Julianna Klein and the Tigers topped Kansas at last year's "Dig for a Cure."
Sept. 20, 2010
The Opening Serve - What You Need to Know
Texas is the second-straight ranked opponent for the Tigers as they welcomed No. 11 Iowa State to the Heanres Center last Saturday. Mizzou is 2-1 against teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll having topped Pepperdine (rv) and Rice (rv) and losing to No. 11 Iowa State.
Wednesday's match will serve as Mizzou volleyball's annual "Dig for the Cure" match. One dollar from every ticket sold will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation to benefit breast cancer awareness and research. Also, Mizzou will be wearing pink jerseys at the match, which will later be auctioned on MUTigers.com with all proceeds going to the Komen Foundation.
Senior Julianna Klein posted her 100th ace of her career against ISU on Saturday, which places her in some elite company. With her 100th ace, she became just the third player under Wayne and Susan Kreklow to tally 1,200 career kills, 600 digs and 100 aces. Only Shen Danru and Jessica Vander Kooi have accomplished that feat under the Kreklows at Mizzou.
Freshman Molly Kreklow continues to lead the Big 12 in assists per set at 11.65. She is ninth nationally.
Mizzou still ranks in the Big 12's top three in each of the major offensive statistical categories (kills, assists, hitting). Nebraska and Iowa State - both top 10 teams - are the only other Big 12 teams to do so.
Another Ranked Opponent Up Next
After falling to No. 11 Iowa State at the Hearnes Center on Friday, the Mizzou volleyball team will square off against another nationally-ranked team is it welcomes No. 12 Texas to the Hearnes Center Wednesday at 6:30. The match will mark the fourth time this season that Mizzou has played against a team that was either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll. Mizzou has gone 2-1 in such matches as it bested both Pepperdine and Rice, both if which were receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll and lost to No. 11 Iowa State last Saturday.
Dig for the Cure
Wednesday's match with the Longhorns will serve as Mizzou volleyball's annual "Dig for the Cure" match in hopes of raising awareness for breast cancer. One dollar from each ticket sold to the match will benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Tigers will be wearing pink jerseys, which will be auctioned off on MUTigers.com following the match with all proceeds once again benefiting the Komen Foundation.
Last Time Out
The Tigers came out strong and took the first set from No. 11 Iowa State before dropping the next three at the Hearnes Center last Saturday. Senior outside hitter Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) led Mizzou with 15 kills while junior Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) pitched in 10 more. Freshman setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) also posted a career-best 12 digs in the match and spread 38 assists.
Kreklow Still On Top
Kreklow's 38 assists against No. 11 Iowa State on Saturday were enough for her to remain on top of the Big 12 standings as she is averaging 11.65 per frame this season. Kreklow's 11.65 per frame also ranks her ninth nationally and she is the No. 2 freshman on the list. She and Oregon's Lauren Plum are the only freshmen to rank in the top 10.
Offense Still Ranks Among Big 12's Best
The Mizzou offense ranks in the Big 12's top three in each of the major statistical categories (assists, kills, hitting), highlighted by a No. 2 ranking in assists per set at 13.48. Mizzou also ranks third in hitting (.266) and kills (14.30 per set). Mizzou holds a sizable advantage over the fourth-best teams in each category as well.
Several Tigers also rank highly in the Big 12 statistical rankings. Kreklow, as mentioned earlier, leads the league in assists per set (11.65). Brittney Brimmage ranks third overall in hitting at .375 while fellow middle hitter Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) sits a few spots back of her in seventh at .333. Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) is the third-best attacker in the Big 12 as she is averaging 3.78 kills per set and 4.34 point per set. Senior libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) ranks third in digs per set (4.70) as well.
Klein Moves into Elite Company
Senior outside hitter Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) tallied the 100th service ace of her career on Saturday against Iowa State, placing her in some elite company at Mizzou. With her 100 aces, she becomes only the third player under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow to have more than 1,200 kills, 600 digs and 100 service aces in her career. The other two were Jessica Vander Kooi and Shen Danru. Klein has 1,228 kills, 688 digs and 100 aces. She also ranks seventh all time with 1,426 career points.
