Tigers Host K-State at Pink Out

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Priscilla Armendariz and the Tigers welcome Kansas State to the Hearnes Center this Wednesday.</i>
MUTIGERS.COM
Priscilla Armendariz and the Tigers welcome Kansas State to the Hearnes Center this Wednesday.
MUTIGERS.COM

Sept. 26, 2011

Match Info: Mizzou (14-4, 1-1 Big 12) vs. Kansas State (12-3, 1-0 Big 12)
Date: Sept. 28
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Columbia, Mo.
Arena: Hearnes Center
Video: MUTigers.tv
Live Stats: Click Here
Twitter Updates: @MU_Volleyball
Game Notes: Media Notes Get Acrobat Reader

The Opening Serve - What You Need to Know
• After playing 13 straight matches away from home, the Mizzou volleyball team will play its second consecutive home match as it welcomes Kansas State to the Hearnes Center on Wednesday (Sept. 28) at 6:30 p.m. The match will serve as the annual Pink Out Match as Mizzou will raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation. Last year, Mizzou raised $2,231.76 for the foundation at the Pink Out.

• Mizzou, currently at 14-4, is off to its best start since the 2005 season when it opened 16-2. Mizzou has won at least 14 of its first 18 matches eight times in program history and six have come since 2000 when Wayne and Susan Kreklow took over the program.

• The Tigers reset their season-highs in kills (62), assists (58) and solo blocks in their win over Texas A&M on Saturday. In fact, the win marked the third-consecutive win for the Tigers in the series with the Aggies. The Tigers last defeated Texas A&M three straight times in 2005-06. Texas A&M was picked to finish ahead of the Tigers in the preseason Big 12 poll, marking it an early statement win for the Tigers.

• Senior libero Priscilla Armendariz became the 11th Tiger in program history to surpass 1,000 career digs with her career-best 25 against Texas A&M Wednesday. She now sits just 11 back of the all-time top 10 at Mizzou and could break into that group Wednesday against Kansas State.

What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
• Mizzou will play in its annual Pink Out match against K-State on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
• The Pink Out will raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to help raise breast cancer awareness.
• Mizzou topped Texas A&M, 3-1, on Saturday to improve to 14-4 on the season and 1-1 in Big 12 play.
• The Tigers reset season-highs in kills (62), assists (58) and solo blocks (five) in the win over A&M.
• The Tigers' 14 wins in their first 18 matches marks their best start to a season since 2005.
• The 14-4 start marks the sixth time under the Kreklows that MU has won at least 14 of its first 18 matches.
• Head coach Wayne Kreklow sits just six wins shy of his 400th as a collegiate women's coach.
• Mizzou swept the season series with K-State last year, winning, 3-1 at KSU and sweeping at home.
• Sophomore Lisa Henning tallied a career-best 21 kills in her last outing against Texas A&M.
• Henning ranks fifth in the league in points per set (4.22) and in kills per set (3.73).
• Setter Molly Kreklow spread a season-best 53 assists in Mizzou's win over Texas A&M.
• Kreklow now ranks third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.62 and leads the league in total assists at 680.
• Tiger senior Brittney Brimmage is currently second in the Big 12 in hitting at .388.
• Senior libero Priscilla Armendariz tallied a career-best 25 digs against Texas A&M on Saturday.
• The 25 digs for Armendariz give her 1,021 in her career, making her the 11th Tiger to surpass 1,000 digs.
Emily Wilson had another solid week last week as she tallied 24 kills (3.43 per set) on .344 hitting.
• MU has claimed four Big 12 Weekly honors this season and one AVCA National Player of the Week award.
• In fact, in 2010 and four weeks of 2011, Mizzou has received 18 Big 12 Weekly honors, a Big 12-best.

Pink Out
In what has become an annual tradition, the Mizzou volleyball team will host its annual Pink Out meet on Wednesday against Kansas State, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Hearnes Center. The Pink Out is an annual match in which the Tigers will donate a portion of all tickets sold while auctioning off memorabilia to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation to support breast cancer awareness. Last year, Mizzou raised $2,231.76 for the Komen Foundation.

Last Time Out
The Tigers got back in the win column on Saturday as they won their third straight match over Texas A&M, 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-23). Mizzou reset its season-highs in kills (62), assists (58) and solo blocks (five) in the win while a pair of Tigers had career nights. Sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning tallied a career-best 21 kills to lead the way for Mizzou while senior libero Priscilla Armendariz pulled in a career-best and match-high 25 digs. Molly Kreklow spread a season-best 53 assists in the win and tallied her fifth double-double with 11 digs.

