Missouri volleyball opened up its season in dramatic fashion with a comeback win against Northern Kentucky in the South Dakota Tournament on Friday. Led by highly stifling performances from sophomores Jordan Iliff and Trista Strasser, the Tigers emerged victorious in spite of chronic defensive struggles with high-octane, vertical play around the net.

The main issue for the Tigers was their receiving, as they committed eight reception errors across the entire match and six in the first three sets alone. Though the errors were the most tangible loss of points, Missouri's transition game hamstrung its outside hitters' powerful attacks and gave Northern Kentucky the advantage.

With the advantage, Northern Kentucky edged out Missouri in the first two sets, taking advantage of the uncoordinated defense to string together late runs. But the Tigers cleaned up those miscues for the rest of the match and used their superior offense to edge out the Norse in the final three sets.

Though the Norse were effective on offense, going for 59 kills on 178 chances, the Tigers' middle blocking crew led by Strasser managed to pile up 30 total blocks on the night. That effort left the Norse with 38 total attack errors and lent the offensive advantage to the Tigers. Missouri ended the match with 57 kills, led by Iliff and Anna Dixon's combined 28 kills.

Missouri continues tournament play at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Louisville and at 1 p.m. Sunday against South Dakota.

Stephens volleyball goes undefeated in first day of Thunder Invitational

Stephens volleyball took down Sterling College 3-1 and Central Christian College 3-1 in the first day of the Thunder Invitational in Manhattan, Kansas.

The Stars lost the first set against Sterling 25-20 but bounced back with wins of 25-22, 25-21 and 25-18 to secure their first win of the season.

Stephens followed a similar script in its second match, losing the first set to Central Christian 25-23 before winning three consecutive sets to improve to 2-0 on the season.

The Stars face Cottey College at 9 a.m. Saturday and Manhattan Christian College at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Originally published on columbiamissourian.com, part of the TownNews Content Exchange.