The Ole Miss volleyball team will carry their 11-match win streak into Columbia on Wednesday to take on No. 22 Missouri.
The Rebels have the longest active win streak in the SEC and are one of two teams in the conference who still stand undefeated. They are second in the SEC and stand poised for an NCAA Tournament run if they can continue to play well. A road win against a ranked team could also help boost their resume come tournament time, and should also result in some top-25 votes.
“Our goal has always been to play after the regular season in the NCAA Tournament,” said head coach Steven McRoberts. “(This 11-3 record) puts us in a better position to reach those goals for sure… I think we’re going to have to get at least double digit wins in the SEC. We’re at best 30% to our goal of that.”
Last year Missouri, finished the season 24-8 (13-5 SEC) and placed fourth in the SEC.
The Rebels defeated No. 23 Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year before losing in straight sets to No. 7 Nebraska in Lincoln. In their only matchup of the season against the Tigers, Ole Miss lost in straight sets at home. The Rebels have lost seven straight matches against Missouri dating back to 2014, and now look to end that streak with a key win against a tough conference opponent.
“They’re top-25. Another great program, well coached. I don’t know if we’ve won there since I’ve been here so it’s going to be tough,” McRoberts said.
Missouri enters this week’s match ranked No. 22 in the country according to the AVCA Coaches’ Poll. They are 2-1 in conference play, giving their only loss to Kentucky at home to begin their SEC schedule. They played one of the tougher non-conference schedules in the SEC and had mixed results against elite talent.
They beat then-No. 14 Michigan in straight sets on Sept. 6 before getting swept by No. 1 Baylor and losing to No. 13 Hawaii in a tight match.
Fielding one of the most talented rosters in the SEC, the Tigers are picked by many to finish near the top of the conference standings by season’s end.
“It’ll be another nationally televised match on the SEC Network. It’s going to be a challenge, so hopefully we can keep this consistency,” McRoberts said. “That’s something that we’ve preached since day one is consistency and belief that we can win. Right now it’s just a great feeling where we’re at, but there’s a long way to go and our team knows that. We have to keep winning to have an opportunity to be playing in the postseason.”
After this match, the Rebels will return home to face Auburn on Sunday in the Gillom Center.
With a string of favorable matchups on the horizon, the Rebels could remain undefeated heading into their Oct. 27 meeting with Kentucky at home, a match that could feature two teams undefeated in conference.