Tigers Welcome Tech on Homecoming

MUTIGERS.COM
<i>Lisa Henning has been the Big 12's top attacker during Big 12 play.</i>

MUTIGERS.COM
Lisa Henning has been the Big 12's top attacker during Big 12 play.
MUTIGERS.COM

Oct. 13, 2011

Match Info: Mizzou (15-7, 2-4 Big 12) vs. Texas Tech (14-6, 0-5 Big 12)
Date: Oct. 15
Time: 5 p.m.
Admission: Free
Parking Info: Click Here
Location: Columbia, Mo.
Arena: Hearnes Center
Television: Mediacom 22 (Tape Delay)
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 return to the Hearnes Center for its second-straight home match as it will host Texas Tech at 5 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 15). Admission to the match is free and fans are encouraged to attend the match immediately following Mizzou's Homecoming football game against Iowa State.

• Sophomore Lisa Henning posted a career-best 27 kills in each of her last two matches and has been the Big 12's top attacker in league play. She currently sits in first place in the Big 12 with 4.92 kills per set during Big 12 play and is first in points per set with her 5.48 pps average in league play as well. Over her last five matches Henning is averaging 5.00 kills per set and a league-high 5.59 points per set.

• Setter Molly Kreklow posted another double-double against KU with 54 assists and 10 digs as she now has a double-double in eight of her last nine matches as she leads the team with nine this season. The only match over her last nine in which she did not record a double-double was on the road at Iowa State in the Big 12 opener.

• Senior Brittney Brimmage continues to lead the Big 12 in hitting at .382 this season. In fact, Mizzou currently ranks as the Big 12's No. 2 hitting team with its .253 clip in 2011. That mark trails only Oklahoma, which checks in at .255.

What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
• Mizzou will continue its three-match home stand against Texas Tech on Homecoming Saturday (Oct. 15).
• Admission to the match is free and it is set for a 5 p.m. start and will air on Mediacom Channel 22.
• The Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating archrival Kansas, 3-1, on Wednesday.
• 11 of the Tigers' last 13 matches have gone past three sets and five of those have gone the full five sets.
• Head coach Wayne Kreklow sits just five wins shy of his 400th as a collegiate women's coach.
Lisa Henning leads all Big 12 attackers in kills per set (4.92) and points per set (5.48) in league play.
• Henning joins KSU's Kaitlynn Pelger as the only two players to average more than 5.00 pps in Big 12 play.
• Henning tallied a career-best 27 kills in each of the Tigers' last two matches, most recently vs. KU on Wed.
• Henning holds four of the Big 12's top five kill performances during league play this season.
• Over her last five matches, Henning is averaging 5.00 kills per set with 115 total kills.
• Setter Molly Kreklow has recorded a double-double in eight of her last nine matches.
• Kreklow now ranks third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.65 and leads the league in total assists at 884.
• Tiger senior Brittney Brimmage sits atop the Big 12 in hitting at .382 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 .365 with 54 kills (2.35 per set) over her last five matches.
Priscilla Armendariz sits just one dig shy of moving into seventh all-time in career digs at MU with 1,102.
• Armendariz has been better in Big 12 play, averaging 4.50 digs per set. She averaged just 3.47 prior to that.

Texas Tech Visits on Homecoming
After snapping a three-match skid, the Mizzou volleyball team welcomes Texas Tech to the Hearnes Center on Saturday (Oct. 15) for a 5 p.m. match that will air in a tape-delayed broadcast on Mediacom Channel 22. Admission to the match is free and fans are encouraged to come to the match immediately following Mizzou's Homecoming football game against Iowa State. The contest is the middle of a three-match homestand for the Tigers, who have played 15 of their 22 matches away from home this season.

Last Time Out
The Tigers topped archrival Kansas in a thrilling four-set match, 3-1 (25-21, 26-24, 20-25, 28-26), on Wednesday night (Oct. 12) at the Hearnes Center. For the second-straight match, sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning tallied a career-best 27 kills as she posted a match-high 30 points to lead the Tigers to the four-set win. Freshman Whitney Little also had a nice match tallying 10 kills - just one off of her career-high - while posting 13.0 total points, good for second on the team. Mizzou has now won the last two matches over its rivals to the west dating back to last season.

