Oct. 15, 2013
What's Inside - A Quick Look at the Notes
With a national-best 21 wins, No. 18 Mizzou hosts Georgia Friday at 6:30 p.m. and No. 2 Florida Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Sunday's match vs. Florida will be Mizzou's `Bust the House' as they will look to break the attendance record.
Mizzou split with Georgia last year with each team winning at home and Florida won both matches a year ago.
Mizzou is ranked 18th nationally, the highest ranking for a Mizzou squad since Oct. 23, 2006, when they were 16th.
Now at 21-0, the Tigers are off to the best start in program history, topping the previous best mark of 19-0 in 1982.
The Tigers are 5-0 in SEC play for the first time ever and 5-0 in league play for the first time since 2005.
The Tigers are the only undefeated team in the SEC and join Sunday's foe UF as the only unbeatens in SEC play.
Over the last five matches, Mizzou has been aced just seven times (279 chances) while acing opponents 31 times.
Outside hitter Carly Kan is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, the first ever Tiger to win the award.
Kan leads all six-rotation freshmen in the SEC in hitting at .374 and is second among SEC freshman outsides.
The Tigers are averaging just 3.19 attack errors per set, the top mark among teams from power conferences.
Mizzou leads the nation in hitting (.378), is second in assists (14.33) and is third in kills (15.13).
In fact, Mizzou is the only team in the nation to rank in the top five in all three of those categories.
The Tigers also rank seventh nationally in service aces (1.81) and 25th in blocks (2.72).
Molly Kreklow is second nationally in assists per set (12.46) and Whitney Little is second in hitting (.524).
Freshman Julia Towler is averaging 2.25 kills per set on .519 hitting over her last three matches.
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 (83 wins) has a shot of winning the third-most games over a four-year span at Mizzou (currently 84).
Henning posted 24 kills last weekend, moving her career total to 1,584, the top active mark in the SEC.
Henning is now just 74 kills and 144.0 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).
No. 18 Tigers Face Tough Home Weekend
The undefeated 21-0 Mizzou volleyball team will face arguably its toughest test of the season this weekend as it hosts Georgia (14-4, 4-2 SEC) Friday at 6:30 p.m. and No. 2 Florida (17-1, 6-0 SEC) in what could be a battle of SEC unbeatens on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Sunday's match with Florida is Mizzou's `Pack the House' as fans are encouraged to come help Mizzou break its attendance record, which coincidentally was set in a very similar situation in 2005. In 2005, the Tigers, ranked seventh nationally, were an undefeated 12-0 and welcomed No. 1 and Big 12 powerhouse Nebraska to the Hearnes Center and a school record 7,298 fans took in the match.
Mizzou Moves Up in AVCA Poll
The Mizzou volleyball team made the biggest move of any team in the AVCA Top 25 Poll as it climbed seven spots to 18th when the poll was released Monday (Oct. 14). The rank for the Tigers, who own a national-best 21-0 record and remain as one of two unbeaten teams nationally, is the team's highest since Oct. 23, 2006, when the team ranked 16th nationally. The Tigers are one of three SEC teams in the poll, joining No. 14 Kentucky and No. 2 Florida.
Mizzou Off to Best Start in Program History
At a national-best 21-0, the No. 18 Mizzou volleyball team is off to its best start in program history. The previous best mark to open a season was 19-0 by the 1982 team. The Tigers surpassed that mark with their 20th consecutive win at Tennessee last Friday. At 5-0 in SEC play, the Tigers are also off to their best start in league play since 2005 when the team won its first six before losing to No. 1 Nebraska.
Tigers Lead the Nation in Points Per Set
It has been well documented that Mizzou owns one of the nation's top offenses, but the most telling stat to back up that claim may be that the Tigers have scored 19.66 points per set this season, a national-best. A lot of that is due to the fact that Mizzou has lost an NCAA-low four sets, but the fact that Mizzou is scoring nearly 20 of 25 points per set this season is impressive. Basically, if the opposition makes five errors (service, attack, ball handling, etc.), Mizzou has a pretty good shot of winning that set. Stanford is the next-best nationally at 19.22 while Sunday's foe Florida is third at 19.05.
