Tyanna Omazic’s injury hinders Missouri volleyball

The Tigers’ middle blockers could not withstand the onslaught from the Wildcats as they fell 3-1 in both matches.

Kenna Sauer swiftly reached out and dug Kentucky’s incoming serve over to the setter, Andrea Fuentes, who easily lifted the ball to Tyanna Omazic just before the Hearnes Center fell to a hush on Wednesday night.

Five minutes into the No. 9 Tigers’ first game against No. 3-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, disbelief and anxiety loomed in the arena as Omazic stayed down on the wooden court.

Omazic landed awkwardly on her left leg after leaping up to kill Missouri’s fifth point of the first set. The Southeastern Conference’s defensive player of the week prior was now in agony as she grasped the underside of her left kneecap.

The upbeat and lively atmosphere of the first home game was silenced. Omazic suffered a torn ACL and PCL. This immediately cut her season short. The jumbotron revealed the message to the crowd just before the second game began on Thursday.

The Tigers had officially lost their best defensive player and a huge aspect of the success against Alabama in their first two games of the season.

Anna D’Cruz and Claudia Dillon covered for Omazic’s absence for the rest of the games. Dillon did not play against Alabama and was now in charge of taking on the offensive barrage from Kentucky.

Omazic’s absence caused many sets to get out of hand. Kentucky was able to generate multiple scoring runs as it's offensive specialists like Alli Stumler and Ashani Tealer put on a clinic against the visible flaws of the Tigers’ crumbling defense.

Dillon could not time her jumps well enough to the point where several Kentucky kills passed by without resistance. The duo of Missouri’s middle blockers faced an extremely tough offense and could not sustain a consistent defensive effort due to poorly-timed jumps and multiple successful kills from Kentucky’s offense.

Missouri recorded four blocks in the entirety of match one and eight in match two.

The Tigers blew two one-set leads in both games against the Wildcats. As the games went on into the later sets, Kentucky was able to exploit several holes in the blocking attempts from D’Cruz and Dillon as well as punish Missouri’s offensive desires. This limited Kylie Deberg to 36 kills and the rest of the team’s 72 kills in both matches combined.

The Wildcats were able to secure 125 kills in the two matches while only losing a total of two sets to the Tigers.

Missouri’s defense needs to communicate and establish a well-working middle blocking core between D’Cruz and Dillon. They will face the unranked, undefeated Arkansas Razorbacks. who tallied 100 kills against Ole Miss over Halloween weekend.

Edited by Maia Bond | mbond@themaneater.com

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