Mizzou Off to Best Start Since 2005
At 14-4 through 18 matches this season, Mizzou is off to its best start since 2005 when the Tigers won 16 of their first 18 matches while eventually ending up in the Elite Eight. Mizzou has won at least 14 of its first 18 matches eight times in program history while six have come in under Wayne and Susan Kreklow since 2000.

Kreklow Six Shy of 400
Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow sat 20 wins shy of his 400th as a head volleyball coach entering the season, but he now sits just six shy of 400 in his career. Should he reach 400 this season, he will be one of just three coaches in the Big 12 to have cracked the 400-win plateau. Kreklow surpassed his 600th win all-time as a coach (assistant, men's coach, women's coach) at both Mizzou and Columbia College with the Tigers' win over Florida International earlier this season. In all, Wayne and Susan Kreklow have combined for 745 wins as a coaching duo, 236 of which have come during their 11-plus seasons at Mizzou.

Team Notes
In all, the Tigers have been quite impressive this season as they have raced out to an 14-4 start, the team's best since 2005 when the Tigers started 16-2. That year, Mizzou wound up one match away from playing in the Final Four. Below are some quick notes on the team so far this season.

• Mizzou's 14 wins are tops among all Big 12 teams as it is tied with Oklahoma, which is 14-3.
• Of the Tigers' 14 wins in 2011, nine have come against teams that won at least 20 matches last season.
• Mizzou is three wins better at this point this season than it was at this point last season. Through 18 matches last year, Mizzou was 11-7 while it checks in at 14-4 this season. Remember, Mizzou advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 in 2010.
• The Tigers have received votes in every AVCA Top 25 poll this season and check in at No. 35 this week.
• Mizzou ranks third in the Big 12 in hitting at .264, just .005 back of second-place Oklahoma.
• Mizzou reset its season-highs in kills (62), assists (58) and solo blocks in its win over Texas A&M last Saturday.
• The win over the Aggies made it three-straight in that series, marking the first time that Mizzou has won three-in-a-row over Texas A&M since 2005-06.
• Dating back to last season, Mizzou has lost just eight times in its last 33 matches. Four of those loses came to top-25 teams while three ranked among the nation's top 15.

Career Night for Henning as She Continues to Rank Among Big 12's Best
Tiger sophomore Lisa Henning had one of her best career matches on Saturday against Texas A&M with a career-best 21 kills on 58 total attacks, also a career-high. That topped her previous career-best of 19 kills and marks the second 20-kill effort of the season by a Tiger. Freshman Emily Wilson had 20 against Villanova.

Henning continues to pace the Tigers offensively as she leads the team with 239 kills on .274 hitting while leading the team with 270 total points. In fact, Henning is fifth in the Big 12 in kills per set (3.73) and points per set (4.22) as she has emerged as one of the league's top offensive weapons.

Career Night for Pip
Henning wasn't the only Tiger to have a career match on Saturday as senior libero Priscilla Armendariz followed suit with a career-best 25-dig effort against the Aggies. Not only did Armendariz notch a career-best dig total, but she also became just the 11th Tiger in program history to surpass 1,000 digs in her career as she needed just four heading into the match. The Tiger libero is now just 11 digs back of 10th place on Mizzou's all-time list and could crack that top 10 this Wednesday against Kansas State.

Big Week for Wilson
Freshman Emily Wilson may have had the most consistent week of any Tiger last week as she averaged 3.43 kills per set (24 total) while hitting .344 with seven total blocks (three solo, four assists). She was the Tigers' top option at Iowa State where she hit .421 with eight kills on 19 attacks and followed that with a 16-kill effort on .310 hitting in the Tigers' win over Texas A&M.

Wilson was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week in each of the first two weekends of play and has been one of the Tigers' top attackers all season with 183 kills on .285 hitting, averaging 2.86 per set. Her 183 kills this season are tops among Big 12 freshmen. Wilson reset her career-high with the Tigers' first 20-kill effort of the season against Villanova at the American Volleyball Classic.

