Volleyball Set to Face K-State

<i>Caitlyn Vann is averaging more than 23 digs per match over her last five contests.</i>

Caitlyn Vann is averaging more than 23 digs per match over her last five contests.

Oct. 28, 2010

Match Info: Mizzou (14-8, 6-6 Big 12) vs. Kansas St. (9-14, 3-9 Big 12)
Date: Oct. 30
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Columbia, Mo.
Arena: Hearnes Center
Live Streaming: Mizzou All-Access
Gametracker: MUTigers.com
Game Notes: Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

The Opening Serve - What You Need to Know
• Mizzou's defense has shined as of late as it is averaging 2.45 blocks per set and 17.16 digs per set in each of its last five matches. Mizzou has reset its season-best in digs (81) and blocks (13) twice during that span and set its 2010 three-set best with 57 digs against Kansas on Wednesday.

• Tiger libero Caitlyn Vann has 116 digs in her last five matches and is leading the Big 12 in that department in that span as she is averaging 23.20 per match and 6.11 per set over her last five. Vann set a Big 12 three-set season high with 26 digs against Kansas on Wednesday.

• The Tigers enter Saturday's contest against K-State with a chance to do something that they haven't done since 2006 - sweep the season series with K-State. The Tigers topped KSU, 3-1, earlier this season in Manhattan.

• Junior Priscilla Armendariz has not committed a reception error in nine straight matches (85 chances) and leads the team with a .971 clip this season. She has committed just two reception errors in 12 Big 12 contests this season as well, averaging a .982 clip.

• Freshman setter Molly Kreklow has spread 40 or more assists in eight of her last 10 matches. She tallied 42 on Wednesday against KU and is averaging 11.68 per set this season. She is second in the Big 12, trailing only Iowa State's Alison Landwehr (11.69 per set).

What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
• Mizzou's sweep of Kansas on Wednesday was its first sweep in its last seven matches during 2010.
• Mizzou matched it season-high with 13 blocks and pulled in a three-set season best 57 digs against Kansas.
• Four players finished with at least 10 points in the match, highlighted by 14 from Brittney Brimmage.
• The Tigers are in a stretch where they play four of six matches against teams with sub .500 records.
• Mizzou is looking to sweep the season series with K-State for the first time since 2006.
• Mizzou has won three of its last four matches overall with its only loss coming at No. 3 Nebraska.
Caitlyn Vann tallied 26 digs against Kansas on Wednesday, a three-set season high in the Big 12.
• Vann now has more than 20 digs in four of her last five matches and is averaging 6.11 per frame in that span.
• Vann has 116 digs in her last five matches (23.20 per match).
Paola Ampudia has 125 kills over her last seven matches as well, good for nearly 18 per contest.
• Ampudia has posted double-digit kills in each of her last 11 matches as well.
• Ampudia is ranked second in the Big 12 in kps (4.10) and third in pps (4.60). She is 29th nationally in kps.
Molly Kreklow has posted double-doubles in four of five matches. She spread 42 assists against Kansas.
• Kreklow has spread more than 40 assists in eight of her last 10 matches and ranks second in the Big 12 in aps.
Priscilla Armendariz has not committed a reception error in nine straight matches (85 chances).

K-State Up Next for the Tigers
After evening its record at 6-6 in Big 12 play and improving to 14-8 overall with a sweep of Kansas on Wednesday, the Tiger volleyball team will return to the Hearnes Center on Saturday to host Kansas State. After winning in Manhattan earlier this season, Mizzou will look to sweep the season series from K-State for the first time since 2006. The Tigers will also look to "Bust the House" and host a season-high crowd on Saturday.

The Matchup
Kansas State leads the all-time series with the Tigers, 40-32, but the Tigers have won the last two meeting and will look to sweep the season series with Kansas State for the first time since 2006. Mizzou enters the match having won three of its last four while Kansas State comes in having lost seven straight contests. Mizzou took the first meeting, 3-1, earlier this season in Manhattan.

Last Time Out
The Tigers earned their first sweep of the archrival Jayhawks since 2006 after blanking Kansas on Wednesday. The previous eight meetings had all gone four sets or longer. Four Tigers finished the match with more than 10 points while junior Brittney Brimmage led the way with 14 points. Mizzou's defense shined in the contest as it matched its season-best with 13 blocks - seven from Brimmage - while pulling in a three-set season high 57 digs in the match. Senior libero Caitlyn Vann tallied a Big 12 three-set season high 26 digs in the match. Freshman setter Molly Kreklow also dished 42 assists and posted a career-best six blocks.

