Aug 31, 2013
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COLUMBIA, Mo. - For the sixth time in seven seasons, the Mizzou volleyball team claimed the Tiger Invitational Championship after defeating both Idaho State and Arkansas State in straight sets on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 31) at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers dropped just one set in the whole tournament as they went 4-0 in the annual affair, pushing their all-time mark in Tiger Invite play to 35-3.
Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) was named Tournament Most Valuable Player for the third time in her career (2010, 2011, 2013) while classmate Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) was named to the All-Tournament team for the second consecutive season. Freshman Carly Kan (Honolulu, Haw.) and junior All-SEC middle Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) were also named to the All-Tournament team.
Kreklow guided the team to .406 hitting and a 15.69 kills per set average and a whopping 204 kills in just 13 sets. Kreklow averaged 13.31 assists per set while adding 10 kills on just 20 attacks with 30 digs and she had 11 aces over the four matches. Henning was the team's top offensive weapon with 61 kills (4.69 per set) on .397 hitting with 33 digs in the tournament. Kan led all outside hitters in the tournament with a .508 attack percentage while averaging 2.92 kills per set, 1.54 digs per set and nine aces. Little had just one error in four matches as she hit .633, a team-best, with 32 kills (2.46 per set) while adding seven blocks. Pitt's Delaney Clesen, South Dakota's Kendall Kritenbrink, Arkansas State's Kelsey Sullivan and Idaho State's Kylee Sessions were also named to the All-Tournament team.
"I am pretty happy with how we came out and competed this weekend and I am really pleased with the things that we did well," head coach Wayne Kreklow
said. "It was nice to finally get out and play opponents to see what he had and it is pretty clear after the first weekend that we have a lot of kids that can really play. We weren't quite as good in serve receive today and as a coach, I will always find things to nit-pick, but overall I was happy with our effort. Now it's time to get ready for more very good teams at Yale next weekend."
On the weekend, freshman Emily Thater (Springfield, Mo.) was also deserving of All-Tournament honors as well. Thater was sensational all weekend with 30 kills on .531 hitting while pitching in 22 blocks (1.69 per set) and four aces. Junior libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) led Mizzou with 43 digs over the four matches.
In Mizzou's first match against Idaho State on Saturday, the Tigers hit .410 while posting a season-best 11.0 blocks as it rolled to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-20) sweep. Henning was the Tigers' most notable performer in the win as she tallied 15 kills on 26 attacks with no errors, good for a .577 attack percentage. Little was also tremendous with six kills on just six attacks and Thater was great again with eight kills on .538 hitting as Mizzou used its middles very effectively. Thater also led Mizzou with eight total blocks (two solo, six assists) and Kreklow pitched in a season-best five blocks. Kreklow also spread 34 assists with three digs. Meister and Henning led Mizzou with seven digs apiece in the win over Idaho State. The Tigers subbed their starters out of both the second and third sets after opening substantial leads in both.
In the second match of the day, Mizzou dominated Arkansas State to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-16) sweep. Henning led Mizzou with 13 kills on .290 hitting while Kan pitched in 11 kills on .588 hitting. Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) had a good match as well, tallying 12 kills on .276 hitting. Meister led all Tigers with 11 digs while Thater led all players with four blocks (two solo, two assists).
Mizzou will return to action with four matches in the New England area, beginning with a match at Fairfield, the Tigers' first road contest of the season, on Thursday. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.