Rebels knock off No. 20 Missouri

Junior Emily Jones says she just wants to forget about the fourth game Friday night against Missouri. Thanks to her and the rest of the resilient group of Rebels, it is most likely already a distant memory.

Ole Miss fed off an electric crowd inside the Gillom Center to overcome adversity and rally past No. 20 Missouri in a grueling five game marathon that lasted more than two and a half hours before a gathering of 537.

The Rebels had a chance to close out the match in the fourth game, but the Tigers found a groove and tied a school record by allowing just 13 points in knotting the event at two games apiece. Missouri also grabbed an early lead in the decisive game, but Ole Miss responded. The Red and Blue overcame two four-point margins and dropped the highly touted Tigers 30-28, 27-30, 34-32, 13-30, 16-14.

"That fourth game was rough," Jones said. "I just want to forget about that, but we responded. It was good to come back. That momentum might last all season."

A balanced offensive attack propelled the Rebels with four players securing double-digit kills. Caitlin Weiss produced a team-high 17 kills during her first start at outside hitter. Behind Weiss, Jones, Katie Kramer and Rachel Kieckhaefer were all effective with 14, 11 and ten kills respectively. Weiss said the team gathered and decided that it would not be denied in the final game.

"It was hard because we were so sluggish in game four," Weiss said. "But we got in the huddle and said that we weren't losing to this team. We have worked too hard. And then we went out it did it. It feels great."

The victory was the program's second-ever win over a ranked opponent and the two have actually occurred back to back. The Rebels defeated No. 11 LSU in the regular season finale in 2006.

"How we won tonight is a testament to how hard we work and what we learned last season," Coach Joe Getzin said. "The girls believe in themselves and it takes that kind of belief to crawl out of a hole several times. We beat a very good Missouri team, and it really shows our character."

Ole Miss seized control of the match with a game one win and also took game three to put the Tigers on the ropes. Solid defensive play frustrated Mizzou and dictated scoring chances for the Rebels. Senior libero Tara Langley paced the defense with 26 digs.

With the scored tied at 14 in the final game, the ball grazed an antenna just beyond the net, thus setting off cheers from the crowd and confusion amongst the officials. The point was first awarded to the Tigers, but a conference ensued, and the call was reversed, giving Ole Miss match point. Moments later, a Nichole Mahan kill set off a celebration with the crowd rushing the court.

The Rebels return to action Saturday at 10:30 a.m. against Arkansas State.

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