Tigers Head to Texas A&M

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Molly Kreklow has a double-double in four straight matches.</i>
MUTIGERS.COM
Molly Kreklow has a double-double in four straight matches.
MUTIGERS.COM

Nov. 10, 2011

Match Info: Mizzou (20-10, 6-7 Big 12) at Texas A&M (18-6, 7-4 Big 12)
Date: Nov. 12
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: College Station, Texas
Arena: Reed Arena
Live Stats: Click Here
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
• After losing for the first time in four matches, Mizzou will look to rebound at Texas A&M on Saturday.
• The Tigers have won 20 matches in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2004 and 2005.
• Head coach Wayne Kreklow won his 400th match as a collegiate women's coach against Baylor on Saturday.
• Mizzou has won six of its last nine matches this season and won three straight over Texas A&M.
• Wayne and Susan Kreklow earned their 750th win as a coaching duo at Kansas last Wednesday.
• Mizzou is No. 29 in the NCAA RPI rankings, placing it sixth in the Big 12.
• Mizzou ranks second in the Big 12 in service aces per set at 1.34 per frame this season.
Lisa Henning was named Big 12 Player of the Week after averaging 5.75 kps on .380 hitting last week.
• Henning leads all Big 12 attackers in kills per set (4.79) and points per set (5.33) during league play.
• Henning has eclipsed the 20-kill mark in seven of her last 13 matches, including a career-best 27 twice.
• Henning holds four of the Big 12's top six kill performances in league play this season.
• Setter Molly Kreklow has recorded a double-double in 12 of her last 17 matches and four straight.
• Kreklow now ranks third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.69 and leads the league in total assists at 1,208.
• Tiger senior Brittney Brimmage ranks second in the Big 12 in hitting at .362.
Priscilla Armendariz has 430 digs on the season as she is the fifth Tiger to total at least 400 digs in a season.
• Freshman Whitney Little has set the Mizzou freshman season record with 123 blocks in her first year as Tiger.

Tigers Headed to College Station for Match with Texas A&M
After losing for just the first time in four matches to No. 13 Iowa State on Wednesday, Mizzou will look to get back in the win column on Saturday afternoon as it takes on Texas A&M at 1 p.m. at Reed Arena. The match will have huge NCAA Tournament implications as both teams currently rank in the RPI top 30. MUTigers.com will offer live stats via GameTracker along with a radio broadcast on Mizzou All-Access.

Last Time Out
Mizzou lost a hard-fought match to No. 13 Iowa State on Wednesday night, 3-1 (25-23, 12-25, 26-28, 20-25), despite 19 kills from sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning. Mizzou took the first set in the match before dropping the next three, including an extremely tight third set, 28-26. Molly Kreklow had a double-double with 40 assists and 18 digs in the match as well, good for her fourth straight.

Kreklow Nets Win No. 400
Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow earned his 400th victory as a head coach last Saturday in the Tigers' win over Baylor. He becomes the third active coach in the Big 12 to surpass 400 career wins. Of his 400 wins, 133 have come during his time as head coach at Mizzou. He was won nearly 62-percent of his matches at Mizzou.

Seeing 20-20
With the Tigers' win on Saturday over Baylor, Mizzou has now eclipsed the 20-win mark in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2004 and 2005. Last year, Mizzou won 22 matches en-route to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and this year the Tigers have 20 wins with four matches remaining in the regular season. Also, Mizzou is the first Big 12 team to reach 20 wins. Only one Big 12 team has ever been left out of the NCAA Tournament with more than 20 wins.

Kreklows Win No. 750
Mizzou's win at Kansas on Nov. 2 marked the 750th career win for Wayne and Susan Kreklow as a pair. The win total dates back to their time as co-head coaches of the men's and women's teams at Columbia College. Of the now 751 wins, 242 of those have come during the Kreklow's 11-plus seasons at Mizzou as they have won nearly 67-percent of their matches in that span.

Henning Named Big 12 Player of the Week
Sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning was named Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday for her efforts in the Tigers' two wins last week. She averaged 5.75 kills per set on .380 hitting while pulling in 1.75 digs per set and serving three aces. This marks the fourth time that a Tiger has been named Big 12 Player of the Week this season and marks the second career honor for Henning, who also took home the award back on Oct. 17.

