 2022. 

NKU then clawed ahead 17-15 with a 4-0 rally of its own. 

Missouri brought on set point (24-20) after a 6-0 stretch. The Norse came as close as 24-21 before an NKU service error clinched the match for the Tigers. 


•      Mizzou is now 4-0 to start a season for the first time since 2019.

•      Freshman setter Sierra Dudley led the way with a match-high 26 assists to go along with four kills and six digs. 

•      Libero Maya Sands recorded 15 digs and five assists in the win. 

•      Janet deMarrais posted a career-high night of 10 kills on a .364 hitting percentage Friday, which surpassed her previous best of eight kills set against Northwestern State (9/3/22).

•      Jordan Iliff also recorded 10 kills.

•      Graduate student Dilara Gedikoglu chipped in eight kills with seven digs.

•      Lauren Forbes registered a trio of aces (match-high) with nine digs Friday.

•     Morgan Isenberg notched four blocks and four kills with a dig. 

•      Freshman Kaylen Rush grabbed a personal-best seven digs. 

•      Setter Sarah White, an Ohio State transfer, compiled her first assists (2) and a block as a Tiger Friday. 

•      Naomi Franco tallied her first career kill in Mizzou Black & Gold Friday. 

•      Mizzou led Northern Kentucky in attacks (107), kills (38), digs (61) serve aces (4) and blocks (7).

•      Missouri and Northern Kentucky met for the third time ever with MU stretching its all-time series lead to 3-0 over the Norse.


The Tiger Invitational continues throughout the weekend at the Hearnes Center. Next up for Mizzou is a Saturday matinee against South Dakota with first serve set for 2:30 p.m., CT. The match will be broadcast on SEC Network+. 


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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics