Tigers Head to Georgia for Showdown on ESPNU

MUTIGERS.COM
<i>Molly Kreklow leads the SEC with 13 double-doubles.</i>

MUTIGERS.COM
Molly Kreklow leads the SEC with 13 double-doubles.
MUTIGERS.COM

Oct. 22, 2012

Mizzou Volleyball (15-6, 7-4 SEC) at Georgia (12-8, 6-4 SEC)
Date: Oct. 24
Time: 6 pm (CT)
Location: Athens, Ga.
Live Stream: MizzouNetwork.com
Twitter Updates: @MU_Volleyball
Notes: Notes - at Georgia Get Acrobat Reader

What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
• Mizzou takes on Georgia in a nationally-televised match at 6 p.m. (CT) Wednesday on ESPNU.
• The match marks the Tigers' third match on ESPNU this season and the fourth nationally-televised match.
• The Tigers are 2-1 this season in their previous three nationally-televised match.
• Mizzou is in the middle of a four-match road trip, spanning two weeks. Mizzou is 1-1 on the trip so far.
• Mizzou defeated Georgia, 3-0, at the Hearnes Center back Sept. 30 due to an impressive blocking effort.
• Mizzou has the sixth-fewest attack errors in the nation and the third-fewest among teams with 21 matches.
• Mizzou averages an SEC-best 3.32 blocks per set in SEC matches and has at least 10 blocks in seven straight.
• The Tigers have posted at least 10 blocks in 10 of 19 matches and at least nine in 12 matches.
Whitney Little is 14th nationally in bps (1.46) and fifth in solo blocks (20).
• Little leads the SEC in blocks per set (1.46) in all matches and in SEC matches (1.70).
• Little has five 10-block matches this season. The five 10-block matches is a Mizzou career and season record.
• Little has a pair of block-kill double-doubles in 2012. Before that, the last block-kill double-double was in `07.
Lisa Henning cracked the Mizzou all-time top 10 on the career kills list as she is now ninth with 1,137 kills.
• She is the second-fastest Tiger to ever reach 1,000 kills, trailing on Shen Danru.
• Henning is No. 4 on the active kill leaders list in the SEC w/ 1,137. She is the top junior on the list.
• Henning also leads the SEC in kills per set and points per set in league matches and all matches this season.
• Setter Molly Kreklow is first in the SEC with 13 double-doubles this season.
• In her three years as a Tiger setter, Kreklow has guided the team to a .241 attack clip and 13.41 kills per set.
• The team's .241 clip through her two-plus seasons is the second-best career mark for four-year Tiger setters.
• To put it into perspective, Kreklow has assisted on 82.5-percent of Mizzou's kills since 2010.
• Mizzou is holding teams to just .187 hitting this year. Mizzou has not held a team to below .200 in a season since 2005.
Sarah Meister has gone over 20 digs in six of 11 matches since switching to libero.
• Meister is averaging 4.67 digs per set since switching to libero, a mark that ranks her third in the SEC.
• Before moving to libero, Meister was averaging just 1.85 digs per set and had just a .941 serve receive mark.

This Week
Mizzou will head to Georgia for a nationally-televised match with the Bulldogs, set for a 6 p.m. first serve on ESPNU. The match for Mizzou marks its third match on ESPNU this season and its fourth nationally-televised match. So far this year, Mizzou is 2-0 on ESPNU with wins over Tennessee and Mississippi State and 2-1 in nationally-televised matches.

Road Warriors
Mizzou has had just one day at home since last Thursday as it is in the middle of a four-match road trip. Mizzou played at Ole Miss and Auburn last weekend, going 1-1 in those two contests, including a thrilling five-set win at Auburn. The Tigers then returned home Sunday night, went to classes Monday and hit to road for Athens Tuesday. Mizzou will then be home until Saturday when it leaves for Arkansas.

Updating the SEC East Race
As the season extends through the halfway point of SEC action, Mizzou finds itself in a log-jam in what is turning out to be a loaded SEC East. In fact, Mizzou is third in the East, trailing unbeaten Florida (11-0) and Tennessee (7-3). The SEC East features four teams with at least seven wins this season while the SEC West has just two (Texas A&M). Five of the six SEC East teams are over .500 and better than 6-4 in league matches.