A Pivotal Stretch
At 6-6 in the Big 12 and 14-8 overall, Saturday's match continues a stretch of contests that could move the Tigers from the NCAA Tournament bubble to almost a lock. In fact, four of Mizzou's next five opponents are at or below .500 overall. Nationally-ranked Iowa State is the Tigers' only opponent over the next five to boast a record above .500. Four of those matches will be played at home as well as the only road match is against Iowa State.

A Winning Streak?
Mizzou has won three of its last four matches, earning some separation from the middle of the Big 12 as it now stands at fifth place in the league at 6-6. Mizzou has not won three of four matches since winning seven straight to begin the season.

Defensive Numbers Improving
Following the Tigers' home loss to No. 3 Nebraska on Oct. 6, Mizzou was averaging just 14.83 digs per set and 1.84 blocks per set this season. Since that time (in the last five matches), Mizzou is averaging 17.16 digs per set and 2.45 blocks per frame, showing a marked improvement in the defensive numbers. Mizzou has also hit its season high in digs (81) and blocks (13) twice in the last five matches. Its digs per set have improved from 14.83 to 15.40 while its blocks per set is up to 1.99 from 1.84.

Defense Keeps it Going Against Kansas
As mentioned above, Mizzou's defense has played very well in the last five matches. That was evident again in the Tigers' sweep of Kansas as Mizzou posted a season-best 13 blocks while corralling 57 digs in the match, a three-set season best for the Tigers in 2010. Three Tigers finished with at least five blocks, highlighted by seven from Brittney Brimmage and a career-best six from Molly Kreklow. The back row was anchored by Caitlyn Vann and Paola Ampuia, who combined for 36 of the Tigers' 57 digs in the match.

Vann's Play Key in Back Row Turnaround
Senior libero Caitlyn Vann has collected 116 digs over her last five matches (23.20 per contest) as she continues to play well as of late. She pulled in 57 combined digs in back-to-back matches against Texas A&M and Baylor and was named Big 12 Player of the Week for her efforts that week. She pulled in a season-best 31 in the Tigers' win over Baylor, the third-best four-set total in Mizzou history and her most since pulling in a career-best 34 against St. John's in 2008. She added a 2010 Big 12 three-set high 26 digs in the Tigers' sweep of Kansas on Wednesday as well.

Pip's Been Consistent As Well
Junior Priscilla Armendariz has also been steady in the back row during Big 12 play. In fact, she has not committed a reception error in nine straight matches (85 chances) and has just two during Big 12 play. She leads the team with a .971 service reception percentage this season and has seen that mark improve to .982 in league play. After committing four reception errors on 94 chances in non-conference play (.957), she has committed just two on 112 chances in Big 12 play.

Armendariz has also been a steady option defensively as she has posted double-digit digs in six of the Tigers' Big 12 matches and is averaging 2.48 digs per set during Big 12 play. Before pulling in just four at Nebraska, she had pulled in more than 10 digs in three straight matches.

Blocking Brimmage
Junior Brittney Brimmage is beginning to establish herself as the top blocker on the Mizzou roster. Touching over 11 feet, Brimmage has now led Mizzou in blocks in seven of the last eight matches and has done so in 15 of the Tigers' 22 matches this season. She leads the team with 70 blocks this season and is averaging 0.97 per set. She set a career-best eight at Oklahoma five matches ago as well and is averaging a 1.14 blocks per set in her last eight matches with 33 total. Seven of those 33 were solo blocks as well. She finished one shy of her career-best with seven against Kansas on Wednesday.

If you single out Brimmage's last five matches alone, she is averaging 1.26 blocks per set with five solos and 19 assists. Her 1.26 per set average is more than half a block better than any other Tiger (Kreklow, 0.74) during that stretch.

Ampudia on Fire
Ampudia leads the Tigers with 125 kills in the month of October (17.86 per match). In her career at Mizzou, Ampudia has played in 17 matches in the month of October and is averaging 16.71 kills per match in those contests. Last year, Ampudia posted 159 kills in 10 matches in October as she began a stretch of 16 matches where no Big 12 attacker had more kills than her. She has posted more than 16 kills in eight of those October matches and more than 20 in four of those, highlighted by her 35 at Kansas last season.

Kreklow Close to the Top
After dishing 42 assists, including 18 in the first set alone, against Kansas Wednesday, freshman setter Molly Kreklow inched closer to regaining the league's top spot in assists per set at 11.68 this season. She is second to Iowa State's Alison Landwehr by the slimmest of margins as Landwehr is pacing the league with 11.69 assists per set. Kreklow has dished 40 or more assists in eight of the last 10 matches as well.

