Nov. 25, 2011
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Missouri State volleyball team suffered a 25-16, 25-23, 25-13 defeat at the hands of Wichita State Friday in the semi-finals of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The second-seeded Bears dropped to 22-8 on the season, while No. 3 WSU improved to 21-9.
Wichita State's Camri Zwiesler began the match with a kill and two aces as the bulk of a 4-0 WSU run, and, after the Bears scored the next two points, the Shockers answered with two and never led by less than four the rest of the way. The Shockers used three straight kills for a 15-7 lead and MSU pulled no closer than 19-13 as the Bears managed only 11 kills in the period.
After three aces in the first set, it was two early service errors by the Shockers that contributed to a 8-2 start in Missouri State's favor in the second. WSU responded with a 5-0 run that was stopped by a Calli Norman kill to keep the Bears in the lead, and the Shockers closed to one point three times before grabbing a 12-11 advantage with a 4-0 run. The set was tied at each point from 12 through 20 before a WSU ace gave the Shockers a 22-20 lead. A Kaitlin Jaeger kill and WSU attack error made for a 23-all tie, but the Shockers scored the last two points for a 2-0 lead.
Wichita State runs of 3-0 and 4-0 early in the third led to a 8-3 lead for the Shockers, and it was Missouri State's turn to mirror WSU's second-set comeback with a 4-0 run on the way to an 8-7 score. A Norman kill for 9-8 was met with consecutive WSU blocks and an 11-8 score, and after Kelley Michnowicz scored a kill to make it 11-9, the Shockers rattled off a 9-1 run to lead 20-10 and coasted to the win.
Missouri State was doomed by 16.5 WSU blocks leading to a season-low .064 hitting percentage compared to .186 for the Shockers. Norman led the Bears with nine kills, and Carly Thomas recorded her 22nd double-double of the season with 28 assists and 15 digs. Ashley Mason led Missouri State with 19 digs.
The Bears, ranked 42nd in the most recent NCAA RPI, will have to wait until Sunday to see if they will earn an at-large berth into their seventh NCAA Tournament in the last nine years. The selection show for the 64-team field airs live on ESPNU at 5 p.m. (Central) on Nov. 27. Missouri State has been an at-large selection in four of its last six NCAA appearances.