Aug. 29, 2012
Mizzou Volleyball at Limpscomb Invitational
Date: Aug. 31-Sept. 1
Schedule: See Below
Location: Columbia, Mo.
Arena: Hearnes Center
Live Stream: Mizzou Network
Twitter Updates: @MU_Volleyball
Game Notes: Lipscomb Invite Notes
What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
The Tigers continue their season at the Lipscomb Invitational against Lipscomb, Houston and Appalachian State.
Mizzou is coming off of a second-place finish at the Tiger Invite last weekend after going 3-1.
MU had won the last five Tiger Invites before last weekend as they hadn't lost a match in the tourney since 2007
Friday's match against Houston will be the 1,000th career match for Wayne and Susan Kreklow.
On the second weekend of play, Mizzou is 7-1 since 2010 with a pair of tournament wins.
Mizzou is the only team in this weekend's tournament with a win this season as the other three teams are 0-9.
Following the first weekend of play, Mizzou ranks third in the SEC in hitting (.332) and assists (13.08).
Sophomore Whitney Little leads the SEC in hitting (.544) after the first week of play.
All-SEC Preseason pick Lisa Henning is third in the league in kills per set at 4.38.
Setter Molly Kreklow is second in the SEC in assists per set (11.00) and leads the league in double-doubles (2).
Mizzou's .477 attack percentage against Nicholls State last weekend is the best clip by an SEC team this season.
Jade Hayes has pulled in double-digit digs in four straight matches to open the season.
Mizzou is coming off of its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 12 seasons.
The Tigers return four of their top five attackers from last year and 82-percent of their total offense.
Henning was the first ever Tiger to lead the Big 12 in points per set and kills per set in a single season in 2011.
The Tigers landed 2010's No. 9 overall recruit in Taylor Simpson, who transferred to Mizzou in June.
Simpson led the Tigers with 12 kills on .476 hitting in the annual Black & Gold Scrimmage on Aug. 17.
She hit .273 last week while posting 31 kills and pulling in 32 digs last weekend.
Whitney Little and Katie O'Brien played with the USA Development team in Italy and Croatia this summer.
Little tied the school record with 138 blocks in her freshman season in 2011.
Tigers Head to Nashville for First Road Trip of 2012
Tigers At Nonconference Tournaments
After finishing second at its home tournament - the Tiger Invitational - last weekend, the Mizzou volleyball program will hit the road for the first time in 2012 as it heads to the Lipscomb Invitational in Nashville. The Tigers will play matches against Houston, Lipscomb, a perennial NCAA Tournament team and Appalachian State. Coming in at 3-1 overall, Mizzou is the only team among the four at the tournament with a win so far this season as the tournament field is a combined 0-9. But don't let the records fool you, each team played in very difficult tournaments to open the season - Lipscomb at national power Kentucky, Houston at Ohio State and Appalachian State at Minnesota. Mizzou's tournament schedule is below.
Since 2010, Mizzou has seen plenty of success when traveling to nonconference tournaments. In fact, in the second week of play at tournaments since 2010, Mizzou is 7-1 with a pair of tournament wins after capturing the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Bash a season ago and the Pepperdine/Asics Challenge in 2010. In all, Mizzou has not finished lower than second at a nonconference tournament since 2009 when it took third place at the Utah Valley La Quinta Suites Invitational back in 2009. Last year in road tournaments Mizzou won the Blue Raider Bash before finishing as the runner-up at American and Denver.
Last Time Out
Mizzou opened its season with a second-place finish at the Tiger Invitaional. Mizzou swept North Florida behind 11.0 team blocks before having a great offensive night to beat Virginia Tech, 3-1. The Tigers then hit .477 in a sweep of Nicholls State last Saturday but were swept by Michigan in the championship match.
