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Missouri Volleyball vs. IUPUI
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Missouri vs. Florida - November 9, 2012
Mizzou volleyball's rise to national prominence since 2000 can be easily tied to its leadership at the helm of the program as Wayne and Susan Kreklow have built a national power. Heading into the 2013 season, the résumé was impressive enough: 10 NCAA Tournaments, one Elite Eight, two Sweet 16s, 12 winning seasons and an average of 20 wins per season.
But the Kreklows and the 2013 team rewrote the record books with the most successful season in program history. Not only did the Tigers become the first ever team at Mizzou to win a Southeastern Conference Championship and the program's first conference championship, but the team finished the regular season unblemished at 34-0. The team earned the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and saw four players earn AVCA All-America honors, including a pair of first team honorees in senior setter Molly Kreklow and senior right side Lisa Henning. Wayne Kreklow was named SEC Coach of the Year for engineering the whole thing. Below is just a snapshot of the achievements by the 2013 team.
SEC Champions - School's first ever SEC title and program's first ever league championship
First ever SEC team to finish a regular season unbeaten
Reset school records in wins, conference wins, consecutive wins, sweeps and team hitting percentage
Led the nation in hitting, kills, assists, wins and points per set while averaging the fewest errors per set
Saw four players - Molly Kreklow, Lisa Henning, Carly Kan, Whitney Little - land on the All-SEC team
Molly Kreklow was named SEC Player of the Year, Carly Kan was SEC Freshman of the Year and Wayne Kreklow was SEC coach of the Year
Four Tigers were AVCA All-Americans - Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning (First Team) and Carly Kan and Whitney Little (honorable mention)
Wayne Kreklow was the SEC Coach of the Year and the AVCA Southeast Region Coach of the Year
Carly Kan earned AVCA Southeast Region Freshman of the Year
Aside from all of the accomplishments for the 2013 team, Wayne and Susan Kreklow had built a power at Mizzou since arriving in 2000. In fact, now that the Tigers have reached the NCAA Tournament in 11 of the last 14 seasons, Mizzou is one of only 22 teams nationally to qualify for at least 10 NCAA Tournaments in the last 14 seasons. In the Kreklow's first eight seasons at the helm of the program, Mizzou qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each year, joining Nebraska as the only two programs to accomplish that feat during the span.
In their inaugural season as an SEC member, Wayne and Susan Kreklow guided Mizzou to a 19-win season while finishing fourth in the SEC East division. They also guided three players - Molly Kreklow, Lisa Henning and Whitney Little - to All-SEC honors. Henning was a unanimous All-SEC First Team pick while Kreklow and Little were second-team honorees. Henning also went on to garner AVCA All-America Third Team honors, becoming the second Tiger to earn AVCA All-America honors in two consecutive seasons.
The 2011 season may have showcased the Kreklow's coaching prowess unlike ever before. With just two seniors on the 2011 squad, the Kreklows took a group comprised primarily of freshmen and sophomores to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in 12 seasons. In fact, the Tigers were the youngest team to qualify for the field of 64 as 11 of its 13 players were underclassmen. The Kreklows also guided Henning to AVCA Third Team All-America honors, becoming the first Tiger underclassman to earn AVCA All-America honors.
In 2010, the Kreklows took the Tigers back to the NCAA Sweet 16, marking the program's second-deepest run into the NCAA Tournament in history. The Tigers also pulled the biggest first-round upset in NCAA Tournament history in 2010, knocking off fifth-seeded Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls in a thrilling five-set match. The Tigers boasted four wins over ranked teams in 2010, including two in the NCAA Tournament, and took home 14 Big 12 Athlete of the Week honors, the most by any team in the league in 2010. The Tigers also ranked 16th nationally in average attendance last season.
Under the Kreklow's guidance in 2010, senior outside hitter Paola Ampudia was named honorable mention All-American by the AVCA was a member of the first team All-Central Region and All-Big 12 teams. She was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 team. The Kreklows also saw freshman setter Molly Kreklow garner AVCA Central Region Freshman of the Year honors and honorable mention All-Big 12 status as well. She and classmate Lisa Henning also appeared on the All-Big 12 Freshman team. The idea of developing a family-like atmosphere has always been a key component of the Kreklow's coaching style. That rang true again in 2010 as Molly Kreklow, their niece, was the team's starting setter. Not only that, but the Kreklows have teamed with current assistant coach Deng Yang for all 11 years at Mizzou and she played for Wayne and Susan during their time at Columbia College. Also, the Kreklows have added one of their former Mizzou players to their coaching staff in former All-American setter Lindsey Hunter, now in her second season.
In 2009, the Kreklows guided a group of talented underclassmen to an 18-14 overall record, likely just one win shy of qualifying the program for its ninth NCAA Tournament in the decade. Under the tutelage of the Kreklows, Ampudia earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team and was dubbed the conference Newcomer of the Year as she thrived in the Kreklow's system. She anchored what was one of the league's most explosive attacks in 2009.
Under the direction of the Kreklow's, academics and community involvement continue to be a cornerstone of the program. In 2009, six Tigers earned a spot on the Academic All-Big 12 team while senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco became the program's first-ever four-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree. The volleyball program also spends countless hours in the community. In 2009, the team baked holiday cookies for the elderly, visited children's hospitals and raised more than $1,000 for the American Red Cross and the Haitain Earthquake Relief Fund. Year in and year out, the volleyball program challenges for Mizzou's Tiger Cup, which is given to the Mizzou athletic program that is most involved in its community. The Kreklow's guided the volleyball team to a Tiger Cup Championship in 2009, despite having one of the smallest rosters across the board.
