Tigers Hit the Road For Final SEC Road Trip

MUTIGERS.COM
<i>Molly Kreklow is second in the SEC with 17 double-doubles this season.<i>

MUTIGERS.COM
Molly Kreklow is second in the SEC with 17 double-doubles this season.
MUTIGERS.COM

Nov. 13, 2012

Mizzou Volleyball (18-9, 9-7 SEC) at Texas A&M (21-5, 13-4 SEC), Mississippi State (4-21, 0-16 SEC)
Date: Nov. 16, 18
Time: 6:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.
Location: Columbia, Mo.
Live Stream: MizzouNetwork.com
Twitter Updates: @MU_Volleyball
Notes: Notes - at Texas A&M, MSU Get Acrobat Reader

What's Inside - A Quick Look at the Notes
• After winning three of four, Mizzou hits the road for its final SEC road weekend at Texas A&M and Mississippi St.
• The Tigers stand at No. 47 in this week's NCAA RPI, making them a firm bubble team with four matches left.
• Last year, the lowest RPI team to get into the tournament was Arizona at No. 49, which bodes will for Mizzou.
• In fact, all but one team (No. 47 Kansas) in the RPI top 49 got a bid to the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Lisa Henning needs 16 kills per match over the last four to become the first Tiger with back-to-back 500-kill seasons
Jade Hayes has 10 service aces in the last four matches as she now ranks third in the SEC in aces per set.
Sarah Meister has just seven reception errors in her last 274 attempts, spanning 11 matches (29 attempts per match).
Molly Kreklow is second in the SEC in double-doubles with 17 this season, trailing UT's Kelsey Robinson.
• Over her last four matches, Kreklow is averaging 11.83 assists per set and has set Mizzou to .286 hitting.
• Mizzou has the fourth-fewest attack errors (378) in the country and the third-fewest attack errors per set (4.02)
• Mizzou is hitting .286 over its last four matches and ranks second in the SEC at .263 this season.
Lisa Henning cracked the Mizzou top-10 in career points. She now has 1,383.5 career points, which is eighth.
• The Tigers continue to lead the SEC in blocking at 2.77 per set in all matches and 2.96 in SEC matches.
• As a team, Mizzou ranks 20th nationally in hitting (.263) and in blocks per set (2.77).
• The duo of Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning has 27 combined double-doubles, which is second in the SEC.
Lisa Henning cracked the Mizzou all-time top 10 on the career kills list as she is now seventh with 1,225 kills.
• She is the second-fastest Tiger to ever reach 1,000 kills, trailing only school-record holder Shen Danru.
• Henning is No. 3 on the active kill leaders list in the SEC w/ 1,225. She is the top junior on the list.
• Henning also leads the SEC in kills per set and points per set in league matches and all matches this season.
• Henning, an All-American last year, ranks seventh nationally in points per set (5.29) and eighth in kills (4.64).
• Henning owns four of the SEC's top point performances in league matches this season.
Whitney Little is 18th nationally in blocks per set (1.43) and eighth in solo blocks (26).
• Little leads the SEC in blocks per set (1.43) in all matches and in SEC matches (1.64).

Tigers Look to Improve NCAA Tournament Footing at Texas A&M, Mississippi State
As the Mizzou volleyball team heads into the final two weeks of the season, it will look to continue its push for a possible NCAA Tournament berth as it heads to Texas A&M and Mississippi State in its final road weekend of the regular season. The Tigers and Aggies will meet in College Station on Friday (Nov. 16) at Reed Arena beginning at 6:30 p.m. before traveling to MSU for a 1:30 tilt on Sunday (Nov. 18). Mizzou stands at No. 47 in the RPI, making this weekend pivotal its NCAA Tournament chances. The lowest-ranked RPI team to get into the tournament last year was No. 49 Arizona and all but one team (Kansas, No. 47) ranked in the RPI top 49 got into the field of 64 last year.

Last Time vs. Texas A&M
Mizzou lost a hard-fought four-setter against the Aggies, 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 23-25, 17-25), in Columbia on Sept. 28 this season. Lisa Henning had 20 kills in the match and Sarah Meister pulled in 22 digs, but the Tigers allowed A&M to hit .294 with 74 kills as four Aggies had double-digit kills, led by 20 from Alisia Kastmo.

Last Time vs. Mississippi State
Mizzou swept the Bulldogs on ESPNU back on Oct. 14, which was the Tigers' only home match in October this season. Lisa Henning again led Mizzou with 14 kills on .306 hitting and the Tigers held Mississippi State to just .097 hitting in the win. Emily Wilson had 10 kills on .391 hitting as well.