A New Era Begins
2012 will mark the Tigers' first year in the SEC. In all, Mizzou has played 61 matches against current SEC schools in program history, compiling a 25-36 overall record. Of course, many of those matches were between former Big 12 foe Texas A&M as Mizzou is 13-13 overall against schools that were in the SEC last season. Mizzou was 1-1 last year against SEC schools, sweeping Auburn and losing to Florida, 3-1, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Tigers Picked Fourth in SEC East
The Tigers, in the their first SEC Preseason Poll, were picked to finish fourth in the Eastern Division by the league's coaches. The loaded SEC East features league favorite Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida, all of which rank ahead of Mizzou. The Gators narrowly edged the Tigers in the poll for third place. The Tigers received 37 votes in the poll while Tennessee (12), UK (30) and Florida (35) edged the Tigers.
Historic First Two Seasons for Kreklow
Junior setter Molly Kreklow has accomplished a lot in her short career at Mizzou and the numbers show it. In fact, Kreklow has quarterbacked the Tigers to a 43-24 record (.642) over the past two seasons and a pair of NCAA Tournament wins (2-2 overall record, including a Sweet 16 appearance). The 43 wins for the Tigers over the last two seasons are the most for a Tiger setter since All-American and current assistant coach Lindsey Hunter won 45 matches from 2002-03. Kreklow already has more NCAA Tournament wins than Hunter did through her first two seasons. Also, Kreklow has set the Tigers to a .232 attack percentage in her first two seasons, the Tigers' best two-year attack percentage since 2004-05, when Hunter led the team to a .292 clip over those two seasons.
Henning Makes History Too
Junior outside hitter Lisa Henning has been a huge asset for the Tigers in her first two seasons in black and gold as well. In fact, since the rally scoring era began (2001), no Tiger has compiled more kills in her first two seasons (four-year players) than Henning as she has posted 789 heading into the season. The next-best Tiger on the list is Jessica Vander Kooi, who tallied 678 in 2003 and 2004. Henning currently leads the team with 57 kills this season, pushing her total to 846 over her two-plus seasons. Vander Kooi holds the record for kills in a Tigers' first three seasons with 1,040. Henning needs just 194 kills to pass that mark, so that is a stat to keep an eye on this season.
Top First Two-Year Kill Totals (four-year players)
More on the Tiger Junior Class
Henning - 789, 846 including her third season
Vander Kooi - 678 in first two seasons, 1040 in first three
Na Yang - 602 in first two seasons, 953 in first three
With 43 wins through their first two seasons, the Mizzou junior class has the chance to become the winningest class in program history with almost two full seasons remaining. If you discount the years from 1974-1981 when a volleyball season featured close to 60 matches (as opposed to today's schedule which features closer to 35 matches per season), the Tiger junior class has a chance to become the winningest four-year class in program history. With three wins last weekend, the class now has 46 wins in two-plus seasons. Below is a look at the winningest four-year stretches in program history (modern scheduling era).
Winningest Four-Year Stretches
Little Leads SEC in Hitting
2002-05 - 90 wins
2002-04 - 89 wins
1982-85 - 84 wins
Mizzou Junior Class (Kreklow, Henning) - 46 wins
Following the weekend, Mizzou middle hitter Whitney Little
leads the Tigers and the SEC in hitting at .544 as she finished second on the team with 36 kills over the four matches last week. Little's 36 kills are also the second-most among the league's top 10 hitters last week, trailing only Florida's Chole Mann, who had 42 kills on .452 hitting.
Mizzou Posts Fifth-Best Attack Percentage in Program History
As a team, Mizzou hit .477 in its sweep of Nicholls State last weekend, marking the fifth-best attack percentage by a Tiger team in the rally scoring era. The .477 clip is the best by a Tiger team since Dec. 3, 2005, when Mizzou defeated Arkansas in the NCAA Tournament.
