Surging Tigers Headed to Colorado

MUTIGERS.COM
<i>Brittney Brimmage was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Monday.</i>

MUTIGERS.COM
Brittney Brimmage was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Monday.
MUTIGERS.COM

Nov. 2, 2010

Match Info: Mizzou (15-8, 7-6 Big 12) at Colorado (6-13, 3-10 Big 12)
Date: Nov. 3
Time: 7:30 p.m. (CT)
Location: Boulder, Colo.
Arena: Coors Event Center
Live Streaming: Mizzou All-Access
Live Stats: CUBuffs.com
Game Notes: Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

The Opening Serve - What You Need to Know
• Mizzou has won four of its last five matches heading into Wednesday's contest and is coming off of back-to-back sweeps for the first time during Big 12 play this season.

• Mizzou's defense has shined as of late as it is averaging 2.57 blocks per set and 17.91 digs per set in each of its last six 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 68 digs against Kansas State on Saturday.

• Tiger libero Caitlyn Vann has 140 digs in her last six matches and is leading the Big 12 in that department in that span, averaging 23.33 per match and 6.36 per set over her last six. Vann is currently leading the Big 12 in digs per set (5.28) during Big 12 play as well. She pulled in 50 digs last week (8.33 per set) and set the top two three-set marks (26 vs. KU, 24 vs. KSU) in the Big 12 this season. She was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts.

Brittney Brimmage averaged 2.33 blocks per set last week as she posted seven in each match. She was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career for her efforts.

• Freshman setter Molly Kreklow has spread 40 or more assists in eight of her last 11 matches and is averaging 11.64 per set this season, a Big 12 best. She also leads the team with nine double-doubles.

What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
• Mizzou has won four of its last five matches with its only loss coming to No. 3 Nebraska.
• Mizzou limited K-State to .056 hitting on Saturday, a season-best for Mizzou.
• The Tiger block has improved over the last six matches as it is averaging 2.57 per set in that span.
• The back row has also shined in the last six as it is pulling in 17.91 digs per set in that span.
• Mizzou's sweep of KSU marked the first time since 2006 that the Tigers have swept the season series.
Caitlyn Vann tallied 50 digs last week (8.33 dps). She posted the Big 12's top two three-set marks as well.
• Vann now has more than 20 digs in five of her last six matches and is averaging 6.36 per frame in that span.
• Vann has 140 digs in her last six (23.33 per match) and leads the Big 12 (5.28 dps) during league play.
Brittney Brimmage is a key reason for the blocking turnaround as she is averaging 1.41 bps in her last six.
• Brimmage posted 14 blocks in six sets (2.33 per set) last week while hitting .441, earning Big 12 POTW.
Molly Kreklow climbed back atop the league standings in assists per set as she is now averaging 11.64.
• Kreklow has spread more than 40 assists in eight of her last 11 matches.
Julianna Klein became only the second Tiger to eclipse the 4,000 attack plateau in her career with 28 vs. KSU.
• Klein also leads the Big 12 in service aces per set (0.36) during league play. She had five vs. KSU.
Priscilla Armendariz has not committed a reception error in 10 straight matches (91 chances).

Rocky Mountain High, Colorado
Winners of four of their last five, the surging Tigers will head to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes in a 7:30 match at the Coors Event Center. The contest will air live on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain as Drew Goodman, Pi'i Aiu and Alanna Rizzo will have the call. Mizzou All-Access will also be on hand with live internet radio.

The Matchup
Colorado leads the all-time series with the Tigers, 31-17, but Mizzou has won the last eight meetings with CU and has only lost to Colorado five times since 2000 (21 meetings). Mizzou swept Colorado at home earlier this season. The Buffaloes have struggled to slow their opponents in 2010 as they average just 1.62 blocks and 13.82 digs per set, which is a big reason why opponents have hit .256 against them this season. The Mizzou offense against the CU defense will be the matchup to watch on Wednesday.

Last Time Out
Mizzou swept the season series with Kansas State for the first time since 2006 after knocking of the Wildcats in three last Saturday. Four Tigers finished with at least 10 total points while Mizzou defense limited KSU to just .056, a season-best, while pulling in 68 digs and posting 10 blocks. Caitlyn Vann tallied 24 digs in the contest while setter Molly Kreklow led Mizzou with her ninth double-double as she spread 32 assists with 10 digs. Brittney Brimmage posted a team-best 13.5 total points in the match as she tallied 10 kills with seven total blocks. Her 10 kills came on .421 hitting.