Streaking
It was about this time last year that Mizzou began its run toward the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and Mizzou is currently on a similar run this season. In fact, the Tigers have won six of their last nine contests dating back to a 3-1 win over archrival Kansas on Oct. 12 at the Hearnes Center. In that span, Mizzou has knocked off four RPI top 50 teams and earned its first sweep of a nationally-ranked opponent since 2006 with a 3-0 win over No. 21 Oklahoma.

Tough at Home
Despite Wednesday's loss to Iowa State, Mizzou is still an impressive 10-2 at home this season. Its only losses inside the Hearnes Center this season came in a tough five-setter against Kansas State and to No. 13 ISU on Wednesday. The 10-2 start at home is the Tigers best start inside the Hearnes Center since the 2009 season when the Tigers also opened the season 10-2 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.

Offense Comes Alive Over Last Four
Mizzou's offense over the last four matches has been very impressive. In fact, Mizzou has tallied 166 kills in 11 sets, good for a 15.09 kills per set average and it has done so on .244 hitting. Both Lisa Henning and Emily Wilson are averaging more than 4.00 kills per set over the last two matches while Brittney Brimmage is hitting .304 with a 1.91 kills per set average in that span. Henning's 18 kills against Oklahoma in that span are a Big 12 best in a three-set match during league play while Wilson's 17 in that match are second-best. Also, setter Molly Kreklow has been very good over the last two with an average of 12.64 assists per set, including 42 against Oklahoma, marking the top three-set mark in Big 12 play this season.

Team Notes
With 20 wins this season, Mizzou has broken 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.

• Mizzou checks in at No. 29 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 six of its last eight matches. The only losses came on the road at RPI top 35 teams.
• Of Mizzou's 20 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 10-1 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 25th 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 20 this week while Oklahoma sits at 23.
• Mizzou has just one loss to teams ranked outside the RPI top 50 this season and that was to UC-Davis (No. 91).
• Mizzou has six wins against RPI top 50 teams and 10 vs. the top 100. MU had just one RPI top 50 win last year.

Cardiac Kids
Looking at the Tigers over the last several weeks, it's clear that the Tigers have played in some tight matches. In fact, 16 of the Tigers' last 21 matches have lasted more than three sets while six of those 16 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 17 through 30. 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 (30 matches).

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 (4.79) and in points per set (5.33) in league matches. In fact, Henning is coming off of a 19-kill performance in the loss to Iowa State. She also hit .455 with 22 kills at Kansas as her .455 clip was her career-best when posting more than 20 kills. She is hitting .312 while averaging 5.53 kps in her last four matches.

• She has eclipsed 20 kills seven times in 13 matches and has reset her career-high four times in that span.
• Henning owns four of the league's top six kill totals in Big 12 matches this season. She had 27 at Baylor and against KU and 24 against Kansas State and Baylor.
• Henning also owns the top four point performances in Big 12 play this season with her 30.0 against Kansas and her 29.5 and 28.0 against Baylor, Kansas State and Baylor, respectively.
• Henning is the only player to eclipse the 200-kill mark during Big 12 play so far this season.
• In fact, Henning's 254 kills are 69 more than the next-best Big 12 athlete - Allison Mayfield of Kansas.
• She also leads the Big 12 in points (282.5) by a wide margin during Big 12 play. Her point total leads ISU's Carly Jenson by 68 in league play.
• Henning was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time in her career on Monday after averaging 5.75 kills per set on .380 hitting in wins over Kansas and Baylor.

Double-Double Trouble
Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow recorded her fourth straight double-double on Wednesday against Iowa State, marking the 12th time over the last 17 matches that she has tallied a double-double. Kreklow is currently third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.69 and leads the Big 12 in total assists at 1,208. Over her last four matches, her numbers have been very good averaging 11.93 assists per set, 3.80 digs per set and 0.27 service aces per set. She has dished at least 50 assists four times this season, most recently spreading 51 assists in a four-set win at Kansas last Wednesday.