Kreklow Improves Hitting
Heading into the season, junior setter Molly Kreklow was more known for her ability to run an offense, but it has been her offensive production that has caught the eye of many following the first weekend of play. In addition to guiding the team to a .332 attack percentage in the first weekend, Kreklow also proved to be a formidable attacker, posting 15 kills on just 22 attacks without an error, good for a .682 clip. While her main role will be to set up the Tiger offense, her improved attacking is reason for opponents to worry. She entered the season as just a .179 career attacker, so her .682 clip is a vast improvement. Also, last year, she tallied just 86 kills in 34 matches (2.5 per match) while she has 15 through four matches (3.75 per match) this season.
Hayes With Double-Digit Digs in Four Straight
The libero position was one of the biggest question marks for the Tigers heading into the 2012 season as they needed to replace the production of four-year starter and last year's libero Priscilla Armendariz. But following last weekend, sophomore Jade Hayes appears to have given the coaching staff plenty of reason for optimism moving forward. She pulled in double-digit dig totals in all four matches last weekend, including a career-best 17 in the Tigers' four-set win over Virginia Tech. She currently leads the team with 53 digs (4.08 per set) this season and has converted 93-percent of her service receptions.
Hartsel Sees Increased Playing Time
Sophomore middle hitter Melissa Hartsel saw limited playing time in her first year as a Tiger in 2011, but it looks like she will play a much bigger role on this year's team. She started all four matches last weekend and finished the weekend with seven kills, seven blocks and a .385 hitting percentage. She will likely split time with newcomer Lydia Ely at the second middle hitter position behind Whitney Little all season long.
A Look at the Freshman Class' Impact
Kreklow, Henning Land on All-SEC Preseason Team
After the first weekend, the Mizzou freshman class got some playing time. Freshman middle hitter Lydia Ely played in eight sets while classmate Regan Peltier played in four sets. Below ate the stats for the Tiger freshmen.
The Mizzou volleyball program may be new to the Southeastern Conference, but it has already earned the respect of its peers as the Tigers placed two student-athletes on the Preseason All-SEC Team, which was released on Aug. 7. Juniors Lisa Henning
and Molly Kreklow
were named to the nine-person All-SEC Preseason Team. Mizzou joined Kentucky and league-favorite Tennessee as the only teams to place two players on the All-SEC Preseason Team. Henning is fifth among active SEC players with 789 kills in her career.
Kreklows Participate in USA Volleyball A-2 Program Over the Summer
Junior Molly Kreklow and Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow spent 10 days during the summer in Columbus, Ohio, for the USA Volleyball A-2 Program - Molly as a player and Wayne as a coach, albeit of different teams. Wayne coached the Blue Team to a perfect 3-0 record in pool play, but his team lost a semifinal matchup, dropping it to the third-place match, which it won, 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-11) over Molly's Red Team.
Little, O'Brien Play Together in Italy, Croatia
Sophomores Whitney Little and Katie O'Brien played with the USA Development/Bring-It Promotions tour in Italy and Croatia this summer. The Tiger duo played with some of the nation's most talented underclassmen over the week-long tour and their team played in the European Global Challenge. It marks the third straight season that Mizzou has had a student-athlete play in the program. Former Tiger Julianna Klein played in Brazil prior to the 2010 season while current Tiger junior Lisa Henning played in China prior to the 2011 season.
Houston comes into the Lipscomb Invitational with an 0-3 mark, but the Cougars played a very tough tournament field last weekend at Ohio State. In fact the Cougars were swept by Ohio State and Oregon - both of which reside in the top 25 - before falling to Toledo in a tough five-setter. Senior Katie Norris leads the team with 39 kills on just .160 hitting while Chandace Tyron has pitched in 31 kills on .318 hitting from the middle hitter spot.
Mizzou is 3-0 all-time against Houston. The last meeting between the two teams came in 2007 when the Tigers claimed a 3-1 win over the Cougars in San Marcos, Texas. Prior to that, the last meeting between the two was in 1985 and before that in 1983.
