Tigers Travel to K-State Saturday

<i>Julianna Klein has 36 kills on .292 hitting in Big 12 play.</i>

Julianna Klein has 36 kills on .292 hitting in Big 12 play.

Sept. 23, 2010

Date: Sept. 25
Time: 7 p.m.
Location:Manhattan, Kan.
Arena: Ahearn Fieldhouse
Live Stats(all matches):Gametracker
Live Radio: Ross Taylor (PBP), Lindsey Hunter (Color)
Game Notes: Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

The Opening Serve - What You Need to Know
• Mizzou will look to pull even in Big 12 play against Kansas State on Saturday at 7 p.m. Mizzou enters the match at 9-4 overall and 1-2 in league play while K-State enters the competition with a 7-6 mark overall but is 2-1 in league play.

• Each of Mizzou's two losses in Big 12 play have come at the hands of top 12 teams in Iowa State (No. 11) and Texas (No.12). The Tigers were able to take a set in each of those matches as they have yet to be swept in 2010.

• Senior outside hitter Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) has 121 kills on the season, but 39 of those have come in the Tigers' first three Big 12 matches as she is hitting a team-best .292 in those contests. She has also pulled in 26 digs and four service aces as she has arguably been the Tigers' top all-around player in league play.

• Freshman setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) continues to pace the Big 12 in assists per set at 11.66.

• Saturday's match will mark the first of two-straight trips to the Sunflower State as Mizzou will square off against arch-rival Kansas next Wednesday (Sept. 29).

• Mizzou ranks in the Big 12's top three in each of the major offensive categories (kills, assists, hitting).

Tigers Begin a Tour of the Sunflower State
After playing a pair of nationally-ranked opponents at home, the Mizzou volleyball team will return to the road as it begins a two-match trip to the state of Kansas with the first stop schedule for Manhattan as Mizzou will square off against K-State on Saturday (Sept. 25). The match is slated for a 7 p.m. start time and live radio with Ross Taylor and Lindsey Hunter can be found at MUTigers.com along with live results. Mizzou split the season series with K-State last year but has not won at Ahearn Fieldhouse since 2006, making Saturday's match intriguing as Mizzou looks to even its Big 12 record.

The Matchup
Since Oct. 21, 2005, Mizzou and K-State have met nine times and six of those contests have gone more than three sets and of those six, three have gone the distance, making this one of the most competitive rivalries in the Big 12. Both Mizzou and K-State have been perennial NCAA Tournament teams since 2000. The key matchup to watch will be the Tigers' offense against the Wildcats' defense. Mizzou is ranked in the Big 12's top three in each of the major offensive categories (kills, hitting, assists) while K-State ranks second in the league in blocks and has limited opponents to .169 hitting in 2010.

Last Time Out
Mizzou dropped its second-straight match to a top-12 opponent as it lost to No. 12 Texas, 3-1 (27-27, 20-25, 23-25, 21-25), at the Hearnes Center on Wednesday. The match featured 40 ties and 14 lead changes as it was one of the closest matches of the year for Mizzou. Outside hitters Paola Ampudia and Julianna Klein combined for 29 kills in the loss. Mizzou won the first set of the match and has yet to be swept this season.

Kreklow Still On Top
Molly Kreklow's 47 assists - the second-best total of her career - against No. 12 Texas on Wednesday were enough for her to remain on top of the Big 12 standings as she is averaging 11.66 per frame this season. Kreklow's 11.66 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). Mizzou ranks third in hitting (.261), assists (13.43 per set) and kills (14.20 per set and 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 (11.66). Brittney Brimmage ranks fifth overall in hitting at .364 while fellow middle hitter Catie Wilson sits a few spots back of her in eighth at .333. Paola Ampudia is the third-best attacker in the Big 12 as she is averaging 3.77 kills per set and 4.38 points per set. Senior libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) ranks third in digs per set (4.68) 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 career 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 now has 1,242 kills, 692 digs and 101 aces. She also ranks seventh all time with 1,441.5 career points.

Klein is Killing the Ball
Senior outside hitter Julianna Klein has arguably been the Tigers' most consistent weapon since the start of Big 12 play. In fact, Klein is hitting a team-best .292 with 36 kills during Big 12 play. Her 36 kills are second-best on the team. She has also added 26 digs, four service aces and three blocks in the three matches. She posted 14 kills on a team-high .333 hitting in the Tigers' loss to No. 12 Texas on Wednesday. Klein has 121 kills on the season, which is one kills shy of second on the team. Just seven matches ago, she was 18 shy of second place on the team. In that span (the last seven matches) she has posted 75 kills on .258 hitting.

