Volleyball Looks For Win at Kansas

<i>Lisa Henning and the Tigers will look for win No. 19 at Kansas on Wednesday</i>

Lisa Henning and the Tigers will look for win No. 19 at Kansas on Wednesday

Oct. 31, 2011

Date: Nov. 2
Time: 6 p.m.
Television: Metro Sports
Location: Lawrence, Kan.
Arena: Horesji Family Activity Center
Live Stats: GameTracker
Live Stream: Mizzou All-Access
Twitter Updates: @MU_Volleyball
Game Notes: Media Notes Get Acrobat Reader

What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
• Mizzou will take on archrival Kansas in Lawrence on Metro Sports Wednesday at 6 p.m.
• The Tigers are coming off of a sweep of No. 21 Oklahoma last Saturday.
• Prior to the win over OU MU's last sweep over a ranked opponent came against No. 5 Texas on Sept. 23, 2006.
• 11 of Mizzou's 18 wins have come against teams that won at least 20 matches last season.
• Mizzou is two wins shy of surpassing the 20-win mark for the seventh time in the last 12 seasons.
• Mizzou is No. 32 in the NCAA RPI rankings, placing it sixth in the Big 12.
• Head coach Wayne Kreklow sits just two wins shy of his 400th as a collegiate women's coach.
Lisa Henning leads all Big 12 attackers in kills per set (4.61) and points per set (5.16) during league play.
• Henning has eclipsed the 20-kill mark in five of her last 10 matches, including a career-best 27 twice.
• Henning holds three of the Big 12's top four kill performances in league play this season.
• Setter Molly Kreklow has recorded a double-double in nine of her last 14 matches.
• Kreklow's 42 assists against No. 21 Oklahoma are the best three-set total by anyone in Big 12 play this season.
• Kreklow now ranks third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.60 and leads the league in total assists at 1,071.
• Tiger senior Brittney Brimmage ranks second in the Big 12 in hitting at .369.
Priscilla Armendariz tallied 15 digs vs. OU, moving her into fifth all-time at MU with 1,178 career digs.
• Armendariz played in her 123rd match as a Tiger vs. OU, which ranks her fifth all-time at MU.
• Mizzou ranks second in the Big 12 and 12th nationally in average home attendance this week.

Another Big Week Starts at Kansas Wednesday
The Mizzou volleyball team, fresh off of its biggest win of the season over No. 21 Oklahoma on Saturday, will open another big week of Big 12 play at archrival Kansas on Wednesday (Nov. 2) at 6 p.m. The match will air live on Metro Sports while MUTigers.com will offer links to GameTracker and a radio broadcast on Mizzou All-Access.

Tigers Could Get to 20 Wins This Week
Sitting at 18-9 heading into Kansas, the Tigers are looking at breaking the 20-win mark for the second straight season and the seventh time in the last 12 years under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow. Should the Tigers defeat Kansas Wednesday and Baylor on Saturday, they will hit the 20-win mark with four matches still to play in 2011. Keep in mind, Mizzou had just seven 20-win seasons from 1974-1999 before the Kreklows took over the program. In fact, in the previous 11 seasons before the Kreklows took over, Mizzou had seven 20-loss seasons as Mizzou has enjoyed a volleyball renaissance under the Kreklows.

Tigers Sweep Sooners
Mizzou got its biggest win of the season after dominating No. 21 Oklahoma in a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-23) sweep on Saturday at the Hearnes Center. Sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning led Mizzou with 18 kills in the match while freshman Emily Wilson pitched in 17 kills, her most since tallying a career-best 20 at Villanova at the American Classic. Setter Molly Kreklow posted a double-double in the match with 42 assists and 11 digs as well.

More on the Oklahoma Win
Staying on the topic of the Tigers' win over No. 21 Oklahoma, it was one for the record books. In fact, it was the Tigers' first win this season over a ranked opponent and is their first since knocking off Northern Iowa in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament on Dec. 3 last season. Also, the win marked the first time that Mizzou has swept a ranked team since Sept. 23, 2006, when it knocked off No. 5 Texas in straight sets.