Last Time Out
The Mizzou volleyball program put together a 2-1 week against Arkansas State, Florida and LSU last week and has now won three of its last four matches as it makes its push towards an NCAA Tournament berth, which would be the program's 11th in the last 13 seasons. Last week, Mizzou swept Arkansas State, an 18-win Sun Belt school, before losing to No. 16 Florida and then rebounding to sweep LSU on Sunday. Mizzou hit .264 on the week as junior setter Molly Kreklow was sensational in the Tigers' two wins last week, averaging 12.67 assists per set while guiding Mizzou to .325 hitting against Arkansas State and LSU while adding eight kills, three aces, 15 digs and three blocks in those two matches. She also added a double-double against Florida. The Tigers also got a strong week from Lisa Henning who continues to lead the SEC in kills per set and points per set this season. She averaged 4.78 kills per set on .278 hitting last week with 19 digs and nine blocks.

Henning On Pace for Another 500-Kill Season
Junior outside hitter Lisa Henning is on pace to do something that no Tiger has ever done as she sits just 64 kills shy of the 500-kill mark this season. Coupled with her 532 kills last season, Henning could become the first-ever Tiger to post back-to-back 500-kill seasons. She needs to average 16.0 kills per match over her last four matches to get to 500 kills. She is averaging an SEC-best 16.14 kills per match this season, making it a very legitimate possibility this season.

`Little' Amount of Errors; Big-Time Production
Sophomore middle hitter Whitney Little has been on fire over the last four Tiger matches, posting 30 kills on 64 attacks, good for a .422 attack percentage in that span. Little had 12 kills on just 18 attacks in the Tigers' win over South Carolina and came back to post 11 kills on 23 errorless attacks against Arkansas State last Tuesday and added six more kills on 14 errorless attacks against LSU. In her previous three matches before the current stretch that she is on, Little had 23 kills and 10 errors on 64 attacks, good for just .203 hitting. It is not a coincidence that Mizzou is 3-1 in its last four matches and just 1-2 in the previous three matches in which Little struggled.

Little Just Six Blocks From Her Own School Record
With 132 blocks this season, sophomore Whitney Little sits just six blocks shy of matching her own single season school record for blocks in a season (138). The 138 set last season ties her with All-American Christi Myers for the single season school record. She needs just 1.5 blocks per match to break that mark.

Meister Playing Well in Back Row
Over the last 11 matches, it is hard to argue that sophomore libero Sarah Meister has been one of the Tigers' best players. While her contributions don't always show up in the box score, she has made a huge impact in stabilizing the Tigers' ball control. In fact, in her last 11 matches, Meister has converted 267 of her 274 service receptions and is averaging nearly 25 service receptions per match in that span. In fact, Meister now boasts a .962 reception percentage this season and is at .974 over her last 11 matches despite averaging 24.91 attempts per match.

Kreklow-Henning are a Double-Double Double-Duo
So far this season, Mizzou as a team has posted 31 double-doubles as a team, but the junior duo of Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning has accounted for 27 of those 31. In fact, Kreklow is second in the SEC with 17 double-doubles while Henning has nine of her 10 double-doubles in SEC play, ranking her fourth in the SEC in league matches. The 27 combined double-doubles ranks second among all SEC duos this season (UT's Robinson-Pollmiller, 35; Arkansas' Santos-Norton, 27).

Kreklow On Fire Over Last Four
Junior setter Molly Kreklow has been on a tear over her last four matches as she has done just about everything for the Tigers. In fact, she is averaging 11.83 assists per set and 3.25 digs per set while guiding the team to a .286 attack percentage over the last four matches. The recent surge for Kreklow comes after struggles in ball control led to just an 8.54 assist per set average for Kreklow in the previous three matches while she guided the team to just .189 hitting in that span. But with better ball control over the last two matches, Kreklow has shined and helped the Tigers to four of their best matches of the season.

Out-Digging Opponents is Key
Although the play of back-row players doesn't always steal the headlines, the back-row defense has been a key for the Tigers so far this season. In fact, Mizzou is 15-0 when totaling more digs than its opponents while it is just 3-9 when giving up more digs.

Tigers In the National Rankings
As Mizzou enters the final two weeks of play, several Tigers rank among the national elite in certain categories. First, as a team, Mizzou ranks 20th nationally in hitting (.263) and in blocking (2.77 per set). Also, sophomore Whitney Little and junior Lisa Henning also rank among the national elite. Below is a look.

