Oct. 9, 2013
What's Inside - A Quick Look at the Notes
With a national-best 19 wins, No. 25 Mizzou plays Tennessee Friday and hosts Alabama Sunday.
Friday's match at Tennessee will air live on FS South and FS Midwest while Sunday's will be the annual Dig Pink match.
The Tigers went 1-1 last year against both Tennessee and Alabama.
Mizzou is ranked in the AVCA Top 25 for the first time since Dec. 21, 2010, when the team finished the year 22nd.
A win Tuesday vs. Austin Peay made the Tigers 19-0, matching the program's best start in history (19-0 in 1982).
The Tigers are 3-0 in SEC play for the first time ever and 3-0 in league play for the first time since 2005.
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 one of three current teams that are unbeaten in SEC play, joining Florida and Kentucky.
Senior All-American Lisa Henning is the reigning SEC Player of the Week after averaging 5.86 pps last week.
The Tigers are averaging just 3.07 attack errors per set, the top mark among teams from power conferences.
Mizzou leads the nation in hitting (.387), is second in assists (14.23) and is second in kills (15.05).
In fact, Mizzou and San Diego are the only teams to rank in the top five in every offensive stat category.
Molly Kreklow is second nationally in assists per set (12.38) and Whitney Little leads the nation in hitting (.548).
The Tigers lead the SEC in hitting, kills, assists, aces and opponent hitting, and are second in blocks.
Mizzou has five players ranked among the top 12 in hitting percentage in the SEC this season, a league-best.
The Tiger freshmen continue to make huge impacts, in particular Carly Kan and Emily Thater.
Lisa Henning is second in the SEC and 16th and 12th, respectively, nationally in both kills and points per set.
Henning leads the SEC in kills per set and points per set in league matches.
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 (81 wins) has a shot of winning the third-most games over a four-year span at Mizzou (currently 84).
Henning posted six kills Tuesday, moving her career total to 1,560, the top active mark in the SEC.
Henning is now just 98 kills and 174.0 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 (.259).
Tigers Head To Tennessee, Face Alabama in Dig Pink
After matching its best start in program history with its win over Austin Peay Tuesday, the No. 25 Mizzou volleyball program will look to set a school record as it plays at Tennessee Friday (Oct. 11) before returning home to face Alabama Sunday (Oct. 13). Mizzou will look for its school record 20th consecutive win to open the season as it heads to Tennessee for a televised match on Fox Sports South at 7:30 (CT). Dave Baker and Phil Bush will have the call. The Tigers then return home to face a tough Alabama squad in its annual Dig Pink match at the Hearnes Center on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Mizzou Matches History, Looks for 20th Win at Tennessee
It is a record that has stood at Mizzou since 1982 and the 2013 Tigers will look to break that mark Friday at Tennessee as they look for their 20th win to open the season. The previous record was set 32 seasons ago by the 1982 Tigers who won their first 19 matches. Mizzou equaled that mark with a win over Austin Peay Tuesday. To put what would be a 20-0 mark in perspective, Mizzou has won 20 matches just 15 of 39 seasons. However, it would be the Tigers eighth 20-win campaign in 14 seasons under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow.
Henning Named SEC Player of the Week
For the second time in her career, senior All-American Lisa Henning was named SEC Player of the Week on Monday (Oct. 7). The weekly conference honor for Henning is the fourth of her career and she is the second Tiger to earn SEC Player of the Week honors this season after Molly Kreklow did so on Sept. 9 following the Rice Invitational. Henning was sensational in Mizzou's win on ESPNU at Arkansas last Wednesday, posting a season-high 24 kills in the four-set win, doing so on .345 hitting. She also collected 10 digs, good for her fourth double-double of the season. She added 10 kills and a career-best five aces in the Tigers' sweep of Auburn.
Mizzou volleyball found itself ranked in the AVCA Top 25 Poll, checking in at No. 25 nationally on Monday. The Tigers are one of three SEC teams ranked in the top 25, joining Florida (second) and Kentucky (15th). This marks the first time since Dec. 21, 2010, that Mizzou has been ranked in the AVCA Top 25. That year, Mizzou finished the season ranked 22nd after advancing to the Sweet 16. Mizzou garnered 111 total points in this week's balloting, just 15 behind No. 24 BYU. This is the 66th week that Mizzou has been ranked in the AVCA Top 25, all of which have come under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow.