Henning Shines Over Last Five
As mentioned above, Lisa Henning had a career-best match against KU Wednesday as she has been one of the league's top attackers over her last five matches. In fact, Henning is averaging 5.00 kills per set in that span and has tallied 128.5 total points over her last five matches, good for a league-best 5.59 points per set in that span.

Kreklow Five 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 five 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 746 wins as a coaching duo, 237 of which have come during their 11-plus seasons at Mizzou.

Henning Continues to Impress During League Play
Sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning has put together an impressive stretch during Big 12 play as she leads the Big 12 in kills per set (4.92) and in points per set (5.48). In fact, Henning and KSU's Kaitlynn Pelger are the only two players in the Big 12 to average more than 5.00 points per set during league matches this season. Below are a few quick notes on Henning during Big 12 play.

• She has eclipsed 20 kills four times in five matches and has reset her career-high four times in that span.
• Henning owns four of the league's top five kill totals in Big 12 matches this season with her 27 at Baylor and against KU, 24 against Kansas State and her 21 against Texas A&M.
• Henning also owns the top three point performances in Big 12 play this season with her 30.0 against Kansas and her 29.5 and 28.0 against Baylor and Kansas State, respectively.
• Henning is the only player to eclipse the 100-kill mark during Big 12 play so far this season.
• In fact, Henning's 128 kills are 29 more than the next-best Big 12 athlete - Suzy Boulavsky of Oklahoma.
• She is also leads the Big 12 in points (142.5) and points per set (5.48) by a wide margin during Big 12 play. Her 5.48 pps average is a sizeable lead over second-place (KSU's Pelger - 5.15) and her 142.5 total points leads OU's Boulavsky by 33 in league play.

Henning Matches Career High in Two Straight
For the second straight match, Lisa Henning reset her career-high in kills with 27 against Kansas on Wednesday. Her 27 kills are the most by a Tiger since former All-American Paola Ampudia tallied 29 in a losing effort at Oklahoma on Oct. 9, 2010. Her 27 kills also mark the most by a Tiger against Kansas since Ampudia tallied a school-record 35 kills against the Jayhawks on Oct. 24, 2009. Henning's 27 kills in back-to-back matches are a Mizzou rally-scoring-era record for total kills in back-to-back matches (54). She is also the first Tiger to ever post two-straight 27-kill matches.

Double-Double Machine
Over her last nine matches, sophomore setter Molly Kreklow has posted eight double-doubles after spreading 54 assists to go along with 10 digs in the Tigers' four-set win over Kansas. In all, Kreklow leads the Tigers with nine double-doubles this season. Over the last nine matches, Kreklow is averaging 3.00 per set, good for second-best on the team, trailing only senior libero Priscilla Armendariz, who is averaging 4.15.

Kreklow Tops 50 Assists in Three of Four
For the fourth time in five matches, Kreklow topped the 50-assist mark with her 54 on Wednesday against Kansas. In all, Kreklow has topped 50 assists four times this season and all have come over the last five matches. She began the streak with a then season-best outing 53 against Texas A&M, good for the second-best four-set total in the Big 12 this season. She then tallied a season-best 56 against Kansas State and had 52 at Baylor last Saturday.

Kreklow Third in Assists Per Set
Kreklow comes into the Texas Tech match averaging 10.65 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.

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 as she is now averaging a .382 clip. She is just ahead of OU's Sallie McLaurin, who checks in at .375.

Returning to Form
In all, Brimmage is hitting .365 with 54 kills over her last five 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.

Pip Cracks All-Time Top 10
Senior libero Priscilla Armendariz sits just one dig back of seventh place in Mizzou history in career digs as she has 1,102 in her career. In all, Armendariz is averaging 3.80 digs per set this season and will likely finish the season ranked in the all-time single season top 10 in both digs and digs per set at Mizzou. She is also coming off of back-to-back 20-dig efforts and has eclipsed the 18-dig mark in each of her last five matches, including a season-best 25 against Texas A&M on Sept. 24.

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 14.85 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 4.50 over the Tigers' six Big 12 matches.

