Volleyball Heads to Baylor Saturday

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Lisa Henning leads all Big 12 players in kills per set during league play.</i>
Lisa Henning leads all Big 12 players in kills per set during league play.

Oct. 6, 2011

Match Info: Mizzou (14-6, 1-3 Big 12) at Baylor (13-6, 2-3 Big 12)
Date: Oct. 8
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Waco, Texas
Arena: Ferrell Center
Audio: 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
• Mizzou will wrap up its week-long road trip this Saturday as it will play Baylor at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 8) at the Ferrell Center. Mizzou will look to make it three-straight wins in the series against Baylor as Mizzou won both meetings last season, including a 3-0 sweep of the Bears in Waco. MUTigers.com will have live stats and live audio.

• Senior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage hit .529 with 11 kills in the Tigers' loss at No. 22 Oklahoma as she recaptured the top spot in the Big 12 with her .395 attack percentage this season. In fact, the match marked the first time she had hit better than .500 since Sept. 3 against Florida International.

• Sophomore Lisa Henning moved into first place in the Big 12 with her 4.35 kills per set average during Big 12 play. She posted 16 kills on Wednesday at Oklahoma as she passed K-State's Kaitlynn Pelger for the top spot. Henning has 61 kills over her last three matches as she is averaging 4.36 kills per set in that span. Overall, she is fourth in the Big 12 in points per set (4.26) and fifth in kills per set (3.77) this season.

• Saturday's matchup should be intriguing as Mizzou leads the Big 12 in digs allowed per set at 13.46 while Baylor is the league's top digging team, averaging 17.46 per set.

What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
• Mizzou will conclude its week-long road trip at Baylor on Saturday. The match will be played at 1 p.m.
• The Tigers have lost two straight matches, but both losses came in five sets, including at No. 22 Oklahoma.
• Mizzou swept the season series with Baylor last season and will look to make it three straight on Saturday.
• Mizzou leads the Big 12 in digs allowed per set while Baylor leads the league in digs per set.
• Head coach Wayne Kreklow sits just six wins shy of his 400th as a collegiate women's coach.
Lisa Henning leads all Big 12 attackers in kills per set (4.35) while ranking second in points per set (4.88).
• Henning ranks fourth in the league in points per set (4.26) and fifth in kills per set (3.77).
• Over her last three matches, Henning has 61 kills while averaging 4.36 kills per set.
• Henning surpassed her kill total from last season at Oklahoma, doing so on less attacks and on better hitting.
• Setter Molly Kreklow has recorded a double-double in five of her last six matches.
• Kreklow now ranks third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.51 and leads the league in total assists at 778.
• Tiger senior Brittney Brimmage moved back atop the Big 12 in hitting at .395 this season.
• Brimmage hit .529 at OU, marking the first time that she has hit better than .500 since Sept. 3 vs. FIU.
• Brimmage is hitting .426 with 34 kills (2.43 per set) over her last three matches.
Priscilla Armendariz is just nine digs shy of tying eighth place in career digs all-time at Mizzou.
• Armendariz has been better in Big 12 play, averaging 4.24 digs per set. She averaged just 3.47 prior to that.
• Mizzou is averaging 14.59 dps in league play versus averaging just 13.51 in non-conference play.

What's On Tap
Mizzou will play its second-consecutive road match as it heads to Baylor for a 1 p.m. match against Baylor on Saturday (Oct. 8) at the Ferrell Center. Mizzou will look to move back into the win column after dropping two-straight five set matches in Big 12 play. Following that match, Mizzou will have played 21 matches this season with 15 coming away from home. Gametracker will be provided on MUTigers.com while fans can listen to the match live on Mizzou All-Access at MUTigers.tv.

Last Time Out
The Tigers lost their second-straight five-set match on Wednesday at No. 22 Oklahoma despite a spirited rally from down, 2-0, to force a fifth set. Sophomore Lisa Henning led Mizzou with 16 kills in the match while the Tiger middle hitting duo of Brittney Brimmage and Whitney Little combined for 21 kills on .333 hitting in the match, highlighted by Brimmage who tallied 11 on a team-best .529 hitting. Mizzou lost the first two sets of the match before battling back to win the third and fourth sets to force a decisive fifth. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead to open the frame, but from there it was all Sooners as they took the fifth, 15-7.