The Return of Wilson
Before the Texas match, senior middle hitter Catie Wilson had struggled by her standards in the previous three matches. In fact, Wilson - who is the fifth-most efficient hitter in program history - had just six kills on 32 attempts with eight errors in those three contests. But Wilson found her game again in the Tigers' match with Texas on Wednesday. She led the team with a .333 clip while adding seven kills with just one attack error. She also pitched in a season-best six block assists in the loss and accounted for 10 points, more than her previous three matches combined.

Knock on Wood! The Tigers Are Yet to be Swept
Despite losing four 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 13 sets this season, which is third-best in the Big 12 behind only Nebraska (nine) and Iowa State (10). 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 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 57 kills as Paola Ampudia leads the team with 166. Five of the Tigers' top six attackers are hitting .255 or better while two - Catie Wilson and Brittney Brimmage - rank among the Big 12's eight-most efficient hitters. Julianna Klein and Lisa Henning have posted 121 and 109 kills, respectively, this season on a combined .264 hitting, giving the Tigers five solid weapons at the net this season.

Winning, it's as simple as...
...Holding your opponents to under .200 hitting. Mizzou is 5-0 when limiting its opponents to below .200 hitting, but Mizzou is just 4-4 when opponents hit better than .200. The Tigers are 1-3 this season when allowing teams to hit above .300 as well, making it clear that if the Tigers' defense plays well, they usually win.

Blocking Numbers are Improving
After the first weekend of play, Mizzou averaged just 1.44 blocks per set, but since then the Tiger block has improved. In fact, over the last 10 matches, Mizzou is averaging 2.09 per frame and that has moved its season average to 1.95. While the Tigers still have work to do on the block, the average is on the rise. In fact, Mizzou matched it season-best with 11 against Texas on Wednesday.

Back-Row Defense is Key for Tigers
Through the first 13 matches of the season, it appears that back row defense may be the key to the Tigers' success. Mizzou is 5-2 when it tallies at least 50 digs (only No. 11 ISU and No. 12 Texas have defeated the Tigers when they pull in more than 50 digs) and they are 9-3 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 last 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 11.66. She has anchored an offense that features four hitters with at least 100 kills on the year. She has assisted on 513 of the Tigers' 625 kills (82.1-percent) and has the Tigers hitting .261 on the season. She also ranks third on the team in digs with 99 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 eight in hitting at fifth (.364) and seventh (.333), respectively this season. Brimmage ranks second on the team in kills with 122 and leads the team with 40 blocks. Wilson has 67 kills and 28 total blocks on the season and she has a team-low 17 attack errors. Brimmage and Wilson's combined stat line is 189 kills on .352 hitting with 68 total blocks. They have combined to score 234.5 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 122 kills and ranks first in hitting at .364. Despite hitting just .158 in the season-opener against Maryland, Brimmage has hit at least .263 in 10 of the last 11 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 122 total kills through 12 matches are 16 more than her kill total all of last season. With 46 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 seven 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 100-66 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 209-112 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.

Another Milestone
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.

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 109 kills on the season - fourth-best on the team - on .255 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.

Scouting Kansas State
Coming off of a five-set loss to Colorado on Wednesday night, the Wildcats are 7-6 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 play. Kansas State is hitting .181 as a team, which ranks ninth out of 11 teams in the league. Defensively, the Wildcats are near the middle of the pack, as they are allowing opponents to hit .169, good for sixth in the conference. K-State stands second in the Big 12 in blocks.

Individually, sophomore Alex Muff is hitting .358 to lead the Wildcat attack, while senior JuliAnne Chisholm ranks fifth in the conference with 3.69 kills per set. K-State is dangerous on serve as Caitlyn Donahue and Kaitlynn Pelger are both in the top ten on the Big 12 ace chart. Donahue also ranks fifth in the league in assists. On defense, Muff averages 1.31 blocks per frame, which is good for third in the Big 12. Senior Lauren Mathewson stands fifth in the conference in digs at 4.38 per set.

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.

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 13 matches of the season, Mizzou currently ranks 15th nationally in average attendance after averaging 1,854 fans per match. A season-high 2,409 fans watched the Tigers face No. 11 Iowa State last 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 led her KC Extreme Club Team to a Junior Olympic Northeast Qualifier title after winning 10 matches in Baltimore, Md. The title secured her club a spot in the Junior National Championships. Henning 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.

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.

Undisputed Success
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. Check back all season for updates, video and pictures.

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. 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.

Up Next
The Tigers will return to the state of Kansas for a showdown with archrival Kansas on Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. The last time Mizzou played at Kansas, Paola Ampudia reset the Mizzou record and Big 12 four-set record with 35 kills in a four-set win. Live radio and results will be available at MUTigers.com.



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