Cutting Down the Errors
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou ranks second in the SEC in hitting at .263 and a key reason for that mark is the Tigers' ability to cut down on attack errors. In fact, Mizzou has the fourth-fewest attack errors in the country so far this season and is averaging just 4.02 errors per set. In fact, the three teams that have fewer errors than the Tigers have played at least two fewer matches than Mizzou. Below is a look at the standings.
    • Texas - 319 errors - 24 matches - 3.84 per set
    • BYU - 324 errors - 25 matches - 3.72 per set
    • Florida - 362 errors - 25 matches - 4.16 per set
    • Mizzou - 378 errors - 27 matches - 4.02 per set
    • Nebraska - 396 errors - 23 matches - 4.16 per set
    • Washington - 390 errors - 25 matches - 4.28 per set
Henning Joins Elite Company
Junior All-American Lisa Henning has been rewriting the Mizzou record books since her freshman season and she just joined elite company earlier this season as she cracked the all-time Mizzou top 10 in career kills with 1,225 in her two-plus seasons at Mizzou as she now ranks seventh all-time. She is on pace to become the first-ever Tiger to post 500 kills in back-to-back seasons as well. Following this season, she should be within striking distance of the all-time record holder, Shen Danru (1,658 kills from 2002-05). She also cracked the Mizzou all-time top 10 in career points as she is currently ninth with 1,383.5 in her career. Below are a few notables on Henning.
    • First Tiger underclassman to be named All-American (third-team in 2011) and is Mizzou's sixth All-American
    • Led the Big 12 in kills, kills per set and points per set in league matches last season, the first Tiger to do so
    • Currently leads the SEC in kills per set and points per set in all matches and league matches
    • Is currently third in the SEC among active players in career kills and is the top junior on the list
    • Recently broke into the 1,000-kill club, the 11th Tiger to do so.
    • She is the second-fastest Tiger ever to 1,000 career kills (four-year players).
    • Is on pace to shatter that all-time career kills record at Mizzou, currently held by Shen Danru
    • Set a Mizzou record with 523 kills in 2011 and is on pace to break 500 again this season
    • Preseason All-SEC Team member
    • Three-time Big12/SEC Player of the Week in her career
Little Playing Big
Another developing trend for the Tigers this season is the play of sophomore middle hitter Whitney Little. Little has five 10-block matches this season, resetting the Mizzou record for 10-block matches in a career. The previous record had been four by former Tiger All-American Christi Myers - keep in mind, Little broke that career mark in a span of just nine matches after posting 11 blocks at Tennessee on Oct. 5. Below are a few notables on Little.
    • Little is 18th nationally in blocks per set (1.43) and leads the SEC overall and in league matches
    • Little is also eighth nationally in solo blocks (26)
    • She had five 10-block matches over nine matches. That reset the school record for career 10-block matches
    • Little has two block-kill doubles this season; the last block-kill double-double for MU was back in `07
    • Little matched the rally scoring school record with five solo blocks at Florida
    • Little sits atop the all-time Mizzou career records in blocks per set (1.23) and is third in hitting (.318)
    • Little could reset her own single season blocking record (138). She is on pace for more than 160 blocks
    • Little owns the SEC's top five blocking marks this season and leads the SEC in blocking

Block This Way
Looking at the season stats for the Tigers, the one thing that stands out is the Tigers' blocking numbers. In fact, Mizzou leads the SEC with its 2.77 blocks per set average while its 260.0 total blocks leads the SEC as well. The 2.77 blocks per set clip ranks the Tigers 20th nationally. The numbers are even better in SEC play as the Tigers are averaging 2.96 blocks per set with a league-leading 171.5 total blocks.

Scouting Texas A&M
At 21-5 and 13-4 in SEC play, Texas A&M has put together quite the inaugural season in the SEC as it sits atop the SEC West standings. Alisia Kastmo, a right side hitter, leads the Aggies with 323 kills this season, but A&M prides itself on being very balanced. In fact, its top three attackers each have at least 223 kills. Allie Sawatzky is the team's setter but has also tallied 173 kills on the season as the lefty is always a threat to dump on two.

Series Information
As members of the Big 12, the two schools built quite a rivalry. In fact, in the last 20 meetings, A&M leads 11-9 while 18 of those 20 matches have all gone at least four sets; six of those have gone five as well. A&M leads the all-time series, 24-12, after winning at Mizzou this year.