Kan Named SEC Freshman of the Week
Freshman outside hitter Carly Kan was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week, as announced by the league office on Monday (Oct. 14). The SEC weekly honor marks the first career nod for Kan and it is the second consecutive week that Mizzou has claimed an SEC weekly honor after senior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) took home Player of the Week honors last Monday. It is the third time this season that Mizzou has claimed an SEC weekly honor and the first time in school history that a Tiger has been named SEC Freshman of the Week. The "Flyin' Hawaiian" averaged 4.30 points per set and 3.70 kills per set on .453 hitting last week with just three errors on 75 attempts. She posted her first career double-double with 10 kills (.345 hitting) and 10 digs at Tennessee and came back with a career-best 19 kills on .471 hitting in a 3-1 win over Alabama.
Is The Flyin' Hawaiian Top Freshman in the SEC?
There are several freshman in the SEC that are making huge impacts this season - Alabama's Krystal Rivers, Florida's Alex Holston and LSU's Briana Holman come to mind - but Mizzou's Carly Kan may have made the largest impact. Of all of those players named, Kan is the only six-rotation player and the only one that is a primary passer. She is also sixth in the conference in hitting and ranks in the top-20 in kills (sixth among freshmen) and is ninth in aces and 15th in points. Her complete court game is what makes her stand out as she is averaging 2.37 digs per set and she has been targeted with 414 serves, a team-high, and she has converted 96-percent of those chances. Not only has she emerged as the Tigers' No. 2 swing, but she has shored up the Tiger passing, defense and ball control this season.
The Wrath of Kan's Passing
It is clear that Carly Kan has been the opposition's top serving target this season, which has played right into the Tigers' hands, especially over the last five matches. In the last five, she has been targeted with 133 serves and has converted 130 of the 133 (98-percent). That includes a perfect mark on 40 serves at Arkansas and just one over her last 58 chances in her last two matches.
Serving-Passing the Key to Turn-Around This Season
When asked what is the biggest difference between this year's 21-0 team and last year's 19-12 team, head coach Wayne Kreklow credits `a lot of little things' for the turnaround. But one stat that is as telling as any is the Tigers' passing numbers. Over the last five matches, Mizzou has been aced just seven times in 279 chances (97.4-percent) while acing opponents 31 times in those five contests. This year, Mizzou is averaging just 0.83 reception errors per set and last year Mizzou finished the season averaging 1.19. The Tigers reception percentage was just 93.6-percent last season.
Towler on a Roll
Over the last three matches, freshman Julia Towler has come off the bench as the Tigers' secret weapon and has turned in stellar offensive performances. In fact, she has compiled 18 kills (2.25 per set) on .519 hitting in that span while averaging 1.50 blocks per set. She had a career-best eight kills on .545 hitting vs. Austin Peay.
Tigers Have Six Wins Over NCAA Tournament Teams From A Season Ago
No. 18 Mizzou defeated Tennessee in Knoxville last Friday, its sixth win over a team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament a year ago. The other five are Arkansas, NC State, Yale, Colgate and Fairfield. What is remarkable about the six wins is that all of them have come away from home while four have come in true road contests.
Tigers Lead Nation in Wins; One of Two Unbeatens Nationally
Heading into the weekend at a perfect 21-0, Mizzou leads the nation in wins this season and are one of just two unbeatens nationally. The Tigers are also the only unbeaten team in the SEC, and have lost a national-low four sets all season and their 63 set wins are a national-best. The only other unbeaten team in the nation is Colorado State at 15-0. The Rams play at San Diego State (9-7) and UNLV (10-6) this weekend.
Coach Kreklow Approaching 500 Wins as Head Coach
With Mizzou's two wins last weekend, 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 494 in his career and has a shot at breaking the 500-win mark this season as he needs just six more.
Tigers Lead Power Conferences With Fewest Attack Errors Per Set
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou is averaging just 3.19 attack errors per set, the lowest among any team in a power conference this season. Below is a look at the rankings.
Mizzou - 3.19
Offense Fires on All Cylinders
Florida - 3.58
Stanford - 3.69
Minnesota - 3.70
Washington - 3.98
Through the first 21 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 is the only team nationally to rank in the top five in every offensive category
Offense Shows Incredible Balance
Mizzou ranks first nationally in hitting (.378), second in assists (14.33) and third in kills (15.13)
Molly Kreklow is second nationally in assists (12.46) and Whitney Little is second in hitting (.524)
Mizzou has hit better than .333 in 18 of 21 matches this season and has hit .380 or better 12 times
Mizzou is first in the SEC in service aces per set (1.81) and ranks seventh nationally
Mizzou has not hit lower than .270 this season and has hit lower than .300 just three times.
