Vann and Kreklow Tryout for US National Team

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Molly Kreklow sets a ball at the US National Team tryouts.</i>
MUTIGERS.COM
Molly Kreklow sets a ball at the US National Team tryouts.
MUTIGERS.COM

March 12, 2010

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Two members of the Mizzou volleyball program - Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) and Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) - recently tried out for the USA Volleyball National Team in Colorado Springs, Colo., and participated with some of the nation's elite talent. On hand were national team coaches Hugh McCutcheon and Karch Kiraly along with the entire USA Volleyball staff, making it a great experience for the two Tigers. MUTigers.com recently caught up with the two to find out a little bit more about each of their experiences. Below is a question and answer session with both Vann and Kreklow that details their journeys to the tryouts.

Tiger Libero Caitlyn Vann

On her reasons for trying out for the national team...
"I thought it would be a good opportunity and I wanted to see where I stood nationally for my position. And it's good for networking and experience. I'm looking to go pro after college and it's already really difficult for my position, so knowing the national team coach and talking to all the different coaches is good networking. The more people you know the farther you can go."

On the challenges of being a libero and trying to make the national team...
"It's extremely difficult. It's probably one of the hardest positions because internationally they don't have defensive specialists. So basically just one DS makes the team so it just depends on the market for that year. The national team coach was saying that Stacy Sykora and the other starting libero for the USA team had trouble finding a job, so it's going to be pretty difficult."

On how the success of previous MU liberos has motivated her...
"Obviously this program puts out good liberos, so I want to go do what she (Tatum Ailes) did and maybe extend my experience a little longer than she did. It motivates me because I feel like if she can do it, I can do it."

 

 

On how being an outside hitter in high school will help her make the national team...
"I'm a competitor. I think it helps to have a libero back there who's played in the front row and can call out shots. It's another set of eyes for the hitter. If you've had experience in their position it just helps them that much more."

On her experience trying out for the national team...
"It was a good experience. I went out there, saw a lot of old friends and was able to talk with the national coach for a little bit which was good. I hurt my knee half way through the tryout so that wasn't as good as past experiences. But I thought I had a decent tryout, we'll see."

On how she did on the floor during the tryout...
"I did alright. I didn't have the best tryout I wanted but it was solid. It was the best I could do at the time. Passing and basically everywhere else could have been better. My game is not where I want it to be. So passing, defense, all-around, I just need to be a lot more consistent I guess."

On her plans for the rest of the spring...
"I need to rest my knee and then whoop up on some teams this spring, then train hard in the summer and hopefully get a Big 12 Championship this year."

Tiger Setter Molly Kreklow

On getting to Mizzou early and practicing and getting acquainted with the team...
"It's been really good; I am just getting in with the flow of things. I've learned a lot and I've obviously improved in a lot of different ways as far as volleyball and as far as getting used to school so it's been good."

On what has been more difficult, getting used to volleyball or school...
"I would say neither one has been as hard as I thought they were going to be but probably the school side a little more."

On why volleyball has been so easy for her so far...
"Everyone's been really accepting and it's more individualized, so it's obviously a lot easier to learn on your own first than just getting thrown in with the team."

On how it's been for her to work with Assistant Coach Deng Yang...
"It's been awesome. I feel like I've learned a ton. Everything has changed a lot so I feel like I've gotten a lot better with everything: my overall position and how I set. Just overall, she has changed everything for me."

On whether she ever worked out with Deng Yang as a kid...
"Yeah, that's actually funny because I have pictures on my dorm room wall of when I was 12 years old at camp and I have pictures of her. It's funny, I was looking at them the other day and I'm so young and I was already down on the Hearnes Center floor."

On how her national team tryouts went...
"I thought it went really well. Obviously it was hard to compare me to other people because I was trying out for a different age group than most of them. But I think it was a really good experience to be with most of the people who could be on the national team and just be able to be in the same gym as them as well as the national team coaches, Hugh McCutcheon and Karch Kiraly. They're volleyball legends so, obviously, it was a really good experience. Hopefully it'll help me in years to come and I'll be more comfortable.

On whether she get nervous when trying to talk to someone like Karch Kiraly...
"Yeah, it was actually really nerve-racking the first couple of sessions because, obviously, you don't want to mess up or look bad. But after I got used to it, it was just playing volleyball.

On the most rewarding part of trying out for the national team...
"Probably just playing at a high level. It was really fun to be able to play with people that you see on TV or have heard about as All-Americans. That was really cool."

On whether trying out as a freshman was intimidating...
"It was a little bit at first but. Obviously, you can't play like that because you're not going to play your best. So you just try your best to not look intimidated or act intimidated. You kind of have to get a mind set about it."

On how she felt she did during the tryout...
"I think I did fairly well for my first year. I think I surprised them knowing that I'm a high school graduate and not even in college yet but. Obviously, I'm not where I want to be in five years. So, hopefully in five years I'll be ready to do that."

On where she wants to be in five years...
"Hopefully in a position to play for the national team or pursue professional dreams or whatever. But, hopefully something to continue my career."

On whether she will be up to the task to come in and replacing Lei Wang-Francisco...
"Obviously it's going to be her hard to replace her because she was a very good player, but I like the position I'm in. I am being pushed right into it right away and I think that is probably going to be the best for me and to learn. It'll be easier to be thrown in and go with it rather than fight for a position or wait a couple of years and be on the bench."

On how much harder it is to come in as a setter than an outside hitter at this level...
"Obviously it's not easy for anyone because the pace of the game is so different, but especially for setting. I've learned all new aspects of the game such as learning new sets and having to deal with setting people I've never set before and getting passes from people I've never passed off of before. In the first couple of weeks, that was the hardest part; even just reacting to the passes, because the pace is so much faster. It's definitely maybe a little bit more challenging."

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