Lipscomb went 0-3 last week, but played in a very competitive tournament field in Kentucky. The first match for Lipscomb was a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Long Beach State and then, Lipscomb took nationally-ranked Kentucky to five sets on its home floor, but fell in the fifth, 15-10. North Carolina then handed Lipscomb its third loss of the tournament. Lauren Ford and Kaycee Green lead the team with 32 and 27 kills, respectively. Lipscomb hit just .084 in the first weekend of play at Kentucky. Conversely, Lipscomb allowed opponents to hit .247 against it last weekend as it struggled with the block, averaging less than one per set at .082 per frame. Mizzou and Lipscomb have never met.
Scouting Appalachian State
Last weekend, Appalachian State struggled in losses to Minnesota, Seton Hall and James Madison. The Mountaineers won just one set last weekend, coming in a 27-25 triumph against Seton Halll in the third. The Mountaineers were limited to just .051 hitting last weekend and averaged just 8.30 kills per set. However, the strength of the team appears to be the back row, which averaged 16.80 digs per set last weekend. Mizzou and Appalachian State have never met.
Henning First Tiger to Lead Big 12 in Kills Per Set, Points Per Set
Sophomore Lisa Henning was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 First Team last season and an AVCA All-American Third Team selection, becoming the first Tiger underclassman to be named to the All-America teams. Henning led the Big 12 in kills per set (4.65) and points per set (5.16) in league play, becoming the first Tiger to ever accomplish such a feat. She also posted the Big 12's top four point performances in league play and the top two kills performances. She gives Mizzou a pair of unanimous All-Big 12 picks in the last two years after Paola Ampudia earned a spot on the 2010 team.
Tigers Land Heralded Recruit Taylor Simpson
The Tigers landed a huge commit in the offseason as sophomore Taylor Simpson transferred to Mizzou. Most recently, Simpson played at the University of Nebraska but had transferred to Florida State this summer before committing to Mizzou. She is eligible to play immediately in 2012 and will give the Tigers another solid hitter at the net. She was rated the No. 9 recruit nationally by PrepVolleyball.com before committing to Nebraska in 2010. She is the highest-ranked recruit in program history.
Connection for Hayes and Simpson
Although Taylor Simpson will have to adapt to playing with a new team this season, the transition will be made a little bit easier thanks to a former teammate that is on the Tiger roster. Defensive specialist Jade Hayes played with Simpson on the USAVB Youth Olympic Team in 2010. The duo led Team USA to a Silver Medal in Singapore.
Mizzou has eclipsed the 20-win mark in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2004 and 2005. In 2010, Mizzou won 22 matches en-route to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and last year the Tigers had 21 wins, showing the stability of the program under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow.
Tigers Coming off of Second-Consecutive NCAA Tournament and 10th in 12 Seasons
The Tigers finished last season in somewhat of an improbable spot despite having nine underclassmen on a roster of 11, including seven freshmen. But that didn't stop the talented bunch from qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, marking the second straight appearance and the 10th time in the last 12 seasons, all coming under Wayne and Susan Kreklow.
An Experienced Youthful Group
It is a well known fact that Mizzou was the youngest team (% of underclassmen) to qualify for the NCAA Tournament last season, but heading into 2012, the Tigers boast a roster that is comprised of 10 underclassmen and two juniors, making them the youngest team in the SEC. In fact, Mizzou's roster is 83-percent underclassmen and it is the only SEC roster that does not have a senior. Mississippi State is the next-youngest team in the league as it is comprised of 76.9-percent underclassmen. What is impressive about the Tigers' youth is that they are a very experienced group as well as seven of the 10 underclassmen are sophomores and helped guide Mizzou to the NCAA Tournament as freshmen last year.
Kreklow Nets Win No. 400
Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow earned his 400th victory as a head coach in the Tigers' win over Baylor on Nov. 5 last season. Of his now 401 wins, 134 have come during his time as head coach at Mizzou. He was won nearly 63-percent of his matches at Mizzou.
Kreklows Win No. 750
Mizzou's win at Kansas on Nov. 2 last season marked the 750th career win for Wayne and Susan Kreklow as a pair. The win total dates back to their time as co-head coaches of the men's and women's teams at Columbia College. Of the now 752 wins, 243 of those have come during the Kreklow's 12 seasons at Mizzou.