Tigers Have Five Wins Over NCAA Tournament Teams From A Season Ago
The Tigers got win No. 17 on Wednesday night at Arkansas in front of a nationally-televised audience on ESPNU. The win is important for the Tigers as it is their fifth over a team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament a year ago. The other four are NC State, Yale, Colgate and Fairfield.
Tigers Lead Nation in Wins; One of Three Unbeatens Nationally
Heading into the weekend at a perfect 19-0, Mizzou leads the nation in wins this season and are one of just three unbeatens nationally. The Tigers are also the only unbeaten team in the SEC, and have lost a national-low three sets all season and their 57 set wins are a national-best. Below is a look at the other unbeatens.
North Carolina (15-0) - vs. Duke, Wake Forest
Mizzou Off to Best Conference Start Since 2005
Colorado State (13-0) - vs. Utah State, Boise State
With wins over Arkansas and Auburn last week, Mizzou is now 3-0 in SEC play, marking the first time since 2005 that Mizzou has opened league play 3-0. That year, still as members of the Big 12, Mizzou won its first six league matches before falling in four sets to Nebraska at home in front of a record crowd. In 2005, that team wound up winning 16 of 20 league games before hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament before advancing to the Elite Eight. The Tigers join Florida and Kentucky as the only unbeaten teams in SEC play this season.
Coach Kreklow Approaching 500 Wins as Head Coach
With Mizzou's 3-0 sweep of Austin Peay Tuesday, head coach Wayne Kreklow inched closer to his 500th career win as a head coach, dating back to his days as the head coach of both the Columbia College men and women. He now has 492 in his career and has a shot at breaking the 500-win mark this season as he needs just nine more.
Kreklow on the Attack
In Mizzou's three-set win over Auburn last Friday, senior setter Molly Kreklow did something that you don't see from her too often as she tallied a career-best eight kills in the match. She did it on 1.000 hitting as she was successful on all eight attacks. She now has 41 kills on .444 hitting this season.
The Henning Hammer
Senior and two-time AVCA Third Team All-American Lisa Henning has put together an impressive résumé in SEC play so far this season. She leads the SEC in kills per set (4.80) and points per set (5.90) and is doing it all on .384 hitting. She had a season-best 24 kills at Arkansas last Wednesday night and hit a career-best .722 with 14 kills in Mizzou's win over South Carolina in the SEC opener. She also added a career-best five service aces vs. Auburn.
Tigers Lead Power Conferences With Fewest Attack Errors Per Set
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou is averaging just 3.07 attack errors per set, the lowest among any team in a power conference this season. Below is a look at the rankings.
Mizzou - 3.07
Offense Fires on All Cylinders
Florida - 3.51
Stanford - 3.65
Minnesota - 3.68
Penn State - 3.76
Through the first 19 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 early this week, the Tigers rank among the national elite in nearly every statistical category. Below are a few talking points on the Tiger offense.
Mizzou and San Diego are the only teams nationally to rank in the top five in every offensive category
Offense Shows Incredible Balance
Mizzou ranks first nationally in hitting (.387), second in assists (14.23) and third in kills (15.05)
Molly Kreklow is second nationally in assists (12.38) and Whitney Little leads the nation in hitting (.548)
Mizzou has hit better than .333 in 17 of 19 matches this season and has hit .380 or better 12 times
Mizzou is first in the SEC in service aces per set (1.87) and ranks 12th nationally
Mizzou has not hit lower than .270 this season and has hit lower than .300 just twice.
The Tigers' top five attackers all rank in the SEC top-12 in hitting this season
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 1.55 kills per set, while the top four are averaging at least 2.32. That has led to the gaudy hitting percentages as the balance has led to all five of the Tigers' top attackers hitting .347 or better. If you throw in Kreklow, the team's setter, the top six Tiger attackers are averaging 13.85 kills per set on .398 hitting.
Wins Away From Home
Worth noting this season has been the Tigers ability to win away from home. In fact, the Tigers have won eight matches away from the Hearnes Center this season, one shy of their total wins away from home last season (nine). Four of the Tigers' eight wins away from home have come in true road contests as well, three of which came against teams that went to the NCAA Tournament a year ago (Arkansas, 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 in the Mizzou Classic two weeks ago, senior Lisa Henning became just the third Tiger to eclipse the 1,500-kill mark in her career. She passed former Tiger All-American Jessica Vander Kooi who had 1,510 kills from 2003-06 in the win over South Carolina as she now has 1,560 after tallying six in the win over Austin Peay Tuesday. Of the three hitters to eclipse 1,500 career kills in Mizzou history, Henning leads all three of them with a .269 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 12.38 assists per set are second in the nation, 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 14.86 per set, 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 second in the nation with 12.38 per set, but she has set the Tigers to arguably the best offense in the nation. The Tigers are converting exactly 49.7-percent (743 of 1,494) of her sets into kills this season, up from her 2012 average of just 40-percent.