A Winning Streak?
Mizzou has won four of its last five matches, earning some separation from the middle of the Big 12, as it now stands at fifth place in the league at 7-6. Mizzou had not won four of five matches since winning seven straight to begin the season. Its only loss in that span came at No. 3 Nebraska. Mizzou has also swept its last two opponents, marking the first time Mizzou has done so in Big 12 play this season.

Defense, Defense and More Defense
The well balanced Tiger offense stole many of the headlines during the first part of the season, but lately the Tiger defense has began to perform at a very high level. In fact, in the last six matches, Mizzou is averaging 2.57 blocks and 17.91 digs per set in that span. During the six-match stretch, Mizzou has raised it blocks per set from 1.84 to 2.04 and its digs per set from 14.83 to 15.68. Mizzou is 4-2 in those six matches.

Last week was another great week for the Tiger defense; in fact it may have been arguably their best week all season. The Tigers posted 23 blocks in just six sets as they averaged 3.83 per set. The back row also pulled in 125 digs in just six sets, good for 20.83 per set. Three Tigers averaged more than 1.00 block per set last week while Brittney Brimmage led Mizzou with 2.33 blocks per set.

More on the Defense
The Tigers, due in large part to a three-set season-best 68 digs and 10 blocks, limited K-State to just .056 hitting on Saturday, a season-best for the Tigers. The match marked just the second time this season that Mizzou has held its opponents to under .100 hitting.

Big Week for Vann
Tiger libero Caitlyn Vann put together possibly her best week as a Tiger against Kansas and K-State last week. The Tiger senior averaged 8.33 digs per set in a pair of sweeps and set the Big 12's top two three-set dig totals this season in the process. She had 26 against KU and 24 against KSU. Vann earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts.

In fact, Vann moved into first place in the Big 12 with her 5.28 digs per set during league play. Over her last six, Vann has 140 digs (23.33 per match and 6.36 per set). Her 8.67 digs per set against Kansas are the sixth-best total in program history and tied for the best during the rally scoring era. She is second overall with 5.10 digs per set in all 23 matches.

How Important is the Back Row Defense?
For the Tigers, the back row play is very important. In fact, in their 15 wins this season, they are pulling in 17.34 digs per set. But in their eight losses, Mizzou is averaging just 12.90 per set. Vann is the key to that stat as she is averaging 5.90 digs per set in wins and just 3.77 in losses. Mizzou is 14-1 when out-digging its opponents this season.

Send `Em Back, Brit!
As mentioned above, the Tiger block has seen a huge turnaround in its last six matches and junior middle blocker Brittney Brimmage is a key reason for that. In her last six matches, she is averaging 1.41 blocks per set and has 31 total (five solos, 26 assists) in that span. She has reset her career-high in that span with eight at Oklahoma and posted seven in each of the Tigers' sweeps last week. In fact, Brimmage posted 2.33 blocks per set last week and she now ranks ninth in the Big 12 with her 1.09 blocks per set during league play. She earned Big 12 Player of the Week for her efforts.

She's Also a Pretty Good Hitter
Aside from her blocking numbers last week, Brimmage also hit pretty well. In fact, she finished second on the team with 20 kills on the week and did so on a team-high .441 hitting. She also led Mizzou with 27.5 total points on the week.

Kreklow Back on Top
Freshman setter Molly Kreklow climbed back atop the Big 12 assists per set list after her performance last week. In fact, she is averaging 11.64 per set this season, just ahead of ISU's Alison Landwehr (11.58), who occupied the top spot at the beginning of last week. She also sits as the nation's No. 10 ranked setter and is the No. 2 freshman on the list. Kreklow has spread at least 40 assists in eight of her last 11 matches. She also leads the team with nine double-doubles 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 in her next 15 matches. But the Tiger setter has seemed to find her groove as of late with 14 kills on .429 hitting with just two errors in her last four matches. She had six kills against Baylor, a career-best.

Paola Among League Leaders
Senior outside hitter Paola Ampudia continues to rank among the Big 12 elite in kills per set and points per set. In fact, Ampudia ranks second in the Big 12 in kills per set (4.05) and third in points per set (4.56) overall this season. During Big 12 play, Ampudia ranks third in kills per set, despite seeing her production increase at 4.19 per frame. She also ranks third in points per set at 4.61.

