Caitlyn Vann averaged 6.20 digs per set last weekend, helping her earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
Sept. 8, 2010
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What You Need to Know
Mizzou became the second team in Big 12 history to sweep all three of the league's weekly awards as announced by the Big 12 office on Tuesday (Sept. 7). Paola Ampudia was named Offensive Player of the Week, Caitlyn Vann was the Defensive Player of the Week and Molly Kreklow was the Rookie of the Week for the second-straight week.
Mizzou joins Kansas as the only two Big 12 teams with an unblemished record in 2010. The Tigers are also the only team in the league to lose just one set in 2010.
The Tigers are 6-0 to start the 2010 season, marking their best start to a season since 2005. In 2005, Mizzou began the season by winning its first 12 matches and eventually ended up just one set shy of the Final Four.
Mizzou is currently pacing the Big 12 in kills per set (16.11) and assists per set (15.11) while ranking second in hitting at .315. Mizzou also ranks second in digs per set at 15.79.
Head coach Wayne Kreklow sits just three wins shy of his 100th career win as the head coach at Mizzou.
Headed to the Bluegrass State
Off to its best start since 2005 at 6-0, the Mizzou volleyball team will continue its non-conference schedule this weekend at the Western Kentucky Invitational, hosted by Western Kentucky in Bowling, Ky. Joining the Tigers and Hilltoppers at the two-day event will be Virginia Tech, Central Arkansas and Tennessee Tech. A complete schedule of Mizzou's action is listed below.
11:30 a.m. - Mizzou vs. Tennessee Tech
7 p.m. - Mizzou at Western Kentucky
10 a.m. - Mizzou vs. Central Arkansas
4 p.m. - Mizzou vs. Virginia Tech
The Tigers enjoyed their weekend in Malibu, Calif., last weekend as they won the Pepperdine Asics Challenge after defeating teams from Eastern Washington, Rice (rv) and Pepperdine (rv). Mizzou lost just one set in the tournament and that came against Pepperdine in the championship match. Senior outside hitter Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) was named Tournament MVP while freshman setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) was named to All-Tournament team. The three wins moved Mizzou's record to 6-0 in 2010, its best start since 2005 when it opened 12-0.
A Clean Sweep
After its fine performance in Malibu, the Mizzou volleyball team swept the Big 12 Weekly awards this week, marking only the second time in league history that one school has swept all three awards in the same week. Ampudia was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time in her career after leading the team with 50 kills on .261 hitting. She paced Mizzou in kills in all three matches and posted a season-best 19 in the Tigers' four-set win over Pepperdine.
For the second straight week, Kreklow was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week after anchoring the league's top offense. She averaged 13.60 assists per set and set a new career-best with her 52 against Pepperdine. She also passed out 47 against Rice, a Mizzou record for assists in a three-set match during the 25-point era.
Vann claimed her fourth Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honor after pacing the league in digs at 6.20 per set. She had 18 or more digs in each of the three matches, including a season-best 25 against Pepperdine.
A Possible Milestone
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow sits three wins shy of 100 as the head coach of the Tigers. Kreklow took over the program in 2005 and has compiled a 97-62 record since that time and has guided Mizzou to three NCAA Tournaments. With three wins this weekend, he will pass the century mark as a head coach. He and Susan Kreklow are a combined 206-108 at Mizzou.
Moving on Up
After not receiving a single vote in the preseason AVCA Top 25 Poll, the Tigers' play as of late has drawn the attention of coaches from around the nation. Following their Tiger Invitational, the Tigers ranked 34th in the poll and jumped to No. 27 this week after defeating a very competitive field at the Pepperdine Asics Challenge last weekend. Mizzou has not been in the top 25 since the opening weekend of play in 2007, but with a few wins, the Tigers could crack the poll in 2010.
Atop the Big 12
Off to its best start since 2005, Mizzou is one of only two teams in the Big 12 to not lose a match thus far in 2010. Kansas is the only other team in the league to go unbeaten through the first two weekends of play but Mizzou has lost a Big 12 low one set this season. The next-best is three sets lost, making the Tigers run that much more impressive. In fact, two of the three teams Mizzou defeated last week were receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll and both Nevada and Maryland have gone unbeaten since playing in the Tiger Invitational as the Tigers have played a tough schedule so far this season.
