Missouri's junior outside hitter Carly Kan threw down her 11th kill of the match to put Tigers up 24-20. All Missouri needed was one more point to send the match into its fourth set.
But it didn't happen. Instead, Kansas defeated Missouri in three sets to advance to the Sweet 16 after missing it in 2014.
Missouri set point No. 1:
Missouri's Alexa Armendariz serves short, libero Cassie Wait picks up the dig, passing the ball to sophomore setter Ainise Havili. Junior middle blocker Tayler Soucie attacks from the right, sending the ball into the Missouri's back row, but Missouri can't get there.
Kansas trails 24-21.
Missouri set point No. 2:
Setter and serving specialist Maggie Anderson subs in for Soucie to serve for Kansas. Missouri's back row picks it up, setting it up for Kan on the left side. Junior middle blocker Janae Hall goes up for the block, sending the ball back over to the Missouri side. Hall's block sends the ball back to the Missouri back row, where the Tigers, again, set the ball up for Kan. The second time isn't as successful and Kan's attack goes into the net.
Kansas trails 24-22 and Missouri calls a timeout.
Missouri set point No. 3
Anderson serves again, to the same right corner of Missouri's. The Tigers set it up for junior middle blocker Julia Fowler. Fowler's attack falls into the net.
Kansas trails 24-23.
Missouri set point No. 4
Anderson serves for the the third straight time, this time sending the ball to the middle of Missouri's back row, setting it up for freshman middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn. Her attack falls into the net after senior setter Tiana Dockery and Hall block the ball.
Kansas ties it up 24-24.
Anderson serves for the fourth time, again to Missouri's libero, who sets the ball up for Kan on the left side. Kan's successful in her attack, sending the ball in between the Kansas' front and back rows. The Jayhawks can't get there.
Missouri leads, 25-24.
Missouri set point No. 5
Junior defensive specialist Alexa Ethridge goes back to serve right to Wait. Wait sets the ball to Havili. Havili sets the ball up for sophomore right side hitter Kelsie Payne on the left side. Missouri blocks the ball back to Wait, who sets it back to Havili, who sets it up for Hall on the left side. Hall tips the ball behind Missouri's front row who sets it back up for redshirt sophomore middle blocker Kira Larson. Larson's attack falls into the net.
Havili's back to serve for Kansas and sends it to Missouri's back row, who sets it up for Kan. Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon sets the ball from the back row to Havili. Havili back sets to Payne on the right side. Payne slams it down in front of Missouri's back row. The Tigers can't get there.
Kansas regains the lead, 26-25.
Kansas match point:
Havili goes back to serve for the second time. Her serve flies deep into Missouri's back row. Kan goes up with the attack, sending the ball to Havili. Havili passes to Wait, who sets the ball up for Payne. Payne sends the attack just over the net. Missouri mishandles the ball, but recovers, giving Kansas a free ball. Ridgon has the first touch, passing the ball to Havili. Havili back sets to Payne on the right side. Payne drives home a kill to the back row. Missouri gets there, but it's a little too late. The ball had already touched the floor.
Kansas wins the third set to defeat Missouri, 27-25.
Missouri knew back when the third set was 24-20 that it wasn't going to be easy. Coach Wayne Kreklow wasn't convinced, even at 24-20, his team had the set win.
"No," Kreklow said when asked if his team thought they had won the set at 24-20. "I don't think anybody ever thinks that. I felt like we were in a good position to do that, but you still have to make plays. It was going to take a really good swing. [Kansas] was blocking very well, playing great defense in the back row. It wasn't like I was waiting for somebody to hit the ball into the net."
The Jayhawks wanted it, but they weren't sure if they were going to get there at that moment.
"We called a time out [at 13-18] and I said, 'you know, guys, I don't know if we're going to win this third set, but we need to start playing like we need to play,'" Kansas coach Ray Bechard said. "'Forget the scoreboard, because if it goes to a fourth, we need to be playing well.' I don't know if that took a little pressure off of them, just do what we do and next thing you know, you get a deuce game. I knew it was over then when we got to 24 all."
Kansas faces the winner of No. 8 Stanford and Loyola Marymount in the San Diego regional. Times and dates will be determined soon.