Knock on Wood! The Tigers Are Yet to be Swept
Despite losing three matches this year, Mizzou has not been swept in a single match during the 2010 season. Mizzou, Nebraska and Iowa State are the only teams in the Big 12 to have not been swept this season. In fact, Mizzou has dropped just 10 sets this season, which is third-best in the Big 12 behind only Nebraska (eight) and Iowa State (nine). On the flip side, eight of the Tigers' nine wins have come via the sweep in 2010
Success on the Road
After going just 4-7 on the road and 3-3 at neutral sites last year, Mizzou has already seen a drastic improvement in its play away from Hearnes Center. Mizzou went 4-1 in neutral site non-conference matches in 2010 and is 2-1 in true road matches this season already, giving the Tigers a 6-2 record away from Hearnes Center in 2010.
Tigers Improved from 2009
In comparing the Tigers' 2009 statistics to their statistics in 2010, it is easy to see why the team has begun to garner national attention, including receiving votes in each of the last four weekly AVCA Top 25 Polls. Through the first 12 matches this season, Mizzou is averaging more kills (14.30 vs. 13.90) on better hitting (.266 vs. .231) while spreading more assists (13.48 vs. 13.26) than it was through the first 12 matches of 2009. The Tigers also boast a more-balanced offense as four players have more than 100 kills (only two did at this point in 2009) while four players are hitting .264 or better, all of whom have more than 60 kills. Last year through 12 matches, only one player had more than 60 on at least .264 hitting through 12 matches.
Tigers Getting Votes
Since sweeping through the season-opening Tiger Invitational, the Mizzou volleyball team has been getting votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll. The Tigers' peak position was at No. 27 after winning the Pepperdine Asics Challenge in Malibu, Claif. Mizzou received votes in this week's poll and is currently the No. 31 team nationally.
A Balanced Attack
Mizzou's offense continues to rank among the Big 12 and national elite due to its incredible balance. Four attackers have at least 100 kills on the season and those four are separated by just 47 kills. Paola Ampudia leads the team with 151. Five of the Tigers' top six attackers are hitting .264 or better while two - Catie Wilson and Brittney Brimmage - rank among the Big 12's seven-most efficient hitters. Julianna Klein and Lisa Henning have posted 107 and 104 kills, respectively, this season on .264 hitting, giving the Tigers five solid weapons at the net this season.
Blocking Numbers are Improving
After the first weekend of play, Mizzou averaged just .144 blocks per set, but since then the Tiger block has improved. In fact, over the last nine matches, Mizzou is averaging 2.00 per frame and that has moved its season average to 1.88. While the Tigers still have work to do on the block, the average is on the rise.
Back-Row Defense is Key for Tigers
Through the first 12 matches of the season, it appears that back row defense may be the key to the Tigers' success. Mizzou is 5-1 when it tallies at least 50 digs (only No. 11 ISU has defeated the Tigers when they pull in more than 50 digs) and they are 9-2 with 40 or more digs. Also, Mizzou is 9-1 when out-digging its opponents with its only loss coming against No. 11 Iowa State on Saturday.
Continuing to Set the Table
Already a two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, freshman Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) has been a big reason for the Tigers' fast start in 2010. In fact, she ranks first in the Big 12 in assists per set this season at 11.65. She has anchored an offense that features four hitters with at least 100 kills on the year. She has assisted on 466 of the Tigers' 572 kills (81.5-percent) and has the Tigers hitting .266 on the season. She also ranks third on the team in digs with 91 total and leads the team with three double-doubles in 2010 as well. Kreklow has done this with one hand in a splint after dislocating her pinkie in preseason camp. She served overhand for the first time at Western Kentucky and tallied six aces. She blocked with two hands for the first time at Texas Tech as well.
Tiger Middle Hitters - Best 1-2 Punch in the Big 12?
The Tiger middle hitting duo of Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) and Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) is arguably the best 1-2 punch in the Big 12 this season at the position. Both players rank in the league's top seven in hitting at third (.375) and seventh (.333), respectively this season. Brimmage ranks second on the team in kills with 112 and leads the team with 36 blocks. Wilson has 60 kills and 22 total blocks on the season and she has a team-low 16 attack errors. Brimmage and Wilson's combined stat line is 172 kills on .357 hitting with 58 total blocks. They have combined to score 212.5 total points for Mizzou this season.