It is hard to argue that Mizzou hasn't had the best offense in the Big 12 at this point in the season. In fact, Mizzou leads the Big 12 in kills per set (16.11), assists per set (15.11) and is ranked second in hitting at .315. In fact, Mizzou has five hitters with at least 40 kills on the season and two - Paola Ampudia and Lisa Henning - have more than 60. Ampudia leads all Big 12 hitters with 4.32 kills per set and her 4.89 points per set ranks second in the league. Of the five hitters with 40 or more kills, the lowest hitting percentage is .269 and that is from Ampudia, who leads the team in attacks. Those five hitters have combined to hit .325 this season as well.
Stuck in the Middle with You
The Tiger middle hitters, comprised of Catie Wilson and Brittney Brimmage, are a big reason for the Tigers' success offensively this season. The pair is hitting a combined .439 with 98 kills and only 18 total errors. Wilson is leading the Big 12 in hitting at .486 and has just five attack errors on the season, a team low despite having 74 attacks. Brimmage, who is arguably the team's best overall athlete, is hitting .407 with 57 kills, good for third on the team. Her .407 clip also ranks her third in the league.
Setting the Table
Freshman setter Molly Kreklow has drawn comparisons to former Tiger All-American Lindsey Hunter before she even played a collegiate match, creating high expectations for the Delano, Minn., native. But through the first two weeks of play, Kreklow has more than lived up to those expectations as she continues to lead the league in assists per set (12.89) and is quarterbacking the league's top offense, statistically. She has spread the ball to five different targets this season - all of whom have at least 40 kills - and she has done so with one hand in a splint after dislocating her pinkie in preseason practice.
In the Tigers' win over Rice at Pepperdine, Kreklow handed out 47 helpers, which is a Mizzou record for assists in a three-set match (25-point set era). She passed out 18 helpers in the second set of that match, which is also a single-set Mizzou record in the 25-point era. She also dished a career-best 52 against Pepperdine and notched 37 against EWU.
The Power of Paola
Senior outside hitter Paola Ampudia lived up to her Preseason All-Big 12 billing over the weekend as she leaped up the conference standings in kills after posting 50 in the Tigers' three wins. She is now averaging 4.32 kills per set, which is tops in the league. Prior to the tournament at Pepperdine, Ampudia was seventh in the Big 12 in kills per set, but she averaged 5.00 per set at Pepperdine, moving her from seventh to first. She also ranks second in the league in points per set at 4.89 as she averaged 5.70 points per set over the weekend.
The Defense is Pretty Good Too
Through the first two weekends of play, the Tigers are also ranked second in the Big 12 in total digs at 15.79 per set. A big reason for that has been the play of libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) who is ranked second in the Big 12 in digs per set at 5.63. She paced the league last weekend at 6.20 en-route to earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
A New Role for Jules?
Senior outside hitter Julianna Klein sits just two kills shy of cracking the all-time top 10 in career kills at Mizzou with 1,047, despite somewhat of a changed role this season. She was once the Tigers' go-to hitter as she is the active leader in attacks, but her back-row play this season has been paramount in the Tigers' success. She has pulled in 56 digs (second on the team) and has committed just two reception errors on 91 service chances, making her a steady option in the back row. She has also been an offensive weapon this season out of the back row, totaling 46 kills on .294 hitting. She had a season-best 14 against Utah Valley this season.
Vann Takes Her Spot in Record Book
Senior libero Caitlyn Vann finished the Tiger Invitational with 45 digs (5.00 per set), earning her All-Tournament honors. She then came back last week to tally 62 total digs (6.20 per set), earning her Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. Her 107 digs this season have moved her career total to 1,467, trailing only former Tiger Tatum Ailes for first all-time. Ailes played all four of her years in the 30-point scoring era while Vann has played in 25-point sets since 2008. Had she played in 30-point sets, we could be looking at Mizzou's all-time career digs leader.
Another Fab Frosh
Kreklow isn't the only Tiger freshman who is putting together a fine first season in Black and Gold. Classmate Lisa Henning is turning heads with her powerful arm as she has 64 kills on the season - second-best on the team - on .283 hitting. After the first weekend of play, she became the first true freshman to lead the Tigers in kills during each of her first two matches during the rally scoring era. She is also the only athlete to do so under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow at Mizzou.
Wilson Hits Her Way Into Record Books
Heading into the season, senior middle hitter Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) ranked sixth on the all-time hitting percentage list at Mizzou. But after the first two weekends, Wilson has climbed to fifth after hitting .571 at the Tiger Invitational and .467 at the Pepperdine Asics Challenge, moving her career clip from .279 to .292. She has a ways to go to crack the top four (Diane Berg, .308), but with a few more weekends like the last, Wilson could crack the top four by season's end.