Kreklow-Henning are a Double-Double Double-Duo
So far this season, Mizzou as a team has posted 25 double-doubles as a team, but the junior duo of Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning has accounted for 21 of those 25. In fact, Kreklow ranks first in the SEC with 13 double-doubles while Henning has seven of her eight double-doubles in SEC play, ranking her fourth in the SEC in league matches. Both Kreklow and Henning have posted double-doubles in the last five matches and the 21 combined double-doubles ranks third among all SEC duos this season (UT's Robinson-Pollmiller, 23, Arkansas' Santos-Norton, 22).

Last Time Out
The Mizzou volleyball team went 1-1 last weekend, losing to Ole Miss in four sets on Friday night before rallying for a five-set win at Auburn on Sunday. That kept true to form for the Tigers who are winless on Fridays in SEC play and undefeated on Sundays and Wednesdays so far this season. Mizzou hit .291 as a team but lost in four sets at Ole Miss despite a 21-kill, 14-dig performance from All-American Lisa Henning. Despite the tough loss, Mizzou rebounded to defeat a very good Auburn team on Sunday in five sets, despite losing the first, 25-14. The Tigers won the second and third before dropping the fourth and edging Auburn, 15-13, in the fifth after Lydia Ely and Emily Wilson teamed for a pair of blocks to clinch the match. Once again, Mizzou rode the arm of Henning in that match as she posted a career-best 27 kills on .310 hitting with 13 digs, good for her second double-double of the weekend.

Henning with Another Monster Weekend
All-American outside hitter Lisa Henning had another big performance last weekend as she posted 43 kills, including a career-best 27 kills at Auburn on Sunday. In fact, since Mizzou played at Tennessee on Oct. 5, Henning is averaging 5.24 kills per set on .269 hitting while averaging 3.24 digs per set and 0.81 blocks per set with three service aces. She has 121.5 total points in that span and is averaging 5.79 points per set over her last five matches.

Cutting Down the Errors
Heading into Wednesday's match at Georgia, Mizzou ranks second in the SEC in hitting at .266 and a key reason for that mark is the Tigers' ability to cut down on attack errors. In fact, Mizzou has the sixth-fewest attack errors in the country so far this season and is averaging just 3.89 errors per set. In fact, four of the five teams that rank ahead of the Tigers have played two fewer matches than Mizzou's 21. BYU is the only team in the nation to play more than 19 matches and have fewer errors than the Tigers as they have just 296 attack errors in 21 matches. Only Washington, BYU and Nebraska have fewer attack errors per set than the Tigers this season. Below is a look at the standings.

    • Washington - 249 errors - 19 matches - 3.83 per set
    • Texas - 257 errors - 19 matches - 3.95 per set
    • Nebraska - 260 errors - 19 matches - 3.88 per set
    • Florida - 271 errors - 19 matches - 4.04 per set
    • BYU - 275 errors - 21 matches - 3.71 per set
    • Mizzou - 296 errors - 21 matches - 3.89 per set
Henning Joins Elite Company
Junior All-American Lisa Henning has been rewriting the Mizzou record books since her freshman season and she just joined elite company last weekend as she cracked the all-time Mizzou top 10 in career kills with 1,137 in her two-plus seasons at Mizzou. She now ranks ninth all-time and needs just four kills to tie Jody Maune (1995-98) with 1,141 and she has a realistic shot of ranking as high as seventh on the list by season's end. That will put her within striking distance of the all-time record holder, Shen Danru (1,658 kills from 2002-05). Below are a few notables on Henning.
    • First Tiger underclassman ever to be named All-American (third team last year) and is Mizzou's sixth All-American
    • Led the Big 12 in kills, kills per set and points per set in league matches last season, the first Tiger to do so
    • Currently leads the SEC in kills per set and points per set in all matches and league matches
    • Is currently fourth in the SEC among active players in career kills and is the top junior on the list
    • Recently broke into the 1,000-kill club, the 11th Tiger to do so.
    • She is the second-fastest Tiger ever to 1,000 career kills (four-year players).
    • Is on pace to shatter that all-time career kills record at Mizzou, currently held by Shen Danru.
    • Set a Mizzou record with 523 kills in 2011 and is on pace to break that this season
    • Preseason All-SEC Team member
    • Three-time Big12/SEC Player of the Week in her career
Block This Way
Looking at the season stats for the Tigers, the one thing that stands out is the Tigers' blocking numbers. In fact, Mizzou leads the SEC with its 2.76 blocks per set average while its 209.5 total blocks leads the SEC as well. The 2.76 blocks per set clip ranks the Tigers 18th nationally. The numbers are even better in SEC play as the Tigers are averaging 3.05 blocks per set with a league-leading 131.0 total blocks. The next-best total by an SEC team in league matches is 112 by LSU.