More on Brimmage
One could argue that Brimmage has been the Tigers' most consistent offensive weapon this season as she is second on the team with 112 kills and ranks first in hitting at .375. Despite hitting just .158 in the season-opener against Maryland, Brimmage has hit at least .273 in nine of the last 10 matches since that time and has eclipsed .400 in seven of those matches and has been better than .500 in three of those. Also, her 112 total kills through 12 matches are six more than her kill total all of last season. With 56 more kills this season, she will surpass her kill total from her first two seasons as a Tiger combined. She has posted double-digit kill totals in six matches and has reset her career highs in kills (14) and attacks (27) this season.
Kreklow Cracks Century Mark
Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow, currently in his sixth season at the helm of the program, tallied his 100th win as the Tiger head coach last Wednesday at Texas Tech. He is now 100-65 in his time as the head coach of the program while Wayne and Susan Kreklow - now in their 11th season at Mizzou - are a combined 209-111 at Mizzou. Coincidentally, their 200th career win at Mizzou came in Lubbock last season.
Wendy Cracks All-Time Top 10 at Mizzou
Weiwen Wang (Nanjing, China) cracked the all-time top 10 in block assists with her two at the Western Kentucky Invitational. She now has 218 over her four-year career at Mizzou and sits just four back of former Tiger All-American setter Lindsey Hunter.
Senior libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) also set a milestone of her own. Her start at libero against Texas Tech was her 100th consecutive start, dating back to the 2008 season. She has started every match since 2008 and also started 27 of 30 matches in her freshman season, playing behind former Big 12 Libero of the Year Tatum Ailes that season.
A New Role for Jules?
Once the Tigers' go-to hitter as she is the active leader in attacks and kills, senior Julianna Klein has seen somewhat of a changed role this season as her back-row play this season has been paramount in the Tigers' success. She has pulled in 109 digs (second on the team) and has committed just 10 reception errors on 191 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 107 kills on .264 hitting. She had a season-best 15 kills at Texas Tech this season.
Vann Takes Her Spot in Record Book
Senior libero Caitlyn Vann has already earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors and been named to the Tiger Invitational All-Tournament team, but it is her total number of digs that this season that has her climbing the record books. With 188 digs this season, she has moved her career total to 1,548, 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
Molly 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 104 kills on the season - fourth-best on the team - on .264 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 Catie Wilson (Omaha, Neb.) ranked sixth on the all-time hitting percentage list at Mizzou. But after the first four weekends, Wilson has climbed to fifth after hitting .333 thus far, moving her career clip from .279 to .285. She has a ways to go to crack the top four (Diane Berg, .308), but it is certainly not out of reach.
Texas is one year removed from finishing as the national runner-up and has started 2010 with a 6-4 record. The Longhorns are led by Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Juliann Faucette, who has 96 kills n .196 hitting. Middle hitter Rachael Adams has 80 kills on .359 hitting. The 6-4 record for Texas is somewhat deceiving as it has played four ranked teams, including three top five teams. Three of the Longhorns' losses have come against those top five teams.
Texas leads the all-time series with Mizzou 18-10 and has won the last seven matches. Mizzou has not knocked off Texas since 2006 and has only taken two sets from the Longhorns in the last seven meetings.
A Clean Sweep
After its fine performance in Malibu at the Pepperdine Asics Challenge, the Mizzou volleyball team swept the Big 12 Weekly awards last week, marking only the second time in league history that one school has swept all three awards in the same week. Paola 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. Molly Kreklow was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week after anchoring the league's top offense. She averaged 13.60 assists per set and notched 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. Caitlyn 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.
Support From Tiger Nation
After the first two weeks of play, Mizzou currently ranks 15th nationally in average attendance after averaging 1,749 fans per match. A season-high 2,409 fans watched the Tigers face No. 11 Iowa State on Saturday. 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 Preseason 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 Ashton 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 Tigers will travel to Manhattan, Kan., for their second Big 12 road test on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. Live audio with Ross Taylor and Lindsey Hunter will be available at MUTigers.com along with live stats. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com.
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