Support From Tiger Nation
After the first two weeks of play, Mizzou currently ranks 14th overall in average attendance after averaging 1,633 fans per match at the Tiger Invitational. A season-high 1,872 fans watch the Tigers top Utah Valley. Not only that, but the Tigers' student group, the VolleyZOU, came in numbers as well with more than 300 VolleyZOU members showing up for each match, showing unrivaled support from Tiger nation. In fact, few schools have ranked as highly as Mizzou in average attendance since 2000. In each season since the Kreklows took over, Mizzou has ranked in at least the top 20 in average attendance.
Kreklow Earns Big 12 Freshman of the Year
Freshman setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) brought with her plenty of accolades when she arrived on campus in January, but she added another in the preseason as the Big 12 coaches named Kreklow the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year. Expected to take over the starting setting role this season, Kreklow is a two-time AAU All-American, an AVCA/Under Armour All-American and a three-time AAU National Champion with Mizuno Northern Lights. What is impressive about her nod is that a pair of Texas signees - Ashley Bannister (No. 12) and Hannah Allison (No. 9) - ranked ahead of Kreklow (No. 20) on the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces list.
2010 Freshman Class Earns Praise
Despite having five seniors and two juniors on the 2010 roster, the Mizzou volleyball program will have plenty of fresh faces on the floor in 2010. Aside from Kreklow, who comes to Mizzou as the No. 20 overall prospect in the nation, the Tigers add Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.), Paige Buchanan (Manchester, Mo.) and Ahston Bodenstab (Blue Springs, Mo.). Henning is the No. 50 overall national recruit and will likely make an immediate impact at the outside hitter position. Buchanan and Bodenstab will also bolster the back row as both are defensive specialists. The four freshmen comprised the No. 14 overall recruiting class according the PrepVolleyball.com. The only Big 12 team to rank ahead of Mizzou in the PrepVolleyball.com rankings was Texas.
Klein Plays in Brazil
Senior outside hitter Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) spent 10 days of her summer playing with the Bring-It Promotions/USA Developmental Volleyball tour in Brazil. She, along with 11 of the top collegiate players in the nation, played against some of Brazil's top national teams while taking in the sights that the country has to offer. The program helps line up professional careers for volleyball players after college by providing international experience. It also serves as a pipeline for USA Volleyball and all of those who may be interested in playing for Team USA after college.
Scouting Tennessee Tech
The Golden Eagles enter the tournament at 2-6 on the season with their two wins coming against Northwestern State and Belmont. The Golden Eagles are led by outside hitter Leah Meffert, who is averaging 3.04 kills per set on .216 hitting. No hitter on the TT roster is hitting better than .252 as the team comes in at .191 in 2010. Mizzou is 3-0 all-time against the Golden Eagles but have not played them since 1992. That year they bested the Eagles twice in four sets.
Scouting Western Kentucky
The Hilltoppers sit at 5-2 overall in 2010 after sweeping through the Xavier Invitational where they defeated Northeastern, IPFW and Xavier. WKU's only two losses on the season came at the hands of Purdue and Northern Iowa, which were its first to matches of the season. The Hilltoppers boast a well-spread offensive attack as five players are averaging more than 2.00 kills per set. The Tigers and Hilltoppers have not met since 2001 - a 3-1 win for the Tigers - but Mizzou leads the all-time series, 3-1.
Scouting Central Arkansas
The Sugar Bears come into the tournament at 5-3, defeating teams from Murray State, Northern Arizona and TCU, to name a few. They also took a set off of Big 12 foe Oklahoma, who was picked to finish fourth in the league by the coaches. Outside hitter Jessica Hayes leads the Sugar Bears with 3.88 kills per set coming into the weekend. Mizzou and Central Arkansas have never met.
Scouting Virginia Tech
The Hokies have run out to a 5-1 record to open the season and their only loss has come at the hands of No. 19 Tennessee, making them a formidable opponent this weekend. As a team, the Hokies are hitting .264 on the season and are led senior middle hitter Cara Baarendse, who is hitting .431 while averaging 3.00 kills per set. She was named to the CVU.com Players of the Week after her performance last weekend. Mizzou and Virginia Tech have never played eachother,
Kreklow Sets for Junior National Team
Klein wasn't the only Tiger to spend a portion of her summer south of the American border. Kreklow spent a week in Tijuana, Mexico, as a member of the USA Volleyball Junior National Team at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NORCECA) Continental Championships. Kreklow was the team's starting setter and helped Team USA to a perfect 5-0 record while starting four of the five matches. She also dished out a team-high 61 assists in the tournament. The spot on the Junior National Team was her second stint with USA Volleyball as she also set for the Youth National Team last summer. Kreklow was the only player on the roster to boast collegiate experience after enrolling in classes back in January.