Meister Impressive in Her Last Seven Matches
Another bright spot in the Tiger back row as of late has been freshman Sarah Meister. The San Diego native has pulled in 80 digs over her last eight matches - she missed the Oklahoma match due to a concussion - while averaging 2.35 digs per set despite playing in just three rotations. She has tallied nine digs three times in that span and been over double-digits four times, including a season-best 15 against Kansas on Wednesday. She had 11 - good for her second-best career total - at Baylor last Saturday as well.

Meister Has Connection to Texas Tech
Staying on the topic of Sarah Meister, the San Diego native will square off against one of her former teammates this Saturday as fellow Scripps Ranch High School product Sam Podraza is a freshman middle hitter for Texas Tech. Mesiter and Podraza were close friends growing up and played together for Scripps Ranch High School and for Epic Volleyball Club. According to Meister, the two are very close and grew up playing volleyball, soccer, softball and basketball in the San Diego area. Podraza has played in 23 sets for Tech this year, totalling 17 kills, four service aces and 14 blocks.

Mizzou Leads the League In Digs Allowed
Through 21 matches this season, the Tigers continue to lead the Big 12 in digs allowed at just 13.53 per set as their hitters have been very good. Mizzou has led the Big 12 in that category nearly all season as the opposition has struggled to slow the Tiger attack this season. Mizzou and Texas are the only two teams in the Big 12 to allow less than 14.00 digs per set and Mizzou has a sizeable lead over Texas (13.53 vs. 13.94).

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 road matches last week, Mizzou has now played 15 of its 22 matches away from home this season. Keep in mind that four of the Tigers' six home matches were played during the opening weekend as part of the Tiger Invitational. That means the Tigers have played just two home matches since Aug. 27.

Big Crowds at Home
Despite only playing the seven home matches this year, huge crowds have flocked to the Hearnes Center as a total of 18,963 fans have watched the Tigers this season, good for 2,709 fans per match. That mark ranks the Tigers seventh nationally and first among Big 12 schools this season. 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. Mizzou hosted 2,639 total fans in the match against Kansas on Wednesday night. The fan support from the Golden Tigers, VolleyZou and the Columbia community has been great this season.

The big crowds are a key reason why Mizzou has been able to race out to a 6-1 start inside the Hearnes Center this season. In fact, since Wayne and Susan Kreklow have taken over at Mizzou, the Tigers are 117-41 at home as they have won nearly 75-percent of their home matches under the Kreklows.

Scouting Texas Tech
Led by senior outside hitter Amanda Dowdy, Texas Tech is enjoying a resurgent season under first-year head coach Don Flora. At 14-6, Tech is off to its best start in recent memory but has struggled since Big 12 play began with with an 0-5 mark in league play. In Tech's defense, it has played three ranked opponents and Baylor on the road.

Dowdy leads the offensive attack for the Red Raiders as she hit hitting .238 with 265 kills, averaging 4.08 per set. Junior Miara Cave is second on the team with 181 kills (2.78 per set) on .257 hitting. As a team, Tech has been very good defensively, averaging a Big 12-best 3.04 blocks per set. Tech is the only team in the Big 12 to average more than 3.04 blocks per set. Four Red Raider players average more than 1.00 blocks per set, led by Dravon Rangel's 1.50 per set clip. In the back row, the defense is anchored by libero Tory Vaughn, who is averaging 3.68 digs per set.

Series Information
Mizzou leads the all-time series with Texas Tech, 20-11, after sweeping the season series. In fact, Mizzou has won 19 of the last 20 meeting with Texas Tech, including 16 straight matches. The 16 consecutive wins for the Tigers over the Red Raiders is their longest active streak against any Big 12 foe.

The Last Meeting
The Tigers defeated the Red Raiders, 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-29), on Nov. 10 last season to extend its winning streak at the time to five straight. Senior Julianna Klein led the way for the Tigers with 17 kills in that match while Mizzou finished the four-setter with 65 kills (16.25 per set). Molly Kreklow anchored a Tiger offense that was very productive in the match. She spread 51 assists (12.75 per set) and led a Mizzou offense that got at least six kills from six different players. Kreklow was one of the six players with six kills as she did so on .500 hitting.

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
Mizzou will have a quick turnaround as it will play Central Arkansas on Monday (Oct. 17) at the Hearnes Center. 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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