More on the Block
The Tigers have had at least 10 blocks in eight of nine matches and all but two of their 11 SEC matches. The Tigers' current 2.76 blocks per set would rank second all-time at Mizzou, trailing only the 2000 team. That would be a Mizzou rally-scoring record and a 25-point set era record as well.

Little Playing Big
Another developing trend for the Tigers this season is the play of sophomore middle hitter Whitney Little, especially over the last 13 matches as she has seemed to rewrite the record book every time she played in that span. Little has five 10-block matches in that span, resetting the Mizzou record for 10-block matches in a career. The previous record had been four by former Tiger All-American Christi Myers - keep in mind, Little broke that career mark in a span of just nine matches after posting 11 blocks at Tennessee on Oct. 5. Below are a few notables on Little.

    • Little is 14th nationally in blocks per set (1.46) and leads the SEC overall and in league matches
    • Little is also fifth nationally in solo blocks (20)
    • She had five 10-block matches over nine matches. That reset the school record for career 10-block matches
    • Little has two block-kill doubles this season; the last block-kill double-double for MU was back in `07
    • Little matched the rally scoring school record with five solo blocks at Florida
    • Little sits atop the all-time Mizzou career records in blocks per set (1.22) and is fifth in hitting (.313)
    • Little could reset her own single season blocking record (138). She is on pace for more than 170 blocks.
    • Little owns the SEC's top five blocking marks this season and leads the SEC in blocking.
Official RPI Rankings Released
The NCAA released its official RPI rankings on last Monday and the Tigers moved up one spot this week to No. 48 in the rankings as they are one of seven SEC teams ranked in the RPI top 50. That bodes well for the league moving forward as it will look to secure multiple NCAA Tournament berths. Last year, the Tigers were an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament with an RPI of 32. Below are a look at the SEC rankings in the NCAA RPI.
    • Florida - 10 (Tigers play twice; one remaining match)
    • Tennessee - 16 (Tigers split two matches)
    • Kentucky - 20 (Tigers play once)
    • Arkansas - 25 (Tigers play once)
    • Texas A&M - 27 (Tigers play twice; one remaining match)
    • Mizzou 48
    • Georgia- 51 (Tigers play once)
Tigers Second in SEC, 21st Nationally in Hitting
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou ranks among the national elite in team hitting percentage at .266, ranking it second in the SEC and 21st nationally. If the season ended today, the .266 clip would be the fourth-best attack clip in program history, trailing only the 2005 team (.299), the 2000 team (.289) and the 2002 team (.280).

Kreklow Improves Hitting
Heading into the season, junior setter Molly Kreklow was more known for her ability to run an offense, but it has been her offensive production that has caught the eye of many this season. In addition to guiding the team to a .266 attack percentage, Kreklow also proved to be a formidable attacker, posting 87 kills on just 166 attacks with just 16 errors, good for a .428 clip. Kreklow entered the season as a .179 career attacker, so her .428 clip is a vast improvement.

Tigers Limiting Opponent Hitting This Season
So far this season, a trend is developing that is different from Tiger teams over the last several seasons. Mizzou is holding its opponents to just a .187 attack percentage, good for the sixth-best clip in the SEC. Mizzou has limited its opponents to under .200 hitting in 13 of 21 matches, winning 12 of those. The Tigers have not held their opponents under .200 hitting in a season since 2005. To back up how important this is to Mizzou's success, it is 10-1 when holding its opponents to under .200 while it is 5-5 when teams hit better than .200.