Emily Wilson Impresses Over Last Four
A key reason for the Tigers' success as of late has been the re-emergence of freshman outside hitter Emily Wilson, who is averaging 3.25 kills per set on .246 hitting over her last four matches with 65 total kills. Prior to the current stretch for Wilson, she had a been averaging just 1.46 kills per set on .137 hitting in her previous six matches. She has seemed to come out of that funk lately posting 12 kills at KSU, 17 against Oklahoma - her most since a career-best 20 against Villanova - 14 against Kansas and 13 more against Baylor on Saturday. Looking into the numbers a little more, Mizzou is 12-4 when Wilson hits double-figures in kills while they are just 8-6 when she does not.

Brimmage Second in Big 12 in Hitting
Senior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage is second in the Big 12 in hitting at .362 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 fourth in total kills and she is the only player in the Big 12 to post at least 250 kills with at least a .350 hitting percentage.

Milestones Galore for Pip
Senior libero Priscilla Armendariz collected 12 digs in the Tigers' loss to Iowa State on Wednesday, giving her 442 this season. With that, she became just the fifth Tiger to eclipse 400 digs in a single season. In fact, Armendariz is climbing up the record books in several categories at Mizzou. Below is a look.

• She is fifth on the Mizzou all-time career digs list with 1,229. • She has played in 455 career sets at MU, which ranks her third overall, just behind Caitlyn Vann (460). • She played in her 126th career match on Wednesday, which is second place in Mizzou history. Should she play every match the rest of the way, Armendariz would rank second all-time. She would need a postseason berth to tie the top spot (Julianna Klein, 130 matches).

Whit Cracks Single Season Top 10
Freshman Whitney Little currently has 123 blocks on the season, a Mizzou single season freshman record and a mark that ranks fifth all-time. At her current pace, she is set to post 135 blocks, which would leave her three shy of the single season record at Mizzou (138). Little is also the fastest Tiger freshman to 50 blocks under direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow.

Meister Playing Well Lately
Freshman Sarah Meister has been doing a nice job in the Tiger back row lately. She has tallied double-digit dig totals in each of the Tigers' last two matches, including 12 against Iowa State on Wednesday. Those 12 digs are her most since a career-best 15 vs. Villanova.

Scouting Texas A&M
The Aggies enter Saturday's match at 18-6 overall and 7-4 in Big 12 play. The Aggies, like the Tigers, have been very good at home as they own a 9-1 record inside Reed Arena. Their only loss at home came to Iowa State in a 3-1 decision.

The Aggies are led by preseason All-Big 12 pick Kelsey Black, who is averaging 3.36 kills per set on .228 hitting. She also averages 3.26 digs per set and is one of the league's toughest servers with 25 aces on the year. Lindsey Miller and Alisia Kastmo pick up the bulk of the remaining offense as they average 2.68 and 2.60 kills per set on .339 and .300 hitting, respectively.

Defensively, libero Megan Pendergast leads the way with a 3.87 digs per set average. Three different Aggies average at least 2.75 digs per set this season.

Series Information
Since 2002, the Tigers and Aggies have had one of the best series among the entire Big 12 Conference. In fact, in the last 18 meetings, the series is tied at 9-9 lead while 17 of those 18 matches have all gone at least four sets; six of those have gone five as well. Mizzou defeated A&M, 3-2, in College Station last season despite being out-hit, out-killed, out-dug and out-blocked and then swept the Aggies at home in November. A&M leads the all-time series, 22-12 but Mizzou has won the last three meetings.

The Last Meeting
The Tigers defeated the Aggies, 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-23), at the Hearnes Center. Lisa Henning led the way with a then career-best 21 kills while senior libero Priscilla Armendariz posted a career-best 25 digs in the match. Mizzou won the four set match by the smallest possible margin, four total points as all four sets were decided by just two points, marking one of the Tigers' most closely contested matches in recent memory. Mizzou posted 62 kills in the win.

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 2242 fans per match. That mark ranks the Tigers 14th nationally and third 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.

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. The key part for Henning during her time in China was learning to play all six rotations, which helped with her transition into that role this season.

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 be off for a full week before welcoming Texas to the Hearnes Center on Nov. 19 for senior night. The match will also serve as the Tigers' Alumni Night match. It is slated for a 7 p.m. start and admission to the match is free of charge. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.

 

 

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