Brimmage Second in the Big 12 in Hitting
Tiger senior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage ranks second in the Big 12 in attack percentage this season at .388, just behind OU's Sallie McLaruin, who checks in at .412. Brimmage has been nothing short of sensational this season as she has hit better than .400 in 10 of 18 matches this season and has been over .600 in four of those. Her season-best outing came against East Tennessee State at the MTSU Blue Raider Bash when she hit .773 with a career-best 18 kills. She needed just 22 attacks to get those 18 kills. That .773 clip is the fourth-best mark ever by a Tiger in a single match and of the top four, she is the only one to tally more than 11 kills.

Brimmage Approaching Milestone
Although Brimmage is making her mark this season offensively, she is approaching a defensive milestone as well. In fact, she is close to cracking the program's all-time top 10 in both blocks and block assists. She sits just two block assists back of 10th place with 215 in her career while she is just eight total blocks back of the top 10 with 249. She is currently second on the team in blocks with 48 this season.

Kreklow Dishes Season-High 53 Assists vs. Texas A&M
Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow dished a season-best 53 assists in the Tigers' win over Texas A&M last Saturday. That mark ranks as the fifth-best total by a Big 12 player this season and is the top four-set performance by a Big 12 student-athlete in 2011. It is also better than two of Kreklow's five-set totals this season as she averaged 13.25 assists per set in the match.

Kreklow Fourth in Assists Per Set
Staying on the topic of assists per set, Kreklow moved back into third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.62 with her performance against Texas A&M. She spent the first two weeks of the season averaging well over 11.00 assists per set while ranking first in the league, but the Tiger offense has slowed somewhat since then. All-in-all, Kreklow is putting together a phenomenal year at the setter position as she has been named Big 12 Player of the Week and has garnered AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week honors this season. Kreklow became just the fifth Tiger ever to take home that award and the first-ever Tiger setter.

Tigers Ahead of Last Year's Sweet 16 Pace
Through 18 matches this year, the Tigers have 14 wins, which is three more than at had at this point in 2010. In fact, Mizzou won just 11 matches in its first 18 last season as Mizzou is well ahead of last year's pace. Remember, the Tigers qualified for their ninth NCAA Tournament in 11 seasons last year and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history. Mizzou is three wins ahead of that team this season as it seems to have its sights set on a 10th NCAA Tournament appearance.

Blocking is Much Improved
A big key for the Tigers' improved play from a year ago has been its ability to defend at the net. In all, Mizzou is averaging 2.36 blocks per set this season and has 151.0 total blocks. Compared to last year's stats through 18 matches, Mizzou was averaging just 1.94 blocks per set with 120.0 total blocks. The Tigers had just 32 solo blocks and 176 block assists at this point last year while this year, they have 49 and 204, respectively. The Tigers have also eclipsed eight total blocks in 10 of their 18 matches in 2011. Mizzou had just 12 matches with at least eight blocks last season.

Big 12 Recognition
Mizzou has had a very good run as of late, winning 25 of its last 33 matches dating back to last season and it has been rewarded in a variety of different ways, but most notably in the Big 12 weekly honors. In fact, since the start of the 2010 season, Mizzou has taken home 18 Big 12 weekly honors, including four through the first four weeks this season. The 18 awards lead the Big 12 by a wide margin in that span as the next three schools combined (Texas, Texas A&M and Iowa State) have just 17 combined awards in that span.

In that span, a pair of Tigers were named AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week in that span as well. Most recently, sophomore setter Molly Kreklow earned that award following her Tiger Invitational MVP award during the first weekend of action this season.

Tigers Keep Digging
Heading into the American Classic, Mizzou was last in the Big 12 in digs per set, but you wouldn't have been able to tell by their performance over the three matches, most notably against Villanova. In fact, Mizzou pulled in 104 digs in that match, the Tigers' second-most in the rally scoring era and their most since a 2003 win at Nebraska. The Tigers then came back and posted 75 digs in a four-set win over American later that day as they saw five players finish in double figures in each of those matches. The Tigers have went from last in the league in digs per set to eighth since that time.

Road Warriors
While Mizzou is one of the youngest teams in the league this season, the freshman class has sure gotten used to the grind of college volleyball over the last month. In fact, Mizzou played 13 straight matches away from home and has played 18 matches over the first month of the season. The 13-striaght matches away from home marks the longest road trip since Wayne and Susan Kreklow took over the program in 2000. Mizzou will play its second-straight home match against K-State on Wednesday.