Henning Guides Club to Junior Nationals
Freshman Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) led her KC Extreme Club Team to a Junior Olympic Northeast Qualifier title after winning 10 matches during Easter weekend in Baltimore, Md. The title secured her club a spot in the Junior National Championships. Henning, a 6-1 outside hitter, was KC Extreme's go-to player throughout the tournament as her play was paramount in guiding the team to a National Championship berth. What was even more impressive is that the team had already secured a bid to the tournament, but battled back to beat a very talented Encinitas Wave - a club team based out of San Diego, Calif. - to earn the tournament title. The Wave, led by UCLA signee Kelly Reeves, claimed the first set in the match, but Henning and KC Extreme won each of the final two sets to win top honors at the tournament.
Vann Tries Out for US National Team
Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) 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 tiger libero.
"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 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."
Bodenstab Makes the Transition
Last season, freshman Ashton Bodenstab (Blue Springs, Mo.) competed with the Mizzou track and field program before making the transition to volleyball this season. Bodenstab was training in the combined events under Mizzou assistant coach Dan Lefever. But she specialized in volleyball during high school and when the opportunity presented itself to walk onto Mizzou's team, she did just that. She was an All-State, All-District and All-Area selection in 2008 before coming to Mizzou in 2009.
Tigers Build New Team Room
The Tigers got a surprise when they came to the team's first official practice as the coaching staff spent the summer designing a new team room. The room, which sits across the hall from the current volleyball locker room in the old Hearnes Center interview room, features a sitting area with leather couches, work space for student-athletes to study and a brand new home entertainment center.
Volleyball - Tiger Cup Winners
After spending countless hours in the community last season, the Mizzou volleyball team was awarded the Tiger Cup Trophy. The Tiger Cup recognizes the Mizzou team that earned the most overall points in the team competition. Points were awarded for achievement in academics, athletics and for community involvement. Awarded a prize of $3,000, the volleyball players stayed true to their commitment to the community and immediately donated their entire prize to the Mid-Missouri Susan G. Komen Foundation, which raises funds for Breast Cancer Awareness.
In the 10 seasons that Wayne and Susan Kreklow have been at the helm of the Mizzou program, the Tigers have seen an unprecedented level of success. In fact, Mizzou has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in eight of the past 10 seasons, making them one of only 16 teams nationally to accomplish that feat. The Kreklows won their 200th game at Mizzou last season after defeating Texas Tech, 3-0, in Lubbock. That is good for an average of 20 wins per season, a bench mark that usually results in a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Milestones for the Kreklows
Over the past two seasons, the Kreklows have earned plenty of milestone wins. In their last win of 2008 at Colorado, the Kreklows won the program's 600th win of all time. Last season, Team Kreklow (Wayne and Susan together) won their 200th win at Mizzou after topping Texas Tech. Team Kreklow also claimed its 700th win all-time last season while Wayne Kreklow won his 400th game as head coach as well.
Follow Mizzou on Twitter
Mizzou volleyball has started its own Twitter page. Be sure to follow the Tigers all season long at http://twitter.com/MU_Volleyball. The site will be updated all year long with updates on the team and special insight into what it is like to be a member of the Mizzou volleyball team. Check back all season for updates.
Tiger Volleyball on the Radio
The Mizzou volleyball team will have each of its home and its Big 12 road matches live on the radio at MUTigers.com all season long. At home, the live broadcasts will be streamed with live video on Mizzou All-Access. Also, video updates and highlights from the Tigers' road trips will be posted on MUTigers.com all season long. Ross Taylor of Mizzou All-Access will serve as the voice of the Tigers while former Tiger All-American setter Lindsey Hunter will provide play-by-play.
The Mizzou VolleyBlog
The Mizzou VolleyBlog will be back in 2010 and will offer live updates from each Tiger match. Fans can access the blog at MUTigers.com and it will be an interactive experience for fans as the moderator will take questions and comments from fans at each of the home and away matches. It will also offer exclusive video and student-athlete and coach interviews throughout the season, including video features on each of the student-athletes.
This weekend marks the Tigers' final non-conference match of 2010 as they will open Big 12 Play against Texas Tech on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Mizzou will host Iowa State at the Hearnes Center on Sept. 18 as well.
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