Oct. 29, 2013
What's Inside - A Quick Look at the Notes
With a national-best 25 wins, No. 7 Mizzou returns home for matches with Ole Miss and No. 19 Kentucky.
Mizzou is ranked seventh in the AVCA Top-25, matching the best ranking in program history.
The Tigers are sixth in the RPI and boast six wins over RPI top-50 teams and one over a top-five team.
Mizzou needs just one more win to match the most ever by a Kreklow-coached team at Mizzou (26).
The Tigers have won at least 25 games in a season for the third time in 14 years under the Kreklows.
Mizzou is one of just two unbeaten teams in the nation and sits atop the SEC standings at 9-0.
The 9-0 start for Mizzou in SEC is the program's best ever start to a conference schedule.
Now at 25-0, the Tigers are off to the best start in program history, topping the previous best mark of 19-0 in 1982.
Lisa Henning needs just 11 kills to break the Mizzou school record for kills in a career (currently 1,658).
Carly Kan is the reigning SEC Player of the Week, the fourth week in a row Mizzou has been honored by the SEC.
Kan is the first Tiger freshman to take home a conference player of the week honor since Oct. 8, 2007.
Mizzou Posted 59 kills in its sweep at Texas A&M, the most by any SEC team in a three-set match this season.
The Tiger offense has been incredibly balanced this season with its top eight attackers all hitting .322 or better.
Mizzou's offense that has hit better than .300 in 21 of 25 matches this season.
The Tiger defense has been very good as well as only two teams have hit over .300 vs. Mizzou this season.
The Tiger defense has also held 18 of their 25 opponents to under .200 hitting this season.
Wayne Kreklow is approaching his 500th career win as a head coach (men and women) as he has 498.
Mizzou needs just three more wins to guarantee the winningest team in Mizzou history (winning percentage).
The Tigers are averaging just 3.43 attack errors per set, the top mark among teams from power conferences.
Mizzou leads the nation in hitting (.363), assists (14.51) and is second in kills (15.34).
Mizzou is the only team in the nation to rank in the top five in all three of those categories.
The Tigers also rank ninth nationally in service aces (1.74) and 28th in blocks (2.67).
Molly Kreklow is second nationally in assists per set (12.61) and Whitney Little is second in hitting (.493).
Seniors Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning are one of the four winningest classes in program history.
The senior class (87 wins) has a shot of winning the most games over a four-year span at Mizzou (currently 90).
Henning has 1,648 career kills, the top active mark in the SEC and fourth nationally among active players.
Kreklow has guided the Tigers to their second-best three-year hitting percentage in school history (.262).
Kreklow's 4,920 career assists are the third-most among active SEC players and the top mark in the SEC.
With Highest Ranking Ever, Mizzou Faces Ole Miss, No. 19 Kentucky
At 25-0 and 9-0 in SEC play, the No. 7 Mizzou volleyball program will return to the Hearnes Center for another tough SEC weekend. The Tigers will host Ole Miss at 6:30 p.m. Friday before hosting No. 19 Kentucky in a top-20 matchup Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Both matches will air live on Mediacom 22.
Tigers Boast Highest Rank in Program History
With a national-best 25-0 record and as one of just two unbeaten teams nationally, the Mizzou volleyball program was again a big mover in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top-25 poll on Monday, moving up four spots to No. 7 nationally. The No. 7 rank for the Tigers matches the best in program history - the 2005 team spent three weeks ranked at No. 7. Mizzou is one of three SEC teams ranked this week, joining No. 5 Florida and Sunday's opponent No. 19 Kentucky.
2013 Tigers Could Be Historic
It has been well documented that the 2013 team is off to the best start in program history, topping the previous best mark of 19-0 in 1982, but as the season moves on, it is time to start looking at some other school records that are in jeopardy of falling. Below is a look:
Mizzou needs just one more win to earn the most victories in a single season during the Kreklow era (26).
Henning Approaching History
Mizzou needs just three more wins to finish the year with the best winning percentage in school history (.833).
Head coach Wayne Kreklow needs just two more wins to tally 500 in his career as a head coach.
With 353 kills this season, senior Lisa Henning
is just the second Tiger to eclipse the 1,600-kill mark in her career. She now has 1,648 after tallying 32 last weekend and she sits just 10 kills away from tying Shen Danru's
record for career kills at Mizzou (1,658). She is third among active NCAA players in career kills with her 1,648, just ahead of Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus (1,640).
At a perfect 25-0, the 2013 team is just the third team under Wayne and Susan Kreklow to win at least 25 matches and sits just one win shy of the most wins by a Kreklow-lead team at Mizzou, which is particularly impressive considering the successs that the Kreklows have had at Mizzou. This is also just eighth 25-win season in program history as three of the eight have come under the direction of the Kreklows.
