Missouri Tigers beat Round 1 opponent in NCAA volleyball tournament; here’s what’s next

All in a year’s work.

The Dawn Sullivan era for Mizzou volleyball hit another milestone on Friday as the Tigers won their first NCAA Tournament game since 2020 by defeating Delaware in straight sets (25-17, 25-22, 25-23) in the first round of the national championship in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sullivan, who joined the Tigers from UNLV last January, has turned around the direction of the program in her debut season in Columbia.

In 2022, MU won nine games.

Friday’s win against the Blue Hens (24-5) means the Tigers have doubled that total, improving to 18-12 in a season that has seen them return to the biggest stage.

And that stage proved to be no problem Friday.

Outside hitter Janet deMarrais led MU with 13 kills and 15 points scored on 31 total attacks. St. Louis product Jordan Iliff was close behind with 10 kills on 21 attacks. She added three aces.

MU middle blocker Colleen Finney appeared to suffer an injury during the second game that caused her to leave the court. Finney did not return to the game.

Missouri’s defense held Delaware to .221% hitting as the Tigers advanced to the next round

Reaching 19 wins could prove to be a tricky task, as Missouri is likely to face top-seeded Nebraska on its home court next. The Cornhuskers, who are 28-1, played Long Island later Friday evening.

Opening serve for the Tigers’ second-round match is set for 7 p.m. Saturday in Lincoln, where a win would take MU to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2017.

The Star has partnered with the Columbia Daily Tribune for coverage of Missouri Tigers athletics.