Kreklow on the Attack
After totaling seven kills on .384 hitting in her first two matches as a Tiger, Kreklow struggled on the attack with just 25 kills on .024 hitting as she had 23 errors on 84 attacks. But the Tiger setter has seemed to find her groove as of late with 11 kills on .435 hitting without just one error in her last three matches. She had six kills against Baylor, a career-best.

An Ace in the Hole
In Big 12 play, the Tigers rank fourth in aces per set with 1.07 per frame through 12 matches. Julianna Klein is second among all servers with 0.30 aces per set during league play while Caitlyn Vann ranks sixth with her 0.27 per set average. Klein also ranks sixth overall among Big 12 players with her 0.27 aces per set in all 21 of the Tigers' contests in 2010.

Where Have All the Five-Setters Gone?
In the Tigers' last 56 matches, they have played in just two five-set matches, both of which came against Texas A&M. But those are the only two for the Tigers in nearly two full seasons. Mizzou is the only team in the Big 12 to play in that few five-set matches during that span and joins Iowa State as the only teams to have played in just one in 2010; every other team has at least two five-set matches just this season.

Single Season Record Watch
Caitlyn Vann, Molly Kreklow and Paola Ampudia are all on pace to finish the season with top-10 single season marks in Mizzou history in certain statistical categories. With 358 digs this season, Vann is on pace to pull in 523 this season, which would be the fourth-best mark in Mizzou history. Kreklow has 899 assists on the season and is on pace to spread 1,225 assists, which would rank 10th all-time and the best mark during the 25-point set era. Lastly, with 316 kills this season, Ampudia is on pace to finish with 430, which would leave her four kills shy of the all-time top 10. However, her 4.10 kills per set would rank sixth all-time at Mizzou should she finish the season with that average.

More Records Broken
With 42 attacks at Texas A&M, Julianna Klein moved from fourth at Mizzou in career attacks to second. Three matches later, she has 3,979 career attacks. She sits 502 back of Shen Danru, who sits in first all-time, making it highly likely that Klein will stay at second overall, but highly likely that she will become only the second Mizzou player to finish her career with more than 4,000 attacks.

Another Number to Keep an Eye On
As one of the most experienced Tigers in program history, it is no surprise that Klein is moving her way up the career record books at Mizzou, but the category to watch is career kills. Klein sits just 139 back of cracking the all-time top three with 1,339. With eight matches remaining, plus possible NCAA Tournament action, the top three is well within range for the Tiger senior. In fact, Klein needs to average about 17 kills per match over her last eight to move into third all time.

The Crown "Jules"
Through the first six matches this season Klein posted 46 kills (7.67 per match), which ranked fourth on the team. Since that time, Klein has posted 172 kills (10.75 per match) and pulled in 133 digs with 17 aces. During that span, she has moved from fourth on the team in kills to second. Klein also eclipsed the 100-ace plateau in her career this season, making her only the third player under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow to have more than 1,200 kills, 700 digs and 100 service aces in her career. The other two were Jessica Vander Kooi and Shen Danru. Klein now has 1,339 kills, 768 digs and 110 aces. She also ranks seventh all time with 1,555.5 career points.

Winning, it's as simple as...
...Holding your opponents to under .200 hitting. Mizzou is 8-1 when limiting its opponents to below .200 hitting, but Mizzou is just 6-7 when opponents hit better than .200. The Tigers are 1-6 this season when allowing teams to hit above .300 as well. The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season when limiting a team to under .200 hitting at Oklahoma. However, Mizzou did rebound to earn its first win when being held to under .200 hitting at Texas A&M.

Scouting Kansas State
The wildcats enter Saturday's match hungry for a win as they have lost their last seven contests, five of which have come against ranked teams. K-State has not won a set in that span as it has been swept in all seven contests.

At 9-14 and 3-9 in Big 12 play, K-State is led by JuliAnne Chisolm, who has 251 kills on the season. Not far behind her is Kaitlynn Pelger, who has 223 kills on .231 hitting. Alex Muff is pacing the Wildcats in hitting at .262, but aside from her and Pelger, no hitter is attacking better than .204 on the season.

As a team, K-State is hitting just .161 on the season and is averaging just 11.84 kills per set. The Wildcats boast decent defensive numbers and have served will in 2010, showing that it is inconsistency on the offensive side of the net that has plagued K-State this season.