While the Kreklow's success at Missouri was immediate, the apex of their successes came at the end of the 2005 season. The Tigers were selected to host NCAA First and Second rounds for the second-consecutive year, achieving an overall No. 10 seed in the tournament. After defeating Missouri State in the first round, Mizzou swept Arkansas to advance to the team's first regional in school history. At the Penn State Regional, the Tigers took perennial power Hawaii head-on in the regional semifinal, defeating UH in four games. The Tigers accumulated a 25-5 record in 2005, the winningest season in school history, and were a step away from the Final Four.
Also in 2005, Wayne Kreklow was named College Volleyball Update's honorable mention National Coach of the Year as the team surged to the national top-10 for the first time in school history, sweeping three top-10 teams along the way. In all, the Kreklows have amassed a 200-108 (.649) winning record in their Mizzou tenure with 117 wins coming in Big 12 play, averaging 12 conference wins per season. The Tigers have won 21 matches over Top-25 teams since 2000, toppling five during the magical 2005 season. Mizzou itself has spent 76 weeks in the national top 25 since 2000.
Upon arrival, the Kreklows wasted no time in putting their winning mark on a program that had not experienced success since the early 1980's. In their first three years at Mizzou (2000, 2001 and 2002) they recorded the program's first back-to-back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1981-83. In fact, the Tigers won 70 matches in the first three years under the Kreklows, more than the previous seven years combined. Missouri posted the first postseason victory in school history by defeating Northwestern in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. In 2004, Missouri had the honor of hosting first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
In 2000, the Kreklows' first season at MU, the Tigers finished second in the Big 12 Conference after finishing ninth the previous year. For her efforts, Susan was named as the 2000 Big 12 Coach of the Year by her peers. The Kreklows have made Mizzou Volleyball an exciting marketable entity, and the growth in attendance has been effected, as Missouri has ranked in the nation's top seven in the category in 2005 and 2006, averaging more than 2,600 fans per competition. On Oct. 5, 2005, 7,298 fans packed the Hearnes Center for the Tigers' match against Nebraska. Both teams entered the contest undefeated and ranked in the national top-10.
The Tigers face the best competition in the country night-in and night-out as they compete in one of the strongest conferences in the nation. They have experienced great success in the Big 12 Conference and proof of that success can be found in the fact that the Tigers were ranked in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll for the first of 12 consecutive weeks in 2000, for 11 weeks in 2001 and 11 weeks in 2002, finishing at No. 20, the then-best end of the year ranking by MU. In 2003, the Tigers opened the year ranked No. 21, the then-highest preseason ranking for MU, and climbed to No. 18 at one point in the season, marking the then-best ranking in Tiger Volleyball history. In 2004, the Tigers finished the season in the top 25 again, achieving a No. 24 postseason ranking.
In 2005, Missouri's No. 21 preseason ranking was the season-low as the team never exited the top 25. The Tigers progressed in defeating two top-10 teams in sweeps to open the season and soon soared to the top 10 themselves, peaking at a now-team, all-time high No. 7 in October. Their No. 8 final poll ranking in 2005 is the best in school history.
Before the 2005 season, Wayne and Susan officially switched titles within the University system to allow for more family flexibility. While the official coaching records of both are affected, their coaching philosophy is one built on a co-op instead of a one-headed system.
Before coming to Missouri, the Kreklows were co-head coaches of both the men's and women's volleyball teams at Columbia College. They enjoyed great success, taking their women's team to the NAIA National Tournament six times and winning consecutive national titles in 1998 and 1999.
The Cougars also won five regional championships and seven consecutive American Midwest Conference championships under their guidance. In 1998 and 1999, Columbia College achieved consecutive undefeated seasons with a combined record of 85-0. The Cougars' undefeated record included 78 consecutive wins at home and 227 consecutive game victories.
In 1997 and 1998, the Kreklows shared NAIA/AVCA National Coach of the Year and Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors. In 1999, the coaching tandem took home the regional award for the fifth consecutive year. In 1998 and 1999, the Kreklows also received the NAIA National Tournament Coach of the Year award.
Along with the success of the women's program, the Kreklows started the men's volleyball program at Columbia College in 1997. In 1999, the Cougars finished the season with a 19-5 overall record, enjoying their second consecutive undefeated run through the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. They also took second place at the inaugural SSI Volleyball National Invitational Tournament in 1999.
Susan Kreklow played volleyball for Central Missouri State University and Missouri State. She received her bachelor's degree in physical education and a Master's of Science degree from Missouri State in 1984 and 1987, respectively. Kreklow began her coaching career at St. Clair (Mo.) High School. She began her collegiate coaching career at Columbia College in 1990. Susan was the founder of Columbia Juniors Volleyball Club and the Columbia Developmental Volleyball Leagues. She has served as a member of the USA Volleyball Board of Directors as the NAIA representative and was president-elect of the NAIA National Coaches Association.
Wayne Kreklow earned a bachelor's degree in social science in 1980 from Drake University. While at Drake, Wayne was a member of the men's basketball team, where he earned All-America, all-conference and all-district awards as a two-time team captain, and is fifth on Drake's career scoring list. He is also a member of Drake's All-Century basketball team and was a member of the NBA World Champion Boston Celtics in 1980-81. Wayne began coaching basketball for Central Decatur (Iowa) High School in 1986. He began coaching volleyball as an assistant under Craig Sherman at Missouri. He was with the Tigers from 1989 to 1994 before moving over to Columbia College to join his wife at the helm of the Cougar program.
The Kreklows reside in Columbia with their three children: sons Rick (22) and Ryan (18) and daughter Ali (19). In the summer of 2006, Wayne coached his son Rick's AAU 14-and-under basketball team to a national championship. Rick is currently playing varsity basketball at Creighton.
Team Kreklow's Record at Mizzou
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