Offense Comes Alive vs. Oklahoma
There were plenty of noteworthy accomplishments for the Tigers in their win over Oklahoma on Saturday. First, the team tallied 51 kills in the match, a three-set high for the Tigers in 2011. Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow dished 42 assists in the win, which is the top three-set total by any setter in Big 12 play this season as she averaged 14.00 helpers per set. Classmate Lisa Henning also had a fine performance in the match as she posted 18 kills in the win, the most by any hitter in a three-set match in Big 12 play this season. Also, freshman Emily Wilson posted 17 kills in the match, the second-best three-set total by anyone in a Big 12 match this season, trailing only Henning of course.

A Springboard Win?
Last year, it was about this time that Mizzou defeated No. 12 Iowa State, a win that sparked a stretch in which the Tigers won nine of their final 12 matches while advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. The Tigers are hoping that Saturday's win over Oklahoma will spark a similar run through the second half of Big 12 play as they search for their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 12 seasons.

Tough at Home
After Saturday's win, Mizzou moved to 9-1 at home this season. Its only loss inside the Hearnes Center this season came in a tough five-setter against Kansas State. The 9-1 start at home is the Tigers best start inside the Hearnes Center since the 2009 season when the Tigers opened the season 10-1 at home. That year, Mizzou ended up with an 11-4 record inside the Hearnes Center with its only four losses coming to teams that ranked among the AVCA Top 25.

Kreklow Two Shy of 400
Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow sat 20 wins shy of his 400th as a head volleyball coach entering the season, but he now sits just two shy of 400 in his career. Should he reach 400 this season, he will be one of just three coaches in the Big 12 to have cracked the 400-win plateau. Kreklow surpassed his 600th win all-time as a coach (assistant, men's coach, women's coach) at both Mizzou and Columbia College with the Tigers' win over Florida International earlier this season. In all, Wayne and Susan Kreklow have combined for 749 wins as a coaching duo, 240 of which have come during their 11-plus seasons at Mizzou.

Team Notes
With 18 wins this season, Mizzou is looking to break the 20-win plateau for the seventh time since 2000. In fact, before Wayne and Susan Kreklow took over the program in 2000, Mizzou eclipsed the 20-win mark just seven times from 1974-1999 and had not done so since 1983. Below are a few other team notes on the Tigers.

• Mizzou checks in at No. 32 in this week's NCAA RPI rankings. Keep in mind, the Tiger team that advanced to the Sweet 16 last season checked in at No. 42 in the RPI, so Mizzou is ahead of that pace this season.
• Mizzou has won four of its last six matches. The only losses came on the road at RPI top 35 teams.
• Of Mizzou's 18 wins this season, 11 have come against teams that won at least 20 matches last season and four of those 10 teams won more than 26 matches in 2010.
• Mizzou is 9-1 at home and 7-2 in neutral site matches so far this season. Mizzou's only home loss this season came in five sets to Kansas State, an RPI top-35 team, while one of their two neutral site losses came to WKU which ranks 26th in the RPI. Mizzou's six road losses have all come to RPI top-50 teams while three of those came in five sets and three more came against teams that rank in the RPI top 25.
• Mizzou has knocked off a pair of teams - Texas A&M and Oklahoma - that rank among the RPI top 25 this season. A&M checks in at 18 this week while Oklahoma sits at 23.

Henning Continues to Impress During League Play
Sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning has put together an impressive stretch during Big 12 play as she leads the Big 12 in kills per set (4.82) and in points per set (5.38) in league matches. In fact, Henning holds a wide lead over the next-best competitor in both categories as well. Below are a few quick notes on Henning during Big 12 play.

• She has eclipsed 20 kills five times in 10 matches and has reset her career-high four times in that span.
• Henning owns three of the league's top four kill totals in Big 12 matches this season and four of the top six marks as well. She had 27 at Baylor and against KU, 24 against Kansas State and 22 against Texas Tech.
• Henning also owns the top three point performances in Big 12 play this season with her 30.0 against Kansas and her 29.5 and 28.0 against Baylor and Kansas State, respectively.
• Henning is the only player to eclipse the 170-kill mark during Big 12 play so far this season.
• In fact, Henning's 189 kills are 28 more than the next-best Big 12 athlete - Kaitlynn Pelger of Kansas State.
• She also leads the Big 12 in points (211.5) by a wide margin during Big 12 play. Her total points leads KSU's Kaitlynn Pelger by 20.5 in league play.
• Henning was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Oct. 17 after averaging 6.12 kills per set on .302 hitting in wins over Kansas and Texas Tech.

Cardiac Kids
Looking at the Tigers over the last several weeks, one thing is clear and that is that the Tigers have played in some tight matches. In fact, 13 of the Tigers' last 18 matches have lasted more than three sets while six of those 13 have gone the full five sets. In 33 matches last season, Mizzou played in 18 matches that lasted four sets or more while this season they have played 14 through 27. The big difference is in the amount of five-set matches as Mizzou played in just three all last season and has played in six already in 2011. In fact, Mizzou had played in just four five-set matches in 2009 and 2010 combined (65 matches) and has eclipsed that mark this season alone (27 matches).

Wilson Puts Together a Good Week
Freshman Emily Wilson had her best week as a Tiger in some time as she posted 29 kills (3.62 per set) on .244 hitting on the week. In fact, heading into the week, Wilson was averaging just 1.38 kills per set in her previous six matches and did not post double-digit kills in any of those six matches despite playing in two five-setters and one four-set contest. Also, Wilson hit just .137 in that stretch, but after her performance last week, she seems to have found her stride again. She posted 12 kills at Kansas State and came back to tally 17 kills - the second-best total of her career and her most since tallying a career-best 20 against Villanova at the American Classic.

Looking into the numbers a little more, Mizzou is 10-4 when Wilson hits double-figures in kills while they are just 8-5 when she does not.

Kreklow Third in Assists Per Set
Kreklow comes into the Oklahoma match averaging 10.50 assists per set as she continues to rank third in the Big 12 in assists per set. She spent the first two weeks of the season averaging well over 11.00 assists per set while ranking first in the league, but the Tiger offense has slowed somewhat since then. All-in-all, Kreklow is putting together a phenomenal year at the setter position as she has been named Big 12 Player of the Week and has garnered AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week honors this season. Kreklow became just the fifth Tiger ever to take home that award and the first-ever Tiger setter.

Brimmage Second in Big 12 in Hitting
Senior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage is second in the Big 12 in hitting at .369 this season, just behind Texas' Rachael Adams, who was dubbed Big 12 Player of the Year in the preseason. Of the league's top 10 hitters this season, Brimmage is fifth in total kills and she is the only player in the Big 12 to post at least 240 kills with at least a .350 hitting percentage.

Milestones for Pip
Senior libero Priscilla Armendariz moved into fifth place all-time on the career digs list at Mizzou as she now has 1,178 after collecting 15 against Oklahoma. She also played in her 443rd career set and 123rd career match at Mizzou on Saturday, both of which rank fifth all time. Should she play every match the rest of the way, Armendariz would ranks second all-time. She would need a postseason berth to take over the top spot (Julianna Klein, 130 matches).

Big Crowds at Home
Despite only playing the eight home matches this year, huge crowds have flocked to the Hearnes Center as a total of 23,261 fans have watched the Tigers this season, good for 2,326 fans per match. That mark ranks the Tigers 12th nationally and second among Big 12 schools this season. Mizzou has surpassed the 3,000-fan mark three times this season, most recently in its Big 12 home-opener against Texas A&M.

The big crowds are a key reason why Mizzou has been able to race out to a 9-1 start inside the Hearnes Center this season. In fact, since Wayne and Susan Kreklow have taken over at Mizzou, the Tigers are 120-41 at home as they have won nearly 75-percent of their home matches under the Kreklows.

Scouting Kansas
Kansas volleyball is currently 13-10 overall and 1-9 in conference play. The Jayhawks are coming off of a loss to Texas A&M this past weekend (Oct. 30). Kansas forced a fourth set, but lost to the Aggies, 1-3. Kansas has struggled a little in BIg 12 play, but has some very good wins on the season, including a five-set win over Minnesota.

The Jayhawks rely on senior outside hitter Allison Mayfield who had 15 kills for Kansas against Texas A&M, bringing her career total to 1,177, ranking sixth all-time in Kansas volleyball history. The Jayhawks also rely on junior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree who recorded three solo blocks against the Aggies and Caroline Jarmoc, a redshirt sophomore middle blocker who was named Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 17-23.

Series Information
Missouri leads the series 51-33 overall but Kansas and Missouri have tied the series at 17-17 when playing in Lawrence. The Tigers have beaten the Jayhawks once this year already, setting up a rematch in Lawrence.