Carly Kan Named SEC Player of the Week
For the fourth consecutive week, a Mizzou player earned an SEC weekly award as freshman Carly Kan was named SEC Player of the Week on Monday (Oct. 28). The award for Kan is the second of her career and second this month as she was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Oct. 14. She is the third Mizzou player to earn SEC Player of the Week this month, joining senior teammates Lisa Henning and Molly Kreklow. She is the first Mizzou frosh since Oct. 8, 2007, to bring home a conference Player of the Week award (Weiwen Wang, Big 12).
The Flyin' Hawaiian was sensational last weekend as she averaged 5.64 points per set, 5.14 kills per set on .384 hitting and 3.57 digs per set in a pair of road wins at Texas A&M and LSU, teams that were picked to finish atop the SEC West this season. Kan had a career night at LSU on Friday, resetting career-highs in kills (24), points (26.0), digs (17) and blocks (four) in a four-set win. Her 26.0 points are the most by any SEC player in an SEC match this season. She hit .400 against LSU, needing just 50 swings to tally her 24 kills. She added 12 kills on .348 hitting in a three-set win at Texas A&M.
59 Kills in Three Sets
In Mizzou's three-set sweep at Texas A&M last Sunday, the Tigers posted 59 kills, the most by any SEC team in a match this season. The 59 kills average out to 19.67 per set in the sweep as Mizzou's offense showed why it is one of the most impressive in the nation in the win. Four players finished with at least nine kills in the win.
Tigers Use Defense at LSU
In Mizzou's four-set win at SEC West favorite LSU, it used defense to pull out the win, overcoming its worst offensive performance of the year. In fact, Mizzou tallied season-highs in digs (87) and blocks (15) in the win. The 87 digs were the most the Tigers since Sept. 23 last season, also at LSU. Sarah Meister had a season-best 24 digs in the win and four players tallied double-digit digs.
Mizzou Off to Best Conference Start in Program History
Mizzou's win over Florida last Sunday improved the seventh-ranked Tigers to 9-0 in SEC play as they sit alone atop the SEC standings as the league's only unbeaten in SEC play. Even more importantly, the Tigers are off to their best start to conference play in program history at 9-0. Their previous best was 6-0 in 2005. To put Mizzou's 9-0 league mark into perspective, the Tigers won seven or fewer matches in 17 consecutive seasons from 1983 through 1999. The most conference wins in program history came in 2005 when the team won 16 Big 12 matches.
Time to Look at the NCAA Tournament Résumé
At 25-0 and 9-0 in SEC play, the Tigers check in at seventh in this week's AVCA Top-25 poll, but the more important number for the Tigers is their No. 6 rank in the NCAA RPI rank, which bodes well for the Tigers come NCAA Tournament selection time. That rank puts Mizzou in line for a possible NCAA Tournament First and Second Round host. Below is a look at the Tigers' résumé so far this season.
The Tigers have six wins over RPI top-50 teams and one over an RPI top-five team.
Tigers Lead the Nation in Points Per Set
In all, the Tigers have 10 wins over RPI top 70-teams.
The Tigers have won an NCAA-best 75 sets this season and lost an NCAA-low seven sets.
Mizzou has defeated eight teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.
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 19.76 points per set this season, a national-best. A lot of that is due to the fact that Mizzou has lost an NCAA-low seven 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. Florida is the next-best team nationally, averaging 18.84 points per set, as Mizzou owns a wide margin in that category.
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-15 in kills and is sixth in aces and 11th in points. Her complete court game is what makes her stand out as she is averaging 3.18 kills per set, 2.51 digs per set and has been targeted with 526 serves, a team-high, and she has converted 96-percent of those chances. Not only is she the Tigers' No. 2 swing, but she has shored up the Tiger passing, defense and ball control this season.
Tigers Lead Nation in Wins; One of Two Unbeatens Nationally
Heading into the weekend at a perfect 25-0, 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 seven sets all season and their 75 set wins are a national-best. The only other unbeaten team in the nation is Colorado State at 17-0. The Rams play at Boise State and Utah State this week.
Tigers Lead Power Conferences With Fewest Attack Errors Per Set
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou is averaging just 3.43 attack errors per set, the lowest among any team in a power conference this season. Below is a look at the rankings.
Mizzou - 3.43
Offense Fires on All Cylinders
Stanford - 3.54
Penn State - 3.83
Florida - 3.93
Minnesota - 3.99
Through the first 25 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
Defense Not Too Bad Either
Mizzou leads the nation in hitting (.363) and assists (14.51) and is second in kills (15.34)
Molly Kreklow is second nationally in assists (12.61) and Whitney Little is second in hitting (.493)
Mizzou has hit better than .300 in 21 of 25 matches this season and has hit .380 or better 13 times
Mizzou is first in the SEC in service aces per set (1.74) and ranks ninth nationally
Mizzou's top eight attackers are all hitting .322 or better this season.
