Sept. 6, 2010
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou volleyball team has started the 2010 season with six straight wins as it is off to its best start since 2005, the year that the Tigers reached the Elite Eight. Mizzou has won a pair of tournaments to open the season and currently boasts the Big 12's best offense statistically. With a 6-0 start and a pair of Tournament titles under its belt, Mizzou looks to be one of the Big 12's top teams as the preseason winds down.
In fact, Mizzou leads the Big 12 in kills per set (16.11), assists per set (15.11) and ranks second in hitting at .315. After featuring a somewhat one-dimensional offense in 2010, the Tigers currently boast five players with at least 40 kills in 2010 while three have 50 or more. Senior All-Big 12 honoree Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) leads the way with 82 while freshman Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) is second with 64.
What is more impressive about the Tigers' top five hitters is that the lowest hitting percentage among the five hitters is .269, which is by Ampudia who has a team-high 193 attacks. Both Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) and Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) are hitting better than .400 as well, highlighted by Wilson's .486 clip. The pair ranks first and third, respectively, in the Big 12 this season.
A big factor in the improved offense is the addition of freshman setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.), who currently leads the Big 12 in assists per set at 12.89. She has dished 245 in her first six collegiate matches and owns the Big 12's top three-set (47) and four-set (52) assist totals in 2010. She has been named to a pair of All-Tournament teams this season and was named Tiger Invitational MVP in the opening weekend of the season. She has also been named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and was the league's Freshman of the Year in the Preseason.
Mizzou's back row has also seen marked improvement in 2010 thanks to the play of libero Caitlyn Vann
(Muncie, Ind.) who currently ranks second in the Big 12 in digs per set at 5.83. She has Mizzou ranked second in the league with 15.79 per set. Senior Julianna Klein
(Keota, Iowa) has also played well in the back row, pulling in 56 digs this season while giving Mizzou a legitimate back-row weapon as well with 46 kills on .294 hitting.
Mizzou will return to action for its final preseason tournament in Western Kentucky next weekend. Mizzou will face Western Kentucky, Central Arkansas, Tennessee Tech and Virginia Tech before opening Big 12 play against Texas Tech. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball stay tuned to MUTigers.com.