The Last Meeting
Mizzou took the first meeting between the two teams, 3- 1 (25-21, 26-24, 20-25, 28-26). Sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning led the Tigers with 27 kills, matching her career high and marking the second-straight match that she hit that mark. She has also finished with at least 20 kills for the fifth consecutive match.

Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow tallied her eighth double-double in nine matches with 54 assists and 10 digs; she also tallied four blocks. Mizzou won the first two sets of the match before allowing Kansas to take the third, 25-20. The fourth set was tight, but Mizzou rallied to take the frame, 28-26, clinching the match for the Tigers.

Nifty Fifty Whitney
Tiger freshman Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) surpassed the 50-block mark in the Tigers' 13th match of the season against Denver. She is the fastest Tiger freshman to reach to the 50-block mark under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow (since 2000). Currently, Little has a team-high 106 blocks and her 1.08 blocks per set rank her ninth in the Big 12 Conference. Adding to her production, Little is hitting .318 with 140 kills this season. She is the team's second-best hitter trailing only Brittney Brimmage.

Tigers Picked Fifth in Big 12
Despite the youth on the Tiger roster, the league's coaches seem to recognize the level of talent on this year's team as the Tigers were picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 in the annual preseason poll. In all, Mizzou finished the polling with 32 points, just behind fourth-place Texas A&M and just ahead of sixth-place Baylor. The Tigers were picked fifth in last year's preseason poll and ended up advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

Young, but Talented
Despite bringing back four players that started for Mizzou last season, the Tigers will be one of the youngest teams nationally. In fact, nearly 85-percent of the Tigers' roster in 2011 are underclassmen as 11 of the 13 players are freshmen or sophomores. That makes Mizzou the youngest team in the Big 12 and only Texas Tech (16 underclassmen) has more freshman or sophomores on their roster. However, Mizzou's last two recruiting classes have ranked in the top 25 nationally, including this year's freshman class, which checked in at No. 22 nationally. The 2010 class ranked 14th.

Program Highlights
The Tigers just completed the most successful decade in program history last year. In fact, Mizzou has averaged 22 wins per season since 2000 and is one of just 22 teams nationally to qualify for nine NCAA Tournaments since 2000. The Tigers were on that average last year with 22 wins and a Sweet 16 berth.

Hunter Joins Coaching Staff
There are few Mizzou athletes that are accomplished as Lindsey Hunter and she will look to parlay her success as a player into success as a coach as she joins the Mizzou coaching staff in 2011. Hunter takes the place of former assistant Chris Muscat, who took the head coaching job at Loyola (Chicago) last year. Hunter is Mizzou's all-time leader in assists, assists per set, single season assists and set for the Tigers in the most successful four-year period in program history. She will serve as the primary recruiting coordinator for the Tigers. She spent last season as the color analyst for the Tiger volleyball matches while working towards her master's degree as a graduate assistant with Mizzou's Total Person Program.

Kreklow Sets With USA Junior National Team
For the second consecutive summer, sophomore setter Molly Kreklow set with the USA Volleyball Junior National Team. She has spent plenty of time with USA Volleyball in her career as she was also with the Youth National Team for two seasons. She has now spent four years with USA Volleyball, gaining plenty of high-level experience along the way.

Brimmage Plays With USA Volleyball As Well
Kreklow wasn't the only Tiger to play with USA Volleyball over the summer as Brittney Brimmage led the USA Volleyball A2 Blue Team to a USA Volleyball Women's Open Division Championship. She helped her team go 4-0 (winning 12 of 15 sets) during pool play. The team was then bumped to the loser's bracket and came all the way back to win the tournament. She was one of the team's top middle hitters throughout the tournament.

Henning Tours China
Sophomore Lisa Henning had an experience of a lifetime over the summer as she played volleyball in China, touring and playing some of the nation's top professional teams. Henning and her team compiled a 2-4 record in six matches in China, playing against very disciplined, professional competition. She also visited places like the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven.

Recruiting Class Earns National Honors
For the second straight season, the Mizzou volleyball program has brought in a nationally-ranked recruiting class as this year's checks in at No. 22 nationally. The 2011 class comes on the heels of the Tigers' No. 14-ranked class in 2010. Three of the signees - Jade Hayes, Whitney Little and Emily Wilson - were named to the Volleyball Magazine NFINITY Fab 50. With a pair of top 25 classes in consecutive seasons, look for those nine players to be the nucleus of the Mizzou volleyball program in the years to come.