Much has been written about the Tigers' high-flying offense, but a part of the Tigers' game that has been overlooked is the defense. In fact, Mizzou has limited 18 of 25 opponents under .200 hitting this season and only two teams have hit above .300 in a match. Mizzou limited Florida to .237 hitting on Oct. 13, the first SEC team to hold the Gators to under .300 hitting in a match since Nov. 23 last season against Georgia.
Wins Away From Home
Worth noting this season has been the Tigers ability to win away from home. In fact, the Tigers have won 11 matches away from the Hearnes Center this season, matching their most wins away from home in a regular season since 2010. Seven of the Tigers' 11 wins away from home have come in true road contests as well, five of which came against teams that went to the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Mizzou had just five true road wins all of last season.
Scouting Ole Miss
Ole Miss comes into the weekend at 11-10 overall and just 1-7 in SEC play but is a very dangerous team with some very good hitters. Ty Laporte leads the way with 2.58 kills per set and is one of four Rebel players to average at least 2.00 kills per set. Nakeyta Clair is another big weapon for Ole Miss as she averages 2.24 kills per set on .295 hitting with 95 blocks (1.25 per set). Mizzou leads the all-time series with Ole Miss, 6-4, with the two teams splitting the season series a year ago. Mizzou swept Ole Miss at home and lost in Oxford, 3-1. Mizzou is 4-0 against Ole Miss at home.
Kentucky comes into the weekend at 15-5 overall and 7-2 in SEC play and boast the nation's No. 19 ranking. All-American Whitney Billings leads the way for the Wildcats, averaging 3.67 kills per set on .284 hitting while both Lauren O'Conner and Alexandra Morgan both average more than 2.00 kills per set as well. Morgan also leads the team with 81 total blocks and the back row is anchored by libero Jackie Napper. In three all-time meetings, Mizzou has never defeated Kentucky, including a 3-0 sweep by the Wildcats in Columbia last season. UK also swept Mizzou in Maryland in 2008 and won 3-2 back in 1984.
Kreklow Continues to `Set' The Table
Although Molly Kreklow's 12.61 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 15.13 per set, ahead of the school record (Lindsey Hunter, 14.43 in 2004).
Little With National-Low 21 Attack Errors
So far this season, junior middle blocker Whitney Little has just 21 attack errors, the fewest of any player in the nation who averages at least 3.33 attacks per set this season (she is tied with USC's Alexis Olgard). In fact, Little is averaging just one error every 13.76 attacks this season.
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 1.17 career blocks per set average. The next two career marks on the list are 1.07 by Nicole Wilson and 1.06 by Christi Myers, both of whom were All-Americans at Mizzou. Aside from her blocking, Little boasts a .369 career attack percentage, also the best in school history. Much of that is due to her torrid start, hitting .493 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, 12 weekly conference honors and two AVCA National Player of the Week awards.
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 87 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 a quarter 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 is just three wins shy.
Winningest Four-Year Stretches
Crowds Among Best in School History
2002-05 - 90 wins
2002-04 - 89 wins
Mizzou Senior Class - 87 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 2,596 fans per match this season and the 3,534 fans that saw Mizzou defeat Alabama on Oct. 13 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 and Mizzou's crowd of 4,202 on Sunday vs. No. 2 Florida is the fifth-largest. In fact, in 10 of the Kreklow's 14 seasons, Mizzou has drawn more than 20,000 fans per year, including nine of the last 10 and five straight (including 2013).
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 1,648 in her career and sits just 169 kills shy of fourth in SEC history during the rally scoring era. She is also just 10 kills shy of the Mizzou all-time career kills record (1,658 by Shen Danru). Henning also needs just 74.5 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 senior Molly Kreklow. She has started every match in her career, played in every set (123 matches, 437 sets) and is third all-time at Mizzou with 4,920 career assists. She has also guided Mizzou to its second-best three-year hitting percentage in program history at .262, 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 25 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
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
Carly Kan was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Oct. 14, the first of her career.
Molly Kreklow was named SEC Player of the Week and AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 21.
Mizzou was the fourth team to hit above .300 vs. Florida this season, joining Penn State, Stanford and WMU.
Mizzou earned its first win over a top-five team by knocking off No. 2 Florida on Oct. 13
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 1,648, 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 2,919 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 1,616
11. Wilson 685
14. Little 618
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: Carly Kan
, 5-9 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
, 6-3 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 the last four-plus seasons, Mizzou has claimed 35 conference weekly honors, including nine SEC tallies. What makes that mark even more impressive is the fact that from 1990-2008, Mizzou had just 17 weekly conference honorees.
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 aired live on ESPNU at 6 p.m. while its contest at Tennessee aired 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.
Mizzou will hit the road for a pair of matches at Auburn and at Alabama on Nov. 8 and Nov. 10, respectively. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.