Ampudia was on fire during the month of October as she posted 133 kills in eight matches, averaging 4.75 per set last month. She hit the 20-kill mark three times during the month and even posted a 2010 Big 12 four-set high 29 kills against Oklahoma. Ampudia also posted four double-doubles in the month of October as well.

Another Milestone for Klein
Already one of the most experienced players in Mizzou history, Julianna Klein has been climbing up the record books in several categories all season long. Against K-State on Saturday, Klein posted 28 attacks, moving her career total to 4,007, making her only the second player in program history of have at least 4,000 career attacks; the other is Shen Danru.

Aside from her second-place ranking in career attacks, Klein also ranks sixth in matches played (120), sixth in career kills (1,345), sixth in points (1,566.0), eighth in sets played (434), ninth in solo blocks (53), 10th in kills per set (3.10) and is one ace shy of breaking the top 10 in career service aces as well. She is also only the third player in program history to have at least 1,300 kills, 700 digs and 100 service aces in her career.

Klein Also Leads the League in Serving
Aside from climbing the record books in nearly every category at Mizzou, Klein is also putting together an impressive season serving the ball in 2010. In fact, she aced K-State four times on Saturday, giving her 17 aces in 13 Big 12 matches as she leads the league in that department (0.36 per set) during conference play. She has 25 aces this season and ranks third overall with 0.31 per set.

More on Serving
Tiger libero Caitly Vann also ranks third in the Big 12 with 0.30 aces per set in conference play. Mizzou as a team ranks second in the Big 12 in aces per set during league play (1.15) and fourth overall (1.16).

Pip's Been Consistent
Junior Priscilla Armendariz has been steady in the back row during Big 12 play. In fact, she has not committed a reception error in 10 straight matches (91 chances) and has just two during Big 12 play. She leads the team with a .972 service reception percentage this season and has seen that mark improve to .983 in league play. After committing four reception errors on 94 chances in non-conference play (.957), she has committed just two on 118 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 2.40 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.

Where Have All the Five-Setters Gone?
In the Tigers' last 57 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 408 digs this season, Vann is on pace to pull in 532 this season, which would be the fourth-best mark in Mizzou history. Kreklow has 931 assists on the season and is on pace to spread 1,214 assists, which would rank 10th all-time and the best mark during the 25-point set era. Lastly, with 324 kills this season, Ampudia is on pace to finish with 422, which would leave her 12 kills shy of the all-time top 10. However, her 4.05 kills per set would rank eighth all-time at Mizzou should she finish the season with that average.

Winning, it's as simple as...
...Holding your opponents to under .200 hitting. Mizzou is 9-1 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 only loss of the season when limiting a team to under .200 hitting at Oklahoma earlier this season.

Scouting Colorado
Colorado comes into Wednesday's match having lost eight of its last nine matches, including four straight. Three of their last four losses have come via the sweep as well. CU stands 6-13 overall and 3-10 in Big 12 play. The Buffs have just one sweep on the season and have been swept 10 times. Four of its six wins this season have come in five-set matches.

Anicia Santos leads the Buffaloes with a .289 attack percentage and 159 kills but he is the only regular attacker with a clip above .200. Kerra Schroeder leads the team with 267 kills this season but is hitting just .189. In fact as a team, CU is hitting just .176.

Also, the Buffs have struggled to slow opponents this season as they average just 1.62 blocks per set and 13.82 digs per set. Opponents have also hit .256 against CU 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 11.64. She has anchored an offense that features four hitters with at least 170 kills on the year. She has assisted on 931 of the Tigers' 1,117 kills (83.3-percent) and has the Tigers hitting .231 on the season. She also ranks third on the team in digs with 182 total and leads the team with nine 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 106-70 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 216-116 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 and Pepperdine Asics Challenge All-Tournament team, but it is her total number of digs that this season that has her climbing the record books. With 408 digs this season, she has moved her career total to 1,765, 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 175 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 23 matches of the season, Mizzou currently ranks 16th nationally in average attendance after averaging 2,019 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
The Tigers will travel to Ames, Iowa, for a clash with Iowa State on Saturday (Nov. 6). Mizzou All-Access will be courtside as Ross Taylor and Lindsey Hunter will have the call. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com.

 

 

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