Henning Breaks School Record
Staying on the topic of Lisa Henning, she broke the school record with 523 kills last season and became just the third Tiger in program history to eclipse the 500-kill mark in a single season. What is even more remarkable about Henning is that she had almost 400 attacks than the next-best Tiger last year but still hit .246 on the season.
Kreklow Keeps Digging
Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow broke the Mizzou single season record for digs by a setter in the rally scoring era with her 307 last season. Lei Wang-Francisco held the previous mark with 284 in 2007. The all-time record for digs by a setter in a single season is 334 by Gwen Mullens in 1994, but that was pre-rally scoring.
Wilson Nets 300 Kills
Freshman outside hitter Emily Wilson had 320 kills last season and is the first Tiger freshman since 2006 to break the 300-kill mark in a single season. Her 320 kills this season are the fourth most ever by a Tiger freshman and the second-best total in the rally scoring era. Yvette Buhlig holds the freshman record with 361 back in 1988 while Weiwen Wang (343, 2007) is the only freshman to rank ahead of Wilson during the rally scoring era. She was an All-Big 12 Freshman Team selection in 2011.
Big Crowds at Home
Mizzou finished the regular season ranked 13th in average home attendance at 2,298 fans per match. That mark also ranked the Tigers second in the Big 12 behind only league champion Texas. In all, 25,279 fans attended Tiger home matches, helping the Tigers to a 10-3 mark inside the Hearnes Center this season.
The Tigers just completed the most successful decade in program history last year. In fact, Mizzou has averaged 22 wins per season since 2000 and is one of just 22 teams nationally to qualify for 10 NCAA Tournaments since 2000. The Tigers were on that average last year with 21 wins and a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
A Look at the Tiger Freshmen
Aside from newcomer transfer Taylor Simpson, Mizzou will have two more fresh faces on the court this season as freshmen Lydia Ely and Regan Peltier join the team in 2012. Ely, listed at 6-6, is the tallest player to ever compete for Mizzou and was the No. 4 recruit in the state of Missouri. Peltier was a second team AVCA/Under Armour High School All-American last season and is a versatile athlete that can play nearly everywhere on the floor. Both should make an immediate impact this season with the Tigers. Ely posted four kills and three blocks in three sets for the Black Team at the Black & Gold Scrimmage while Peltier had four kills on 15 swings with two digs for the Black Team.
Brimmage Returns as Volunteer Assistant Coach
After a very successful career as a middle hitter at Mizzou, Brittney Brimmage returns to Mizzou to be a volunteer assistant coach with the team in 2012. She will primarily serve as a practice player on the Tiger scout team, giving the Tigers a great middle hitter to compete against in practice every day. Brimmage was a preseason All-Big 12 pick and was twice recognized as a member of the COBRA Magazine All-National Team, recognizing the top African-American players in the nation.
Tigers On Television
The Mizzou volleyball program will be televised nationally four times, including a program-high three times on ESPNU this season. In all, the Tigers have five scheduled televised matches that will be seen throughout the state of Missouri this season. Below are the television dates for the Tigers.
Sept. 12 vs. Tennessee - ESPNU
Volleyball on the Air
Oct. 14 vs. Mississippi State - ESPNU
Oct. 19 at Ole Miss - SportSouth
Oct. 24 - at Georgia - ESPNU
Nov. 2 - vs. South Carolina - Mizzou Sports Network
If you can't be at the Tigers' matches this season, you can still catch all of the action at MUTigers.com as all of the matches will be streamed with audio and home matches will have video and audio. Jim Grundy will be in his first year as the team's play-by-play announcer. All broadcasts can be accessed at MUTigers.tv.
Mizzou will be back in action next weekend as it heads to another nonconference tournament in SEC country at Morehead State. At that tournament, Mizzou will play against Valparaiso, South Carolina State, Savannah State and host Morehead State, which the Tigers played at Michigan back in the 2009 season. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.