California Girls
On this year's Mizzou roster, fans may notice something that they haven't seen under Wayne and Susan Kreklow. Two players on this year's roster - Niki Collier and Sarah Meister - hail from California, marking the first California natives that the Kreklows have coached at Mizzou. Both have seen significant court time this year and are am important part of the Tiger freshman class that ranked No. 22 nationally.

Hayes Brings Plenty of Accolades
Freshman utility player Jade Hayes is one of the headliners of Mizzou's 2011 freshman class and she brings with her the accolades to back it up. She is a two-time Gatorade Missouri State Player of the Year and was the AVCA National Player of the Year as a junior in 2009. She led Ozark High School to a state title in 2009 and a third-place finish in 2010. She was also named MVP of the AVCA/Under Armour High School All-America match last year as well and was named to the Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 and PrepVolleyball.com's Defensive Dandy list.

Hayes projects as a libero long term at the collegiate level, but this season she will likely have a utility role due to her versatility, although she will likely battle for the libero job with Priscilla Armendariz. Listed a 6-0, she can hit, serve and defend and will also likely serve as the team's backup setter.

Little Named Forth Worth Player of the Year
Incoming freshman Whitney Little has also gained her fair share of accolades as she comes into Mizzou this season. The 6-3 middle blocker was a PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace, a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection and a member of the AVCA High School All-America Watch List, but her greatest honor came from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which named her as the Super Team Player of the Year.

Wilson Continues Nebraska Pipeline
It has been no secret that Mizzou, under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow, has been able to recruit the state of Nebraska with a lot of success. Names like All-Americans Lindsey Hunter, Nicole Wilson and former Big 12 Libero of the Year Tatum Ailes are just a few of the successful Nebraska natives to come through Mizzou in the last 11 seasons. And the tradition with continue this season as Emily Wilson will make her debut with Mizzou. She is the sister of former Tiger middle hitter Catie Wilson and was voted MVP of the All-Nebraska State Team twice in her high school career. The 6-2 outside hitter should figure into the mix right away for the Tigers.

Blue Springs Connection
Looking at the Tiger roster, there is a connection between several players coming from the Kansas City area as four players - Priscilla Armendariz, Lisa Henning and Ashton Bodenstab - hail from Blue Springs, Mo. In fact, Armendariz and Henning actually played for rival high schools as well.

A Competitive Schedule
With the departure of Colorado and Nebraska from the Big 12 Conference, a new-look schedule will take hold in the Big 12 this season. Instead of playing 20 league matches, each team will now play 16, playing each team twice. The loss of four matches has led to an additional non-conference tournament for the Tigers this season, giving the Tigers a chance to test themselves against some of the top non-conference competition in the nation. In fact, Mizzou will play 11 of its 33 matches against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.

`Bridging' A Local Connection
The Mizzou volleyball family has always played a very active role in the City of Columbia community, and that trend is continuing at Rock Bridge High School, one of two local Columbia high schools. There is a growing connection between the two schools that has moved beyond coincidence. Former Tiger and 2007 Big 12 Libero of the Year Tatum Ailes is now the head coach as Rock Bridge and her assistant coach is none other than former Mizzou middle hitter Catie Wilson, who graduated last season. Keep in mind that Wilson's sister - Emily Wilson - is a freshman on this year's Mizzou roster as well.

But the connections don't stop there. Current Tiger freshman Niki Collier led Rock Bridge to its first district title in 25 years in 2010 before eventually signing with the Tigers for the upcoming season. Not only that, but Wayne and Susan Kreklow's daughter Allie is a setter for the Rock Bridge volleyball team. The connection shows how connected the Tiger program has been with the community for the 11 years that Wayne and Susan Kreklow have been at Mizzou.

Volleyball on the Air
If you can't be at the Tigers' matches this season, you can still catch all of the action at MUTigers.com as all of the matches will be streamed with audio and home matches will have video and audio. Jim Grundy will be in his first year as the team's play-by-play announcer. All broadcasts can be accessed at MUTigers.tv.

Up Next
Mizzou will return to the Hearnes Center on Saturday for a 2 p.m. match with the Baylor Bears. The Tigers will look to avenge a five-set loss to Baylor earlier this season in that contest. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.



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