Scouting Georgia
Georgia comes into Wednesday's match at 12-8 overall, but the Bulldogs have won three of their last four overall matches and their last three SEC matches as they stand at 6-4 in the SEC, just a half game back of Mizzou and Kentucky for third place in the SEC East. Tirah Le'au leads the team with 204 kills (2.87 per set) on .226 hitting while Briana Bahr averaged 2.59 kills per set on .266 hitting from the middle. Only on regular attacker for Georgia hits better than .300 and that is Elena Perri at .399 as she averages 1.31 kills per set. Georgia has used two setters all season, but Kaylee Kehoe leads the team with 469 assists. Defensively, the team is anchored by liver Allison Summers, who is corralling 4.55 digs per set with 337 overall this season. Georgia is a very good blocking team as it averages 2.47 per set as three players average better than 0.84 per set. Perri leads the way with 83 total blocks, averaging 1.12 per set this season.

Series Information
Mizzou took the first meeting with the Bulldogs in straight sets (25-15, 25-23, 25-11) in Columbia back on Sept. 30 this season. Prior to that meeting, Mizzou and Georgia had not met since 1986, a 3-0 sweep by the Bulldogs in Norman, Okla. Prior to that the teams met again in 1984 with the Tigers claiming a 3-0 sweep, this time in Champaign, Ill. That gives the teams a 2-1 record in the all-time series.

A Libero Change
Before the match with No. 17 Tennessee on Sept. 12, Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow made a lineup change as he moved sophomore Sarah Meister to the starting libero position, replacing Jade Hayes. The move came after Hayes had pulled in double-digit digs in nine of the Tigers' first 10 matches. But Meister has made an immediate impact since throwing on the opposite-colored jersey, averaging 4.67 digs per set, third-best in the SEC. Before the change, Meister was averaging just 1.85 digs per set and a .941 serve receive mark. She has posted at least 20 digs in six of her 22 matches as libero, including a career-best 27 at LSU and 23 in her first-ever start at libero against No. 17 Tennessee. In matches at Tennessee and Alabama two weeks ago, Meister pulled in 48 digs (24 at both Tennessee and Alabama) and committed just two reception errors on 60 chances, good for a team-best 9.67 reception percentage. Last weekend, she had 43 digs (4.22 per set) and boasted a .966 serve receive percentage on a team-high 59 chances

Historic First Two Seasons for Kreklow
Junior setter Molly Kreklow has accomplished a lot in her short career at Mizzou and the numbers show it. In fact, Kreklow has quarterbacked the Tigers to a 43-24 record (.657) over the past two seasons and a pair of NCAA Tournament wins (2-2 overall record, including a Sweet 16 appearance). The 43 wins for the Tigers over the last two seasons are the most for a Tiger setter since All-American and current assistant coach Lindsey Hunter won 45 matches from 2002-03. Kreklow already has more NCAA Tournament wins than Hunter did through her first two seasons. Also, Kreklow set the Tigers to a .232 attack percentage in her first two seasons, the Tigers' best two-year attack percentage since 2004-05, when Hunter led the team to a .292 clip over those two seasons. Kreklow now has 58 wins in her two-plus seasons.

Ms. 3,000
The Tigers have certainly had their fair share of great setters under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow, but Molly Kreklow may be the best. At Morehead State, Kreklow passed the 3,000-assist mark in her career, making her just the fifth Tiger to do so. It is worth noting that if Kreklow played in 30-point sets like her predecessors, she would be on pace to break Lindsey Hunter's school record for career assists (6,097) by 471. She has assisted on nearly 83-percent of the Tigers' kills since joining the team for the 2010 season.

A Look at Kreklow Historically
Through her two-plus seasons at Mizzou, Molly Kreklow has guided the team to a .241 attack percentage and 13.39 kills per set. If you average out the rest of the year at the current pace the Tigers are attacking at right now, Kreklow will have guided Mizzou to a .252 attack percentage in her three seasons. That is the second-best mark for any three-year Tiger setter in program history, trailing only Lindsey Hunter, who guided Mizzou to a .263 attack clip in her first three seasons at Mizzou (2002-04). She has assisted on nearly 83-percent of the Tigers' kills in her two-plus seasons.

Henning Top Junior in SEC
Looking deeper into Lisa Henning's numbers so far, her 1,137 career kills are fourth among active SEC players and tops among SEC juniors, just ahead of Tennessee's Kelsy Robinson. The three players ranked ahead of Henning on the list are all seniors as Arkansas' Jasmine Norton leads all active SEC players in kills. Remember, Henning was the first ever Tiger to leads the Big 12 in kills per set and points per set a season ago and broke the school record with 523 kills.