Mizzou's top eight attackers are all hitting .336 or better 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. The Tigers have seven players averaging at least 1.43 kills per set and its top four all average at least 2.38. That balance has led to the Tigers' top eight attackers hitting at least .336 or better this season.
Wins Away From Home
Worth noting this season has been the Tigers ability to win away from home. In fact, the Tigers have won nine matches away from the Hearnes Center this season,matching their total wins away from home last season. Five of the Tigers' nine wins away from home have come in true road contests as well, four of which came against teams that went to the NCAA Tournament a year ago (Tennessee, Arkansas, Yale, Fairfield). Mizzou had just five true road wins all of last season.
Henning Becomes Third Tiger to 1,500 Career Kills
With 289 kills this season, senior Lisa Henning is 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 1,584 after tallying 24 last weekend. Of the three hitters to eclipse 1,500 career kills in Mizzou history, Henning leads all three of them with a .267 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 12.46 assists per set are second in the nation, that total would rank just seventh 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 14.95 per set, ahead of the school record (Lindsey Hunter, 14.43 in 2004).
Little With National-Low 14 Attack Errors
So far this season, junior middle blocker Whitney Little has just 14 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 19.5 attacks this season, a national-best.
Georgia comes into Friday's match at 14-4 overall and 4-2 in SEC play. Their only losses have come on the road at Texas A&M and No. 2 Florida in straight sets. Georgia has a very balanced offense as four players average over 2.00 kills per set and one more is at 1.81 per set. Stacey Smith and Lauren Teknipp lead the team in kills with 153 and 152, respectively, while Brittany Northcutt has 148. The Bulldogs average 2.47 blocks per set and 15.15 digs per set as they have been very good defensively, limiting opponents to .188 hitting. They have also been aced just 40 times this season while acing opponents 77 times. The all-time series with Georgia is tied at two wins apiece and the teams traded sweeps last season at home.
Florida, the defending SEC Champions and the second-ranked team in the nation, enters Sunday's match as one of the elite teams in the nation. Statistically, the only offense in the nation that is better is Mizzou's as the Gators hit .351 with 15.25 kills per set. They average 19.06 points per set, which leaves very little margin for error for the opposition. All-American and defending SEC Player of the Year Chloe Mann is the leader for the Gators as she is hitting a national-best .540 with 3.48 kills per set. The Gators have incredible balance as well with Zive Recek averaging 3.51 kills per set while Simone Antwi and Alex Holston averaged 2.33 and 2.61, respectively. Florida has been aced just 32 times in 57 sets, by far the best mark in the SEC. Florida leads the all-time series with Mizzou 3-0, with all three meetings coming since 2011.
Little Rewriting Record Books
After resetting the Mizzou single season blocks record in both her freshman and sophomore seasons, Whitney Little enters the weekend ranked first all-time at Mizzou with a 1.18 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 .369 career attack percentage, also the best in school history. Much of that is due to her torrid start, hitting .524 this season, the second-best clip in the nation.
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 83 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
Crowds Among Best in School History
2002-05 - 90 wins
2002-04 - 89 wins
1982-85 - 84 wins
Mizzou Senior Class - 83 wins
So far this season, Mizzou has seen very large crowds at the Hearnes Center as it has returned to being one of the premier venues in college volleyball. The Tigers have averaged 2,406 fans per match this season and the 3,534 fans that saw Mizzou defeat Alabama last Sunday are the seventh-most in program history. Also, the 2,904 fans that watched Mizzou sweep South Carolina in the SEC opener are the 14th-most in program history.
Henning is SEC's Active Kills Leader
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 1,584 in her career and sits just 233 kills shy of fourth in SEC history during the rally scoring era. She is also just 74 kills shy of the Mizzou all-time career kills record (1,658 by Shen Danru). Henning also needs just 144.0 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 (119 matches, 422 sets) and is fourth all-time at Mizzou with 4,721 career assists. She has also guided Mizzou to its second-best three-year hitting percentage in program history at .260, 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 last year.
Tigers With Three of the SEC's Top 20 Active Kill Leaders
As noted earlier, senior Lisa Henning is the SEC's active kill leader with 1,584, 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, while the three players account for a league-best 2,807 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 1,584
11. Wilson 639
14. Little 584
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.
The Tigers face a tough road trip as they head to Texas A&M and LSU next weekend. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB