Sept. 24, 2013
What's Inside - A Quick Look at the Notes
As one of seven unbeatens with a national-best 15 wins, the Tigers open SEC play with South Carolina Friday.
The Tigers are the only undefeated team in the SEC and are off to the best start in the Kreklow era (2000-present).
Mizzou is 15-0 for the first time since 1982 when the team opened their campaign 19-0.
Mizzou has swept its last nine matches, marking the first time in program history that it has swept nine in a row
The Tigers are averaging just 2.96 attack errors per set, the only team nationally under 3.00 per set.
Senior Lisa Henning became just the third Tiger to go over 1,500 career kills last weekend with 1,506.
Mizzou set a school record with a .606 attack percentage vs. SEMO last weekend (previous was .585 in 2000)
Mizzou leads the nation in hitting (.393), is second in assists (14.47) and fifth in kills (15.23).
In fact, Mizzou is the only team in the nation to rank in the top five of all three major offensive categories.
Molly Kreklow leads the nation in assists per set (12.70) and Whitney Little leads the nation in hitting (.592).
The Tigers rank first or second in the SEC in every statistical category with the exception of digs.
The Tigers lead the SEC in hitting, kills, assists and are second in opponent hitting, aces and blocks.
Mizzou has five players ranked among the top 14 in hitting percentage in the SEC this season, a league-best.
Molly Kreklow earned her fourth tournament MVP last week, splitting the honor with Lisa Henning.
Joining Kreklow and Henning on the Mizzou Classic All-Tournament team were Carly Kan and Whitney Little.
The Tiger freshmen continue to make huge impacts, in particular Carly Kan and Emily Thater.
Lisa Henning is second in the SEC and 14th and 17th, respectively, nationally in both kills and points per set.
Junior Emily Wilson has raised her attack percentage from .121 through the first three matches to .345.
Mizzou was picked to finish third in the SEC East this season behind Florida and Kentucky.
Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning made the Preseason All-SEC Team.
Seniors Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning are one of the four winningest classes in program history entering 2013.
The senior class (77 wins) has a shot of winning the third-most games over a four-year span at Mizzou (currently 84).
Henning posted 52 kills last weekend, moving her career total to 1,506, the top active mark in the SEC.
Henning is now just 152 kills and 240.0 points shy of the all-time Mizzou career record in both categories.
Kreklow has guided the Tigers to their second-best three-year hitting percentage in school history (.257).
Tigers Open SEC Play at National-Best 15-0
The Mizzou volleyball team opens SEC play this weekend against South Carolina (8-4) at the Hearnes Center at 6:30 p.m. Mizzou will bring with it a national-best record at 15-0 as it is one of just seven unbeaten teams in the nation and the only remaining unbeaten in the SEC. The first 500 fans to the match on Friday will receive free Mizzou volleyball sunglasses. Live stats will be provided on Gametracker and MizzouStats.com and the game will air live on MizzouNetwork.com.
Tigers Look For Rebound Year in Conference Play
Mizzou went a disappointing 10-10 in its first season of SEC play a year ago in its first season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. Mizzou started 5-2 in league play, but personnel issues left the Tigers with a small roster late in the year and they closed the year by going just 5-8, losing three of their final four matches. At home last year, Mizzou went 6-4 in league matches. All-American Lisa Henning led Mizzou with 347 kills in 20 SEC matches last season and Whitney Little added 162 on .330 hitting with 102 blocks.
Tigers Lead Nation in Wins; One of Seven Unbeatens Nationally
Heading into the weekend at a perfect 15-0, Mizzou leads the nation in wins so far this season and are one of just seven unbeatens nationally. The Tigers are also the only unbeaten team left in the Southeastern Conference. Below is a look at the other unbeatens and who they play this week.
Washington State (13-0) - vs. Washington, at Oregon State
Tigers Are off to Best Start in 32 Years
DePaul (12-0) - at UIC, at Marquette
Ohio State (12-0) - vs. Michigan, Michigan State
North Carolina (11-0) - vs. NC State, Notre Dame
Colorado State (10-0) - at Air Force, at New Mexico
Washington (8-0) - at Washington State, at Oregon
At 15-0, the Tigers have accomplished something that hasn't been done at Mizzou in 32 years as they are off to the program's best start since 1982 when the team opened the season with 19 consecutive victories. Mizzou would need to defeat South Carolina, Arkansas, Auburn and Austin Peay to match the mark set by the 1982 team.