Scouting Kansas State
The Kansas State volleyball team has a record of 12-3 this year. The Wildcats rely on sophomore Kaitlynn Pelger who was named Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday. Pelger leads the team in kills with 4.78 per set and blocks with 1.18 per set. The Wildcats have appeared in seven NCAA Tournaments in the last nine years, had nine All Americans and were the Big 12 Conference Champions in 2003.

Series Information
Kansas State leads the all-time series with the Tigers, 40-33, but the Tigers have won the last three meetings as they swept the season series from the Wildcats for the first time since 2006 last season. MU also earned its first win at K-State since the 2006 season as well last year.

The Last Meeting
At their last meeting, Mizzou swept Kansas State. 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-21). Brittney Brimmage led Mizzou with 10 kills on .421 hitting and tallied seven blocks while accounting for 13.5 total points. Senior libero Caitlyn Vann also had a great match with 24 digs in the three-set match as Mizzou held K-State to just a .056 attack percentage.

Nifty Fifty Whitney
Tiger freshman Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) surpassed the 50-block mark in the Tigers' 13th match of the season against Denver. She is the fastest Tiger freshman to reach to the 50-block mark under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow (since 2000). Currently, Little has a team-high 70 blocks and her 1.09 blocks per set rank her 10th in the Big 12 Conference. Adding to her production, Little is hitting .358 with 75 kills this season and had six kills on 14 attacks at Iowa State on Wednesday.

Tigers Picked Fifth in Big 12
Despite the youth on the Tiger roster, the league's coaches seem to recognize the level of talent on this year's team as the Tigers were picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 in the annual preseason poll. In all, Mizzou finished the polling with 32 points, just behind fourth-place Texas A&M and just ahead of sixth-place Baylor. The Tigers were picked fifth in last year's preseason poll and ended up advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

Young, but Talented
Despite bringing back four players that started for Mizzou last season, the Tigers will be one of the youngest teams nationally. In fact, nearly 80-percent of the Tigers' roster in 2011 are underclassmen as 11 of the 14 players are freshmen or sophomores. That makes Mizzou the youngest team in the Big 12 and only Texas Tech (16 underclassmen) has more freshman or sophomores on their roster. However, Mizzou's last two recruiting classes have ranked in the top 25 nationally, including this year's freshman class, which checked in at No. 22 nationally. The 2010 class ranked 14th.

Program Highlights
The Tigers just completed the most successful decade in program history last year. In fact, Mizzou has averaged 22 wins per season since 2000 and is one of just 22 teams nationally to qualify for nine NCAA Tournaments since 2000. The Tigers were on that average last year with 22 wins and a Sweet 16 berth.

Hunter Joins Coaching Staff
There are few Mizzou athletes that are accomplished as Lindsey Hunter and she will look to parlay her success as a player into success as a coach as she joins the Mizzou coaching staff in 2011. Hunter takes the place of former assistant Chris Muscat, who took the head coaching job at Loyola (Chicago) last year. Hunter is Mizzou's all-time leader in assists, assists per set, single season assists and set for the Tigers in the most successful four-year period in program history. She will serve as the primary recruiting coordinator for the Tigers. She spent last season as the color analyst for the Tiger volleyball matches while working towards her master's degree as a graduate assistant with Mizzou's Total Person Program.

Kreklow Sets With USA Junior National Team
For the second consecutive summer, sophomore setter Molly Kreklow set with the USA Volleyball Junior National Team. She has spent plenty of time with USA Volleyball in her career as she was also with the Youth National Team for two seasons. She has now spent four years with USA Volleyball, gaining plenty of high-level experience along the way.

Brimmage Plays With USA Volleyball As Well
Kreklow wasn't the only Tiger to play with USA Volleyball over the summer as Brittney Brimmage led the USA Volleyball A2 Blue Team to a USA Volleyball Women's Open Division Championship. She helped her team go 4-0 (winning 12 of 15 sets) during pool play. The team was then bumped to the loser's bracket and came all the way back to win the tournament. She was one of the team's top middle hitters throughout the tournament.

Henning Tours China
Sophomore Lisa Henning had an experience of a lifetime over the summer as she played volleyball in China, touring and playing some of the nation's top professional teams. Henning and her team compiled a 2-4 record in six matches in China, playing against very disciplined, professional competition. She also visited places like the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven.

Recruiting Class Earns National Honors
For the second straight season, the Mizzou volleyball program has brought in a nationally-ranked recruiting class as this year's checks in at No. 22 nationally. The 2011 class comes on the heels of the Tigers' No. 14-ranked class in 2010. Three of the signees - Jade Hayes, Whitney Little and Emily Wilson - were named to the Volleyball Magazine NFINITY Fab 50. With a pair of top 25 classes in consecutive seasons, look for those nine players to be the nucleus of the Mizzou volleyball program in the years to come.