Double-Double Trouble for Kreklow
Molly Kreklow posted her seventh double-double of the season with 42 assists and 12 digs at OU Wednesday. In fact, five of her seven double-doubles this season have come over the last six matches as she now has three-straight double-doubles for the first time this season. She was just three kills shy of a triple-double at Oklahoma.

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 14-6 start, the team's best since 2005 when the Tigers started 17-3. 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 second among all Big 12 teams. Oklahoma leads the league with 17 wins so far. Texas Tech also has 14 wins.
• Of the Tigers' 14 wins in 2011, nine have come against teams that won at least 20 matches last season.
• Mizzou is one win better at this point this season than it was at this point last season. Through 20 matches last year, Mizzou was 13-7 while it checks in at 14-6 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. 37 this week.
• Mizzou ranks second in the Big 12 in hitting at .258, just behind second-place Oklahoma (.265).
• Mizzou reset its season-highs in kills (66), assists (63) and blocks (15.0) in its loss to K-State last Wednesday.
• Dating back to last season, Mizzou has lost just 10 times in its last 35 matches. Six of those losses came to top-25 teams while three ranked among the nation's top 15.
• Mizzou has played just six of its 20 matches this season at home. Following Saturday, Mizzou will have played 15 of 21 matches away from home this season.

Henning Leads Big 12 in Kills During League Play
Sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning leads all Big 12 attackers with her 4.35 kills per set during Big 12 play as she surpassed ISU's Carly Jenson with her 16-kill performance at Oklahoma on Wednesday. Not only that, but Henning also checks in at second in the Big 12 in points per set (4.88) during league play. Overall, Henning ranks fourth in points per set (4.26) and fifth in kills per set (3.77) in all matches this season.

Henning's 24 Kills Are Top Big 12 Mark
Staying on the topic of Henning, the Tiger sophomore's 24 kills against Kansas State are the most by a Big 12 player during league play this year. Her 21 kills against Texas A&M the previous match also rank as the third-best total in the Big 12 this season and the top four-set mark. In fact the 21 kills in the four-set match with A&M are four more than the next-best mark in the Big 12 this season.

Henning Surpasses Last Year's Kill Total
With her 16 kills at Oklahoma, Henning now has 279 kills on the season. That total is 13 more than she had all of last season and she has done so one better hitting (.256 vs. .227) and fewer attacks (716 vs. 724). Keep in mind, the Tigers still have 12 more matches this season. The biggest reason for Henning's increased production from a season ago has been her ability to play all six rotations this season. Last year, Henning finished with just 37 digs but there year she ranks third on the team with 156, more than four-times her total from a season ago.

Brimmage Leads the League in Hitting Again
Senior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage has led the Big 12 in hitting for much of the season but had slipped to second over the last two weeks. But Brimmage regained the top spot after out-deuling OU's Sallie McLaurin on Wednesday as she hit .529 with 11 kills. That moved her season clip to .395, passing McLaurin who had occupied the top spot. Brimmage has hit better than .400 in 11 of 20 matches this season and has eclipsed .500 nine times although Wednesday marked her first match over .500 since Sept. 3 against Florida International.

Returning to Form
In all, Brimmage is hitting .426 with 34 kills over her last three matches as she has seemed to regain the form that netted her Big 12 Player of the Week honors following the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Bash. At MTSU, Brimmage hit .637 with 56 kills in those five matches but hit just .214 with 66 kills in the Tigers' next eight matches. But with her performance of late, she has seemed to regain the form that ranked her as one of the most feared attackers in the Big 12.

Brimmage Reaches All-Time Top-10
Brittney Brimmage tallied her 220th career block assist against Kansas State last Wednesday as she now ranks 10th all-time in career block assists at Mizzou. She is just two shy of eighth all-time as well. Brimmage also sits just two total blocks back of 10th all-time in that category as well with 255 total blocks in her career.

Pip Cracks All-Time Top 10
Senior libero Priscilla Armendariz etched her name in the Mizzou record books last Wednesday as she collected 18 digs to move into ninth place all-time in career digs with 1,039. She now sits just nine digs shy of eighth place all-time and is one of just 11 players in program history to surpass 1,000 career digs. Armendariz is currently ninth in the Big 12 in digs per set at 3.64 this season.