Continuing to Set the Table
A three-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, freshman Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) has been a big reason for the Tigers' fast start in 2010. In fact, she ranks second in the Big 12 in assists per set this season at 11.68. She has anchored an offense that features four hitters with at least 160 kills on the year. She has assisted on 899 of the Tigers' 1,079 kills (83.3-percent) and has the Tigers hitting .230 on the season. She also ranks third on the team in digs with 182 total and leads the team with eight double-doubles in 2010 as well. Kreklow has done this with one hand in a splint after dislocating her pinkie in preseason camp. She served overhand for the first time at Western Kentucky and tallied six aces. She blocked with two hands for the first time at Texas Tech as well. She has taken home Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors three times this season, more than any other player in the Big 12.

Kreklow Cracks Century Mark
Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow, currently in his sixth season at the helm of the program, tallied his 100th win as the Tiger head coach at Texas Tech. He is now 105-70 in his time as the head coach of the program while Wayne and Susan Kreklow - now in their 11th season at Mizzou - are a combined 215-116 at Mizzou. Coincidentally, their 200th career win at Mizzou came in Lubbock last season.

Another Milestone
Senior libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) also set a milestone of her own. Her start at libero against Texas Tech was her 100th consecutive start, dating back to the 2008 season. She has started every match since 2008 and also started 27 of 30 matches in her freshman season, playing behind former Big 12 Libero of the Year Tatum Ailes that season.

Vann Takes Her Spot in Record Book
Senior libero Caitlyn Vann has already earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors and been named to the Tiger Invitational All-Tournament team, but it is her total number of digs that this season that has her climbing the record books. With 384 digs this season, she has moved her career total to 1,744, trailing only former Tiger Tatum Ailes for first all-time. Ailes played all four of her years in the 30-point scoring era while Vann has played in 25-point sets since 2008. Had she played in 30-point sets, we could be looking at Mizzou's all-time career digs leader.

Another Fab Frosh
Molly Kreklow isn't the only Tiger freshman who is putting together a fine first season in Black and Gold. Classmate Lisa Henning is turning heads with her powerful arm as she has 167 kills on the season - fourth-best on the team. After the first weekend of play, she became the first true freshman to lead the Tigers in kills during each of her first two matches during the rally scoring era with her 12 against Maryland and 13 on .444 hitting against Nevada. She is also the only athlete to do so under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow at Mizzou.

A Clean Sweep
After its fine performance in Malibu at the Pepperdine Asics Challenge, the Mizzou volleyball team swept the Big 12 Weekly awards last week, marking only the second time in league history that one school has swept all three awards in the same week. Paola Ampudia was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time in her career after leading the team with 50 kills on .261 hitting. She paced Mizzou in kills in all three matches and posted a season-best 19 in the Tigers' four-set win over Pepperdine. Molly Kreklow was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week after anchoring the league's top offense. She averaged 13.60 assists per set and notched a new career-best with her 52 against Pepperdine. She also passed out 47 against Rice, a Mizzou record for assists in a three-set match during the 25-point era. Caitlyn Vann claimed her fourth Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honor after pacing the league in digs at 6.20 per set. She had 18 or more digs in each of the three matches, including a season-best 25 against Pepperdine.

Support From Tiger Nation
After the first 22 matches of the season, Mizzou currently ranks 15th nationally in average attendance after averaging 2,066 fans per match. A season-high 2,651 fans watched the Tigers face KU on Wednesday. In fact, few schools have ranked as highly as Mizzou in average attendance since 2000. In each season since the Kreklows took over, Mizzou has ranked in at least the top 20 in average attendance. Those numbers should see an increase on Wednesday as fans always pack the house when Nebraska comes to town. In fact, Mizzou set its program attendance record against Nebraska back in 2005 when 7,298 fans packed into the Hearnes Center.

Kreklow Earns Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year
Freshman setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) brought with her plenty of accolades when she arrived on campus in January, but she added another in the preseason as the Big 12 coaches named Kreklow the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year. Expected to take over the starting setting role this season, Kreklow is a two-time AAU All-American, an AVCA/Under Armour All-American and a three-time AAU National Champion with Mizuno Northern Lights. What is impressive about her nod is that a pair of Texas signees - Ashley Bannister (No. 12) and Hannah Allison (No. 9) - ranked ahead of Kreklow (No. 20) on the PrepVolleyball.com Senior Aces list.

2010 Freshman Class Earns Praise
Despite having five seniors and two juniors on the 2010 roster, the Mizzou volleyball program will have plenty of fresh faces on the floor in 2010. Aside from Kreklow, who comes to Mizzou as the No. 20 overall prospect in the nation, the Tigers add Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.), Paige Buchanan (Manchester, Mo.) and Ashton Bodenstab (Blue Springs, Mo.). Henning is the No. 50 overall national recruit and will likely make an immediate impact at the outside hitter position. Buchanan and Bodenstab will also bolster the back row as both are defensive specialists. The four freshmen comprised the No. 14 overall recruiting class according the PrepVolleyball.com. The only Big 12 team to rank ahead of Mizzou in the PrepVolleyball.com rankings was Texas.