Little With National-Low 11 Attack Errors
So far this season, junior middle blocker Whitney Little has just 11 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 21 attacks this season, a national-best by a wide margin.
Freshmen Make Impact
In the first half of the season, several freshmen have made huge impacts this season. OH Carly Kan is second on the team with 2.83 kills per set, doing so on .367 hitting. Middle blocker Emily Thater is second on the team in hitting (.411) and blocks (1.04) and tallied 22 blocks in her first four matches, the first Tiger to do that in the rally scoring era. Back-up setter Loxley Keala has been very good as well, averaging 1.95 digs per set with 16 aces and 22 assists.
The Lady Vols come into Friday's match at 8-9 overall and 0-3 in SEC play, losing to South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky. Jamie Lea leads the team with 189 kills but is hitting just .162 on the season. Ashley Mariani has added 170 kills on .151 hitting and Raina Hembery leads the team with 45 total blocks. The unquestionable leader of the Lady Vols is senior libero Ellen Mullins who is averaging 6.02 digs per set and has just nine reception errors. The Lady Vols have struggled passing this season, being aced 81 times in 62 sets. Mizzou and UT are tied in four meetings with the two teams splitting last year and in 2005. Both matches last year went to five sets with each home team winning.
With a match at Arkansas Friday, the Tide come into the weekend with a 13-4 record and 1-2 in SEC play. The 1-2 mark in SEC play is deceiving since they have already played nationally-ranked Florida and Kentucky while boasting a road win at rival Auburn last Wednesday. Alabama is hitting .272 as a team, led by one of the most athletic players in the conference in redshirt freshman Krystal Rivers, who averages 3.47 kills per set on .426 hitting. She also leads the Tide in blocks with 52, but if there is a weak spot for the team, it is on the block as they average just 1.69 per set. Mizzou leads the all-time series with Alabama, 2-1, but the road team has won every contest between the two. The two teams split last year with Mizzou winning, 3-1, in Tuscaloosa and Alabama winning, 3-2, in Columbia.
Wilson On a Roll
Junior Emily Wilson has been on a tear over her last 16 matches. In fact, she hit an uncharacteristic .121 in her first three matches but has since hit .375 with 2.71 kills per set, raising her hitting percentage from .121 to .347, 12th-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.
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 1.17 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 .368 career attack percentage, also the best in school history. Much of that is due to her torrid start, hitting a national-best .548 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 82 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 10 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 - 82 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 1,560 in her career and sits just 257 kills shy of fourth in SEC history during the rally scoring era. She is also just 98 kills shy of the Mizzou all-time career kills record (1,658 by Shen Danru
). Henning also needs just 174.0 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 (117 matches, 415 sets) and is fourth all-time at Mizzou with 4,629 career assists. She has also guided Mizzou to its second-best three-year hitting percentage in program history at .259, trailing only the team from 2003-05 (.271), 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 19 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
Hit .559 vs. South Carolina, the best ever by a Tiger team against a conference opponent
Mizzou swept a school-record 10 consecutive matches from Sept. 7 through Sept. 27.
Lisa Henning and Carly Kan became the first Tiger teammates to hit over .700 in the same match vs. SC.
Lisa Henning was SEC Player of the Week on Oct. 7, the second of her career
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 1,560, 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 2,751 career kills. What is even more remarkable is that the trio has accumulated those kills on a combined .281 hitting with two players (Henning and Wilson) playing on the outside. Below is a look at the ranks:
SEC Rank Player Kills
Freshman Class Garners National Praise
1. Henning 1,560
11. Wilson 627
14. Little 564
PrepVolleyball.com tabbed Mizzou's 2013 freshman class as the No. 18 recruiting class nationally. The No. 18 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 ranked 14th nationally. This year's class is comprised of six individuals, the second-largest class in program history. 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 32 conference weekly honors, including six SEC tallies. 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 Sports South 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.
Following this weekend, the Tigers will face one of their stiffest weekends yet as Georgia and No. 2 Florida come to the Hearnes Center next weekend. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.