California Girls
On this year's Mizzou roster, fans may notice something that they haven't seen under Wayne and Susan Kreklow. Two players on this year's roster - Niki Collier and Sarah Meister - hail from California, marking the first California natives that the Kreklows have coached at Mizzou. Both have seen significant court time this year and are am important part of the Tiger freshman class that ranked No. 22 nationally.

Hayes Brings Plenty of Accolades
Freshman utility player Jade Hayes is one of the headliners of Mizzou's 2011 freshman class and she brings with her the accolades to back it up. She is a two-time Gatorade Missouri State Player of the Year and was the AVCA National Player of the Year as a junior in 2009. She led Ozark High School to a state title in 2009 and a third-place finish in 2010. She was also named MVP of the AVCA/Under Armour High School All-America match last year as well and was named to the Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 and PrepVolleyball.com's Defensive Dandy list.

Hayes projects as a libero long term at the collegiate level, but this season she will likely have a utility role due to her versatility, although she will likely battle for the libero job with Priscilla Armendariz. Listed a 6-0, she can hit, serve and defend and will also likely serve as the team's backup setter.

Little Named Forth Worth Player of the Year
Incoming freshman Whitney Little has also gained her fair share of accolades as she comes into Mizzou this season. The 6-3 middle blocker was a PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace, a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection and a member of the AVCA High School All-America Watch List, but her greatest honor came from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which named her as the Super Team Player of the Year.

Wilson Continues Nebraska Pipeline
It has been no secret that Mizzou, under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow, has been able to recruit the state of Nebraska with a lot of success. Names like All-Americans Lindsey Hunter, Nicole Wilson and former Big 12 Libero of the Year Tatum Ailes are just a few of the successful Nebraska natives to come through Mizzou in the last 11 seasons. And the tradition with continue this season as Emily Wilson will make her debut with Mizzou. She is the sister of former Tiger middle hitter Catie Wilson and was voted MVP of the All-Nebraska State Team twice in her high school career. The 6-2 outside hitter should figure into the mix right away for the Tigers.

Blue Springs Connection
Looking at the Tiger roster, there is a connection between several players coming from the Kansas City area as four players - Priscilla Armendariz, Lisa Henning and Ashton Bodenstab - hail from Blue Springs, Mo. In fact, Armendariz and Henning actually played for rival high schools as well.

A Competitive Schedule
With the departure of Colorado and Nebraska from the Big 12 Conference, a new-look schedule will take hold in the Big 12 this season. Instead of playing 20 league matches, each team will now play 16, playing each team twice. The loss of four matches has led to an additional non-conference tournament for the Tigers this season, giving the Tigers a chance to test themselves against some of the top non-conference competition in the nation. In fact, Mizzou will play 11 of its 33 matches against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.

`Bridging' A Local Connection
The Mizzou volleyball family has always played a very active role in the City of Columbia community, and that trend is continuing at Rock Bridge High School, one of two local Columbia high schools. There is a growing connection between the two schools that has moved beyond coincidence. Former Tiger and 2007 Big 12 Libero of the Year Tatum Ailes is now the head coach as Rock Bridge and her assistant coach is none other than former Mizzou middle hitter Catie Wilson, who graduated last season. Keep in mind that Wilson's sister - Emily Wilson - is a freshman on this year's Mizzou roster as well.

But the connections don't stop there. Current Tiger freshman Niki Collier led Rock Bridge to its first district title in 25 years in 2010 before eventually signing with the Tigers for the upcoming season. Not only that, but Wayne and Susan Kreklow's daughter Allie is a setter for the Rock Bridge volleyball team. The connection shows how connected the Tiger program has been with the community for the 11 years that Wayne and Susan Kreklow have been at Mizzou.

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. Jim Grundy will be in his first year as the team's play-by-play announcer. All broadcasts can be accessed at MUTigers.tv.

Up Next
The Tigers will enjoy a much-needed break after playing 19 matches in just more than a month's time as they will have a bye this Saturday. Following that, Mizzou will travel to No. 25 Oklahoma for a pivotal showdown with the Sooners in Norman. That match is slated for a 7 p.m. start on Oct. 5. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.

 

 

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