Klein Plays in Brazil
Senior outside hitter Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) spent 10 days of her summer playing with the Bring-It Promotions/USA Developmental Volleyball tour in Brazil. She, along with 11 of the top collegiate players in the nation, played against some of Brazil's top national teams while taking in the sights that the country has to offer. The program helps line up professional careers for volleyball players after college by providing international experience. It also serves as a pipeline for USA Volleyball and all of those who may be interested in playing for Team USA after college.

Kreklow Sets for Junior National Team
Klein wasn't the only Tiger to spend a portion of her summer south of the American border. Kreklow spent a week in Tijuana, Mexico, as a member of the USA Volleyball Junior National Team at the NORCECA Continental Championships. Kreklow was the team's starting setter and helped Team USA to a perfect 5-0 record while starting four of the five matches. She also dished out a team-high 61 assists in the tournament. The spot on the Junior National Team was her second stint with USA Volleyball as she also set for the Youth National Team last summer.

Henning Guides Club to Junior Nationals
Freshman Lisa Henning led her KC Extreme Club Team to a Junior Olympic Northeast Qualifier title after winning 10 matches in Baltimore, Md. The title secured her club a spot in the Junior National Championships. Henning was KC Extreme's go-to player throughout the tournament as her play was paramount in guiding the team to a National Championship berth. What was even more impressive is that the team had already secured a bid to the tournament, but battled back to beat a very talented Encinitas Wave - a club team based out of San Diego, Calif. - to earn the tournament title. The Wave, led by UCLA signee Kelly Reeves, claimed the first set in the match, but Henning and KC Extreme won each of the final two sets to win top honors at the tournament.

Vann Tries Out for US National Team
Caitlyn Vann recently tried out for the USA Volleyball National Team in Colorado Springs, Colo., and participated with some of the nation's elite talent.

"I thought it would be a good opportunity and I wanted to see where I stood nationally for my position. And it's good for networking I'm looking to go pro after college and it's already really difficult for my position, so knowing the national team coach and talking to all the different coaches is good networking."

Bodenstab Makes the Transition
Last season, freshman Ashton Bodenstab (Blue Springs, Mo.) competed with the Mizzou track and field program before making the transition to volleyball this season. Bodenstab was training in the combined events under Mizzou assistant coach Dan Lefever. But she specialized in volleyball during high school and when the opportunity presented itself to walk onto Mizzou's team, she did just that. She was an All-State, All-District and All-Area selection in 2008 before coming to Mizzou in 2009.

Volleyball - Tiger Cup Winners
After spending countless hours in the community last season, the Mizzou volleyball team was awarded the Tiger Cup Trophy. The Tiger Cup recognizes the Mizzou team that earned the most overall points in the team competition. Points were awarded for achievement in academics, athletics and for community involvement. Awarded a prize of $3,000, the volleyball players stayed true to their commitment to the community and immediately donated their entire prize to the Mid-Missouri Susan G. Komen Foundation, which raises funds for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Undisputed Success
In the 10 seasons that Wayne and Susan Kreklow have been at the helm of the Mizzou program, the Tigers have seen an unprecedented level of success. In fact, Mizzou has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in eight of the past 10 seasons, making them one of only 16 teams nationally to accomplish that feat. The Kreklows won their 200th game at Mizzou last season after defeating Texas Tech, 3-0, in Lubbock. That is good for an average of 20 wins per season, a bench mark that usually results in a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Follow Mizzou on Twitter
Mizzou volleyball has started its own Twitter page. Be sure to follow the Tigers all season long at http://twitter.com/MU_Volleyball. Check back all season for updates, video and pictures. Also, be sure to follow Mizzou Athletics' official twitter account at http://twitter.com/mutigersdotcom as it will also be updated with volleyball related content.

Tiger Volleyball on the Radio
The Mizzou volleyball team will have each of its home and its Big 12 road matches live on the radio at MUTigers.com all season long. At home, the live broadcasts will be streamed with live video on Mizzou All-Access. Ross Taylor of Mizzou All-Access will serve as the voice of the Tigers while former Tiger All-American setter Lindsey Hunter will provide play-by-play.

Up Next
Mizzou will head to Colorado for its final showdown with the Buffaloes as members of the Big 12 Conference. The match is slated for a 7:30 start (CT) at the Coors Event Center on Nov. 3. Mizzou All-Access will be on hand with the call. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com.



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