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Mizzou volleyball earns first NCAA Tournament berth since 2020


The Mizzou volleyball team is going to do some dancing in December. The Tigers earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 seed in the Nebraska Quarter.

It is the first time MU has made the NCAA Tournament since 2020 and the 18th time in program history. The Tigers got the job done in year one under head coach Dawn Sullivan.

Sullivan came on board from UNLV, after working with current Mizzou Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois in Las Vegas. In one season, she more than quadrupled the SEC win total from the last two seasons, upped attendance by more than 200 percent and was named one of the conference Coaches of the Year.

She said that watching her team celebrate that NCAA Tournament berth was pure joy.

"There's a couple things that we set out to do this year and that was one of them, was making the NCAA, build a strong culture, just lean into our values and so just to feel that all come true...there's so much happiness in my heart and joy and it just makes me smile," Sullivan said.

You can watch the full interview with Sullivan in the video player below.

Mizzou will be playing in a Quarter with one of the four No. 1 seeds in the country: the Nebraska Cornhuskers. If the Tigers beat Delaware in their first game, there would most likely be a meeting with the Cornhuskers in the second round.

Sullivan said she would have been happy no matter where they landed.

"No matter who you play in the NCAA, they're gonna be tough," she said. "You're gonna have to be ready to battle and be relentless and intentional with everything you do and I think that's what this team is."

It's a massive improvement from just one season ago when the Tigers finished 9-19 overall and 2-16 in SEC play. At the end of that season, MU moved into a coach change and in came Sullivan.

Rightside hitter Jordan Iliff decided to stay at Mizzou through that coaching change and said she knew from one of the first times she talked to Coach Sullivan that this team could end up in the very position they found themselves in on Sunday night.

"I remember I had my first FaceTime call with her and she was awesome," Iliff said. "I knew I was gonna stay and put my full trust in her because she talked a lot about making confident women and I loved that. I was like, 'okay, I trust her.'"

You can watch the full interview with Iliff in the video player below.

Middle blocker Colleen Finney also put her full trust in Coach Sullivan, transferring in from Clemson for her remaining two years of eligibility.

Finney said a night like Sunday, when the team made its first NCAA Tournament in years, is big for the growth of the program.

"I think it's the start of something new," she said. "I think, yes, it's great that we are making the NCAA Tournament right now, but we are not satisfied. We really want to make it past just the first round and be able to go beyond to be able to hopefully get an NCAA Championship one day."

You can watch the full interview with Finney in the video player below.

The Tigers' first round appearance will be on Dec. 1 against Delaware, in Lincoln, Neb.

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Nathalie Jones

Nathalie anchors and reports sports for ABC17. She started working at the station in June 2020.


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