More on the Tiger Junior Class
With 43 wins through their first two seasons, the Mizzou junior class (Kreklow, Henning) has the chance to become the winningest class in program history with almost two full seasons 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 junior class has a chance to become the winningest four-year class during the modern scheduling era in program history. With a win last week, the class now has 58 wins in two-plus seasons. Below is a look at the winningest four-year stretches in program history (modern scheduling era).

    Winningest Four-Year Stretches
    • 2002-05 - 90 wins
    • 2002-04 - 89 wins
    • 1982-85 - 84 wins
    • Mizzou Junior Class - 58 wins

Tigers Picked Fourth in SEC East
The Tigers, in the their first SEC Preseason Poll, were picked to finish fourth in the Eastern Division by the league's coaches. The loaded SEC East features league favorite Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida, all of which rank ahead of Mizzou. The Gators narrowly edged the Tigers in the poll for third place. The Tigers received 37 votes in the poll while Tennessee (12), UK (30) and Florida (35) edged the Tigers.

Kreklow, Henning Land on All-SEC Preseason Team
The Mizzou volleyball program may be new to the Southeastern Conference, but it has already earned the respect of its peers as the Tigers placed two student-athletes on the Preseason All-SEC Team, which was released on Aug. 7. Juniors Lisa Henning and Molly Kreklow were named to the nine-person All-SEC Preseason Team. Mizzou joined Kentucky and league-favorite Tennessee as the only teams to place two players on the All-SEC Preseason Team. Henning is fifth among active SEC players with 789 kills in her career.

Kreklows Participate in USA Volleyball A-2 Program Over the Summer
Junior Molly Kreklow and Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow spent 10 days during the summer in Columbus, Ohio, for the USA Volleyball A-2 Program - Molly as a player and Wayne as a coach, albeit of different teams. Wayne coached the Blue Team to a perfect 3-0 record in pool play, but his team lost a semifinal matchup, dropping it to the third-place match, which it won, 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-11) over Molly's Red Team.

Little, O'Brien Play Together in Italy, Croatia
Sophomores Whitney Little and Katie O'Brien played with the USA Development/Bring-It Promotions tour in Italy and Croatia this summer. The Tiger duo played with some of the nation's most talented underclassmen over the week-long tour and their team played in the European Global Challenge. It marks the third straight season that Mizzou has had a student-athlete play in the program. Former Tiger Julianna Klein played in Brazil prior to the 2010 season while current Tiger junior Lisa Henning played in China prior to the 2011 season.

An Experienced Youthful Group
It is a well known fact that Mizzou was the youngest team (% of underclassmen) to qualify for the NCAA Tournament last season, but heading into 2012, the Tigers boast a roster that is comprised of 10 underclassmen and two juniors, making them the youngest team in the SEC. In fact, Mizzou's roster is 83-percent underclassmen and it is the only SEC roster that does not have a senior. Mississippi State is the next-youngest team in the league as it is comprised of 76.9-percent underclassmen. What is impressive about the Tigers' youth is that they are a very experienced group as well as seven of the 10 underclassmen are sophomores and helped guide Mizzou to the NCAA Tournament as freshmen last year.

Big Crowds at Home
So far this season, the Hearnes Center has proved to once again be one of the toughest places to play in the country as Mizzou is 7-2 inside the confines of their home arena. In fact, Mizzou is 1-1 against top-25 teams as well with its only losses coming to No. 23 Michigan and Texas A&M, an RPI top-30 team. So far, Mizzou is averaging 2,199 fans per match this season, ranking it 15th in the country.

Tigers On Television
The Mizzou volleyball program will be televised nationally four times, including a program-high three times on ESPNU this season. In all, the Tigers have six scheduled televised matches that will be seen throughout the state of Missouri this season. Below are the television dates for the Tigers.

    • Sept. 12 vs. Tennessee - ESPNU
    • Oct. 14 vs. Mississippi State - ESPNU
    • Oct. 19 at Ole Miss - SportSouth
    • Oct. 24 - at Georgia - ESPNU
    • Nov. 2 - vs. South Carolina - Mizzou Sports Network
    • Nov. 21 - vs. Kentucky - Metro Sports
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 second year as the team's play-by-play announcer. Brittney Brimmage will provide analysis. Visit MUTigers.tv for broadcasts.

Up Next
Mizzou will head to Arkansas for a crucial match on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.

 

 

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