Another School Record
The 15 consecutive wins for the Tigers have been well-documented, but what is even more impressive is that they have swept their last nine matches, a feat that had never been accomplished at Mizzou until now. The Tigers last dropped a set at Ivy League favorite Yale on Sept. 6 before coming back to win the next two sets and clinch the match. The Tigers have dropped just two sets all season long.
Tigers Lead Power Conferences With Fewest Attack Errors Per Set
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou is averaging just 2.96 attack errors per set, the only team in a power conference to average fewer than 3.00 per frame. Florida is the next-best team in the SEC with just 3.79 errors per set while LSU is third at 4.53. The 2.96 errors per set are a big reason why Mizzou has a national-best hitting percentage of .393 heading into the South Carolina match. Below are the national leaders - note that three of those four teams ranks in the AVCA top-seven.
Mizzou - 2.96
Offense Fires on All Cylinders
Washington - 3.42
Penn State - 3.59
Stanford - 3.60
Cal - 3.77
Through the first 15 matches of the season, it is pretty clear that the Tiger offense has been playing at a very high level. In fact, when the NCAA national statistics were posted this week, the Tigers rank among the national elite in nearly every statistical category. Below are a few talking points on the Tiger offense.
Tigers are the only team nationally to rank in the top five in every offensive category (kills, assists, hitting)
Mizzou ranks first nationally in hitting (.393), second in assists (14.47) and fifth in kills (15.23)
leads the nation in assists (12.70) and Whitney Little
leads the nation in hitting (.592)
Mizzou better than .333 in 14 of 15 matches this season and has hit .380 or better 10 times
Mizzou also is second in the SEC in service aces per set (1.77) and ranks 21st nationally
Offense Shows Incredible Balance
Over the past two years, the Mizzou offense could be summed up by one phrase: Kreklow-to-Henning. But this year it has been the offensive balance that has the coaching staff excited. Mizzou's top five attackers are all averaging at least 1.77 kills per set, while the top four are averaging at least 2.38. That has led to the gaudy hitting percentages as the balance has led to all five of the Tigers' top attackers hitting .345 or better. If you throw in Kreklow, the team's setter, the top six Tiger attackers are averaging 14.26 kills per set on .405 hitting.
Quality Wins for the Tigers
As impressive as Mizzou's 15-0 start has been, it is even more impressive when you look at some of the teams that Mizzou has defeated so far this season. In fact, the Tigers have beaten four teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last season (Yale, Colgate, Fairfield and NC State) and have defeated six teams in the Rick Kern top-100 and two more just outside the top-100 (Idaho State, 103; Pitt, 111). The most impressive win for the Tigers may have been their sweep of NC State, a 22-win, NCAA Tournament team from a season ago that brought back nine letterwinners and five starters.
Wins Away From Home
Worth noting this season has been the Tigers ability to win away from home. In fact, the Tigers have won seven matches away from the Hearnes Center this season, two shy of their total wins away from home last season (nine). Three of the Tigers' seven wins away from home have come in true road contests as well, two of which came against teams that went to the NCAA Tournament a year ago (Yale, Fairfield). Mizzou had just five true road wins all of last season.
Henning Becomes Third Tiger to 1,500 Career Kills
With 52 kills at last weekend's Mizzou Classic, senior Lisa Henning became just the third Tiger to eclipse the 1,500-kills mark in her career. She is just four kills shy of passing All-American Jessica Vander Kooi who had 1,510 kills from 2003-06. Of the three hitters to eclipse 1,500 career kills in Mizzou history, Henning leads all three of them with a .273 career attack percentage. Shen Danru had a .216 career clip with 1,658 career kills while Vander Kooi hit .244.
Kreklow Continues to `Set' The Table
Although Molly Kreklow's 12.70 assists per set are a national-best at this point of the season, that total would rank just sixth in school history in a single season. However, keep in mind that Kreklow is playing in 25-point sets while her predecessors all played in 30-point sets. If you average out her current assists per set clip to 30-point sets, she would be averaging 15.24 per set, nearly a full assist ahead of the school record (Lindsey Hunter, 14.43 in 2004).
More on Kreklow
So far this season, there have been few setters in the country that have had more of an impact than Molly Kreklow as she is arguably the top setter in the nation at this point of the season. Not only is she leading the nation in assists (12.70), but she has set the Tigers to arguably the best offense in the nation. The Tigers are converting exactly 50.6-percent (597 of 1,179) of her sets into kills this season, up from her 2012 average of just 40-percent.
Little With National-Low Six Attack Errors
So far this season, junior middle blocker Whitney Little has just six attack errors, the fewest of any player in the nation who averages at least 3.33 attacks per set this season. In fact, Little is averaging just one error every 29.83 attacks this season, a national-best by a wide margin. She has not committed an attack error in the last four matches, hitting .653 on 49 attempts in that span.
After earning AVCA Third Team All-America honors in each of the last two seasons, there were big expectations for senior Lisa Henning heading into the season. After the first month of play, she has not disappointed, averaging 4.49 kills per set on .385 hitting with 110 total digs. In fact, Henning is second in the SEC in kills per set (4.49), points per set (5.10) and is seventh in hitting (.385).
Freshmen Make Impact
Heading into the season, it was clear that the Mizzou freshman class was going to play a huge role in 2013, but after the first month of play it is even more evident. There are three Tiger freshmen who have made huge contributions so far. Below is a look.
Carly Kan - A first team High School All-American, Kan is averaging 2.91 kills per set on .364 hitting and is the top attacking freshman at the left side hitter position in the SEC with her .364 clip ... She led Mizzou with a career-high 16 kills on .424 hitting in its biggest win of the season at Yale ... Is also a six-rotation passer and is averaging 2.32 digs per set this season ... Is 12th in the SEC in hitting with her .364 clip and 18th in aces with 0.28 per set and 17th in points per set (3.36) ... Her .650 clip vs. Pitt is the second-best attack clip by an outside in the SEC this season.
Emily Thater - Became the first Tiger with at least 22 blocks in the first four matches of a season since All-American Chirsti Myers in 2000 and is the only Tiger to do so in the rally scoring era ... Is fourth in the SEC in hitting at .430, ninth in service aces (0.35) and ninth in blocks (1.14) ... She is the third-best blocking freshman in the SEC.
Loxley Keala - Has started all 15 matches for the Tigers and has been a great passer and defensive player in the back row ... Is averaging 2.02 digs per set this season.
Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina comes into Friday's match at 8-4 overall and has won its last three matches and five of six with its only loss in that span coming to Duke. The undoubted leader for the Gamecocks is Juliette Thevenin, who leads the SEC in kills per set (4.98) and points per set (5.30). She was a preseason All-SEC pick and is the only player of the SC roster to average more than 3.00 kills per set. She is the defending SEC Player of the Week after averaging 6.00 points per set last weekend.
The only meeting between Mizzou and South Carolina came last season in Mizzou's first season as members of the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers swept away the Gamecocks in straight sets (-22, -19, -26) as Lisa Henning had a huge day with 17 kills. Whitney Little was great as well, posting 12 kills with no errors on 18 attacks while Molly Kreklow spread 47 assists and guided Mizzou to .342 hitting.
Wilson On a Roll
Junior Emily Wilson has been on a tear over her last 12 matches. In fact, she hit an uncharacteristic .121 in her first three matches but has since hit .381 with 2.76 kills per set, raising her hitting percentage from .121 to .345, 14th-best in the SEC this season. In her first three matches of the season, she averaged just 1.57 kills per set and 1.00 errors per set, so her turnaround has been key for the Tiger offense as she offers another big swing. Wilson was a 2011 All-Big 12 Freshman Team honoree and if she plays at that level again this season, she will give Mizzou a huge swing all year.
Little Rewriting Record Books
After resetting the Mizzou single season blocks record in both her freshman and sophomore seasons, Little enters the weekend ranked first all-time at Mizzou with a 1.16 career blocks per set average. The next two career marks on the list are 1.07 by Nicole Wilson and 1.06 by Christi Myers, both of whom were All-Americans at Mizzou. Aside from her blocking, Little boasts a .366 career attack percentage, also the best in school history. Much of that is due to her torrid start, hitting a national-best .592 this season.
When the Southeastern Conference announced its Preseason All-SEC Team, a pair of Tigers were included on the list in seniors Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.). The selections mark the second consecutive season that both Henning and Kreklow were honored in the preseason by the SEC, and Mizzou joined league-favorite Florida as one of the only two teams in the SEC to place at least two players on the nine-member team. Henning and Kreklow began their Mizzou careers in the 2010 season as the cornerstones of what was the nation's No. 14 recruiting class that year according to PrepVolleyball.com. They have accounted for 66 wins, four NCAA Tournament matches and an NCAA Sweet 16. They have combined for seven major All-Conference Teams selections, a pair of All-America honors, three AVCA All-Region honors, nine weekly conference honors and one AVCA National Player of the Week award.
Tigers Picked to Finish Third in SEC East
The Mizzou volleyball program was picked to finish third in the SEC East as the Southeastern Conference announced its annual preseason poll on Aug. 8. In their second year in the conference, it is the highest that the Tigers have been picked in the annual tally, which is voted on by the league's coaches.
Seniors Rank Among All-Time Winningest Classes
With 77 wins through their first three-plus seasons, the Mizzou senior class (Kreklow, Henning) has a chance to become one of the winningest classes in program history with more than half of the 2013 season 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 senior class has a chance to realistically rank third all-time in Mizzou history - the goal is still within reach as 13 wins would tie the mark.
Winningest Four-Year Stretches
Henning is SEC's Active Kills Leader
2002-05 - 90 wins
2002-04 - 89 wins
1982-85 - 84 wins
Mizzou Senior Class - 77 wins
Obviously, Mizzou returns quite a bit of fire power to the roster in 2013, but there is no bigger weapon for Mizzou than two-time AVCA Third Team All-American Lisa Henning
. Last season, Henning led the SEC in kills per set (4.64) and points per set (5.28), just one year removed from accomplishing the same feat in Big 12 play in 2011. She is the SEC's active kills leader with 1,506 in her career and sits just 321 kills shy of fourth in SEC history during the rally scoring era. She is also just 152 kills shy of the Mizzou all-time career kills record (1,658 by Shen Danru
). Henning also needs just 240.0 points to match the Mizzou career record. She is the first ever Tiger to post back-to-back 500-kill seasons as well.
Kreklow Anchors Offense
Since 2010, there has been one constant in the Tiger starting lineup and that has been now senior Molly Kreklow. She has started every match in her career, played in every set (113 matches, 402 sets) and is fourth all-time at Mizzou with 4,483 career assists. She has also guided Mizzou to its second-best three-year hitting percentage in program history at .257, trailing only the team from 2003-05, which was anchored by All-American setter and current assistant coach Lindsey Hunter.
Some Notables This Season
Mizzou has already accomplished a lot in just 15 matches. Below is a quick look at some major achievements.
Molly Kreklow was named SEC Player of the Week on Sept. 9, the first of her decorated career
Little Looks To Rewrite The Record Books, Again
The Tigers limited Seton Hall to .000 hitting, its best since holding Savannah State to -.075 in 2012
Mizzou hit .458 in a win over Pitt, a school record for hitting a four-set match and best since 2007
The Tigers hit a school-record .606 against SEMO, topping the previous mark of .585, set in 2000
Junior Whitney Little
reset the Mizzou single season blocks record as a freshman with 138 in 2011 and then topped that mark with 139 as a sophomore last season. In 2013, Little, who is the SEC's leading blocker from a season ago, will look to again post another school record total. She earned Second Team All-SEC honors a season ago and was blocking at an All-American pace early in the season. In fact, over a nine-match span she tallied a Mizzou career record five 10-block matches. She also posted a pair of block-kill double-doubles, which hadn't been done at Mizzou since 2007, and reset the school record with five solo blocks at Florida. In SEC play, Little averaged 1.40 blocks per set.
Tigers With Three of the SEC's Top 20 Active Kill Leaders
As noted earlier, senior Lisa Henning is the SEC's top active kill leader with 1,454, but a pair of other Tigers - Emily Wilson and Whitney Little - rank among the league's top 20 active kill leaders. The three players in the top-20 ties Mizzou for the most of any SEC school in the top 20 with Auburn, while the three players account for a league-best 2,644 career kills. What is even more remarkable is that the trio has accumulated those kills on a combined .260 hitting with two players (Henning and Wilson) playing on the outside. Below is a look at the ranks:
SEC Rank Player Kills
1. Henning 1,506
11. Wilson 599
14. Little 539
Freshman Class Garners National Praise
PrepVolleyball.com tabbed Mizzou's 2013 freshman class as the No. 18 recruiting class nationally. The No. 18 national ranking places the Tigers third in the SEC, trailing only Arkansas (16) and Tennessee (17). The No. 18 national ranking is the highest for Mizzou since the 2010 freshman class (Molly Kreklow, Lisa Henning) ranked 14th nationally. This year's class is comprised of six individuals, the second-largest class in program history. Put together by head coach Wayne Kreklow, recruiting coordinator Lindsey Hunter and the rest of the staff, the class includes two student-athletes from Hawaii, three from Missouri and one from Texas. Joining the Tigers in 2013 will be Carly Kan, 5-8 DS/OH, Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii); Loxley Keala, 5-11 S, Iolani (Honolulu, Hawaii); Courtney Meek, 5-5 DS, St. Joseph's (St. Louis, Missouri); Linda Steinhardt, 5-5 DS, Cedar Park (Texas); Emily Thater, 6-2 MB, Kickapoo (Springfield , Missouri) and Julia Towler, 6-2 MB/OH, Blue Springs South (Blue Springs, Missouri).
High School All-Americans
Both Carly Kan and Loxley Keala earned big-time accolades coming out of high school this year. Kan was named to the Volleyball Magazine High School All-America First Team and the PrepVolleyball.com High School All-America First Team. The first team for both publications featured the top 13 high school seniors in the country. Keala was also an Honorable Mention High School All-American according to PrepVolleyball.com.
Kan a Defensive Dandy
On May 31, PrepVolleyball.com released its Defensive Dandies List - which attempts to recognize the top defensive players at the high school level - and Mizzou freshman Carly Kan was recognized as a first team Defensive Dandy. She was one of just 12 players nationally selected to the first team.
As Mizzou volleyball takes the court this season, there will be something that a lot of Tiger fans have not seen too often as two Hawaii natives will don the Black & Gold as both Carly Kan and Loxley Keala call the Rainbow State their home. The freshman duo calls Honolulu home and played on rival high schools growing up. As a hot bed for volleyball talent, both Kan and Keala bring extensive beach play to Mizzou and great all-around games. They are the first Hawaii natives to play for Mizzou volleyball. The two were beach partners their senior year.
Kreklows Are Second-Longest Tenured Women's Coaches at Mizzou
Now entering their 14th season overall at Mizzou, Wayne and Susan Kreklow are the second-longest tenured women's coaches at Mizzou and the fourth-longest overall. Only Mizzou soccer's Bryan Blitz has had a longer current tenure as a women's coach at Mizzou and only baseball coach Tim Jamieson, Blitz and wrestling coach Brian Smith have been at Mizzou longer among current Mizzou head coaches. The Kreklows have overseen the longest run by any coach in Mizzou volleyball history.
Weekly Conference Honors Trend
Since the start of the 2009 season, a trend has started for the Mizzou volleyball program. In fact, in the last four-plus seasons, Mizzou has claimed 31 conference weekly honors, including four SEC tallies a season ago. What makes that mark even more impressive is the fact that from 1990-2008, Mizzou had just 17 weekly conference honorees.
Home Sweet Hearnes
Last season, Mizzou averaged 2,055 fans per match, which once again ranked in the top 20 nationally. Since Wayne and Susan Kreklow took over the program in 2000, the coaching duo has made it a priority to improve attendance at the Hearnes Center and have done so, creating one of the most intimidating atmospheres in the nation. In fact, in their first season at the helm, Mizzou averaged just 920 fans per match. That jumped to nearly 1,800 in 2001 and a historic 2,578 per match in 2005. In fact, in nine of the Kreklow's 13 seasons, Mizzou has drawn more than 20,000 fans per year, including eight of the last nine and four straight.
Tigers On TV
Mizzou will appear on national television through the SEC TV package twice during the 2013 season. Mizzou's match at Arkansas on Oct. 2 will air live on ESPNU at 6 p.m. while its contest at Tennessee will air live on Fox Sports Midwest, Fox SportsSouth and Fox Sports Southwest on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Volleyball on the Air
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. Ben Wilson will enter his first year behind the microphone in 2013 and will be joined by former Tiger Katie O'Brien. Links to each broadcast can be found on MUTigers.com and MizzouNetwork.com.
The Tigers will face arguably their toughest test of the season to date as they head to Arkansas for a nationally-televised contest against the Razorbacks on Oct. 2. The game will be played at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.