Sept. 4, 2011
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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Mizzou volleyball team claimed the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Bash Tournament Title on Sunday (Sept. 4) after sweeping Auburn, 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-17). The tournament win is the Tigers' second of the season after claiming last week's Tiger Invitational and Mizzou improves to 8-1 on the season. In all, Mizzou won four of its five matches on the weekend. It's only loss came at Middle Tennessee State on Thursday, a match that was not part of the tournament.
In all, three Tigers earned All-Tournament honors as Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) was named Blue Raider Bash MVP while sophomores Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) and Lisa Henning (Blue Spring, Mo.) were each named to the All-Tournament team. Henning led the way for the Tigers against Auburn on Sunday with 12 kills on .571 hitting. Brimmage finished the match with nine kills on. .500 hitting and for the tournament she hit .656 with 46 kills. Kreklow was outstanding again on Sunday as she spread 31 assists while pulling in nine digs. She also quarterbacked the Tiger offense to a .452 hitting percentage on the day while helping the Tigers hit .366 on the tournament.
"I thought our kids did a great job today and throughout the entire tournament," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "We did a nice job bouncing back after a tough loss on Thursday and we picked up some wins against some very good teams. Auburn was a very good team; we just executed very well against them today."
Several other Tigers had big matches offensively on Sunday as Emily Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) posted eight kills on .500 hitting while fellow freshmen Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) and Katie O'Brien (Dallas, Texas) pitched in eight kills each.
Defensively, the Tiger back row was outstanding. Kreklow had her best match defensively this season with nine digs while senior libero Priscilla Armendariz (Blue Springs, Mo.) and freshman defensive specialist Jade Hayes (Ozark, Mo.) pulled in seven and 10, respectively. In fact, eight Tigers finished the match with a dig as Mizzou corralled 38 in the match.
The Tigers controlled play early in the first set behind a very efficient attack. Seven of their first 10 points came on kills as they raced out to a 10-5 lead before allowing Auburn to sneak back into the set at 15-12, forcing Wayne Kreklow to use his first timeout of the set. A nice kill from Wilson out of the timeout ended the Auburn run and seemed to settle the Tigers down.
Things stayed tight from there, but the Tigers seemed to score at every key point of the set. With the score at 22-19 in favor of Mizzou, Henning transitioned a big dig from Armendariz into a kill and that was the play that seemingly put Auburn away in the first. Little pitched in a kill for the 24th point and an Auburn service error gave Mizzou the first, 25-22.
Defense was at a premium in the first set as both teams played outstanding offensively. Mizzou hit .538 in the set with 16 kills on 28 swings with just one error. Brimmage led the way with five kills on seven swings while Henning pitched in three kills on seven swings. Kreklow assisted on 12 of the Tigers' 16 kills, but the story of the first set was Auburn's errors. Auburn actually had more kills
(18) than Mizzou in the first, but committed six attack errors in the set.
Mizzou continued to fire on all cylinders in the second as Auburn had no answer for the Tiger attack, which Kreklow continued to spread to a variety of targets. Mizzou reached the 20-point mark of the set before Auburn hit the 10-point mark as it ran away with the second, 25-13, after a back-row kill from Henning.
Mizzou was even better offensively in the second set with 17 kills on .556 hitting, highlighted by six kills from Henning on just seven attacks. The story of the second set was the Tigers' back row, which pulled in 18 digs as Kreklow, Hayes and Armendariz continued to make highlight-reel plays. Most of their biggest digs were transitioned into kills as well in the second set as Mizzou seemed to do everything right in the set.
Out of intermission, Mizzou picked up right where it left off, racing out to a 7-1 lead and eventually a 9-2 lead forcing an Auburn timeout. The Tigers took the next three points to go on top, 12-2, before Auburn started to score some points in the set. But by then, it was too late as Mizzou eventually put the set away at 25-17.
Mizzou will continue play next weekend at Denver Invitational, beginning Friday (Sept. 9) at noon against Drake. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.