Kreklow Resets Season-High in Two Consecutive Matches
For the second consecutive match, sophomore setter Molly Kreklow reset her season-high in assists as she spread 56 against Kansas State last Wednesday. Prior to that, Kreklow had passed out 53 in the Tigers' win over Texas A&M. Kreklow followed those two performances by nearly netting a triple-double at No. 22 Oklahoma with seven kills, 12 digs while spreading 42 assists. Her seven kills tie her career-high as well.

Kreklow Third in Assists Per Set
Kreklow comes into the Baylor match averaging 10.51 assists per set as she continues to rank third in the Big 12 in assists per set. 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.

Mizzou Leads the League In Digs Allowed
Through 20 matches this season, the Tigers continue to lead the Big 12 in digs allowed at just 13.46 per set as their hitters have been very good. However, Baylor enters Saturday's match as the Big 12's top digging team as it averages 17.46 per set, setting up a very intriguing matchup on Saturday.

Passing Improved at Oklahoma
When the Tigers have lost this season it has been because they have struggled on serve receive, but they seemed to turn that around on Wednesday night at Oklahoma. In fact, Mizzou was aced just twice, its lowest since Sept. 3 against Florida International. In fact, Mizzou has been aced at least five times in its nine previous matches before Oklahoma on Wednesday. Individually, Priscilla Armendariz and Katie O'Brien were the biggest bright spots in the match; Armendariz converted all 32 of her chances while O'Brien converted 29 of 30. The 30 service reception chances for O'Brien were a career-high.

Back Row Improves Defensively in League Play
Staying on the topic of back-row defense, the Tigers have seen improved play from their back row during Big 12 play. In fact, Mizzou is averaging 14.59 dps in league play versus averaging just 13.51 in non-conference play. A key reason for that is the increased production of libero Priscilla Armendariz, who averaged just 3.47 digs per set in non-conference play but has seen that mark improve to 4.24 over the Tigers' four Big 12 matches.

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 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. After playing two consecutive matches at home, Mizzou will return to the road for a pair of matches this week. In fact, following this week Mizzou will have played 15 of 21 matches this season away from home.

Big Crowds at Home
Despite only playing the six home matches this year, huge crowds have flocked to the Hearnes Center as a total of 16,324 fans have watched the Tigers this season, good for 2,721 fans per match. Mizzou has eclipsed the 3,000-fan mark three times this season, most recently in its Big 12 home-opener against Texas A&M. Mizzou has had at least 2,000 fans at every home match.

The big crowds are a key reason why Mizzou has been able to race out to a 5-1 start inside the Hearnes Center this season. In fact, since Wayne and Susan Kreklow have taken over at Mizzou, the Tigers are 116-41 at home as they have won nearly 75-percent of their home matches under the Kreklows.

Scouting Baylor
Baylor comes into Saturday's match with a 13-6 record this season and is riding a two-match winning streak after defeating Kansas and Texas Tech earlier this month. Baylor boasts one of the Big 12's most balanced offenses as six players have at least 100 kills on the season while no player has more than 200, making the front line hard to defend. Briana Tolbert leads the way with 182 kills on .347 hitting while Torri Campbell has 172 kills on .324 hitting.

The Baylor back row is also very good as it pulling in a Big 12-best 17.46 per set. Libero Allison King leads the way with 5.10 digs per set as she has corralled 347 on the season. In all, five Bear players are pulling in at least 2.00 digs per set.

Series Information
Mizzou leads the all-time series with Baylor, 17-13, after sweeping the season series in 2010. That season sweep included a 3-0 win in Waco on Nov. 20 last season. That was the Tigers' first win at Baylor since the 2007 season. Baylor won both meetings in 2009 as the teams have split the last four meetings.

The Last Meeting
Mizzou earned its 20th win of the season with its sweep of Baylor in Waco last season on Nov. 20. Mizzou's defense was very good in the sweep as then libero Caitlyn Vann pulled in 25 digs in just three sets (8.33 per set). Senior Weiwen Wang also made her impact felt, coming off of the bench to tally eight kills on 14 errorless attacks. Paola Ampudia led the way for the Tigers with 10 kills as well. Last year's win at Baylor gave Mizzou 20 wins and 12 conference wins for the first time since 2005. It was also the Tigers' 11th win away from home last season as the Tigers played very well on the road last year.

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 be back in action next Wednesday as they take on Kansas on Oct. 12 in its `Bust the House' night. The match will air live on the Mizzou Sports Network with Beau Baehman and Craig Sherman on the call. The match is slated for a 6:30 p.m. start. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.



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