Scouting Mississippi State
At 4-21 and 0-16 in SEC play, it has been a tough year for the Bulldogs. As a team, Mississippi State is hitting just .136 while allowing opponents to hit .255. Starting setter Paris Perret quit the team earlier this season and MSU has been searching for a setter ever since and it has hampered the team's play.

Series Information
Mizzou and Mississippi State have met just twice in the history of both programs. The Tigers swept MSU in 2004 as they hit .430 as a team against the Bulldogs at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers also swept MSU at the Hearnes on ESPNU earlier this season as well.

Tigers Second in SEC, 20th Nationally in Hitting
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou ranks among the national elite in team hitting percentage at .263, ranking it second in the SEC and 20th nationally. If the season ended today, the .263 clip would be the fourth-best attack clip in program history, trailing only the `05 team (.299), the `00 team (.289) and the `02 team (.280).

Kreklow Improves Hitting
Heading into the season, junior setter Molly Kreklow was more known for her ability to run an offense, but it has been her offensive production that has caught the eye of many this season. In addition to guiding the team to a .263 attack percentage, Kreklow also proved to be a formidable attacker, posting 102 kills on 211 attacks with just 23 errors, good for a .374 clip. Kreklow entered the season as a .179 career attacker, so her .374 clip is a vast improvement.

Home Sweet Home
Mizzou has been very good at home this season, posting a 10-3 record with its only losses coming to nationally-ranked Michigan, Florida and Texas A&M, which is receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll. Conversely, Mizzou is just 8-6 away from Hearnes this season. As the Tigers enter the final two weeks of the season, Mizzou plays half of its remaining four matches at home, both coming after this weekend's trip to College Station and Starkville.

A Libero Change
Before the match with No. 17 Tennessee on Sept. 12, Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow made a lineup change as he moved sophomore Sarah Meister to the starting libero position, replacing Jade Hayes. The move came after Hayes had pulled in double-digit digs in nine of the Tigers' first 10 matches. But Meister has made an immediate impact since throwing on the opposite-colored jersey, averaging 4.41 digs per set, fourth-best in the SEC. Before the change, Meister was averaging just 1.85 digs per set and a .941 serve receive mark. She has posted at least 20 digs in six of her 15 matches as libero, including a career-best 27 at LSU and 23 in her first-ever start at libero against No. 17 Tennessee. In matches at Tennessee and Alabama in early October, Meister pulled in 48 digs (24 at both Tennessee and Alabama) and committed just two reception errors on 60 chances, good for a team-best 9.67 reception percentage. At Ole Miss and Auburn, she had 43 digs (4.22 per set) and boasted a .966 serve receive percentage on a team-high 59 chances

Historic First Two Seasons for Kreklow
Junior setter Molly Kreklow has accomplished a lot in her short career at Mizzou and the numbers show it. In fact, Kreklow has quarterbacked the Tigers to a 43-24 record (.657) over the past two seasons and a pair of NCAA Tournament wins (2-2 overall record, including a Sweet 16 appearance). The 43 wins for the Tigers over the last two seasons are the most for a Tiger setter since All-American and current assistant coach Lindsey Hunter won 45 matches from 2002-03. Kreklow already has more NCAA Tournament wins than Hunter did through her first two seasons. Also, Kreklow set the Tigers to a .232 attack percentage in her first two seasons, the Tigers' best two-year attack percentage since 2004-05, when Hunter led the team to a .292 clip over those two seasons. Kreklow now has 60 wins in her two-plus seasons.

Ms. 3,000
The Tigers have certainly had their fair share of great setters under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow, but Molly Kreklow may be the best. At Morehead State, Kreklow passed the 3,000-assist mark in her career, making her just the fifth Tiger to do so. It is worth noting that if Kreklow played in 30-point sets like her predecessors, she would be on pace to break Lindsey Hunter's school record for career assists (6,097) by 471. She has assisted on nearly 83-percent of the Tigers' kills since joining the team for the 2010 season.

A Look at Kreklow Historically
Through her two-plus seasons at Mizzou, Molly Kreklow has guided the team to a .241 attack percentage and 13.37 kills per set. If you average out the rest of the year at the current pace the Tigers are attacking at right now, Kreklow will have guided Mizzou to a .245 attack percentage in her three seasons. That is the second-best mark for any three-year Tiger setter in program history, trailing only Lindsey Hunter, who guided Mizzou to a .263 attack clip in her first three seasons at Mizzou (2002-04). She has assisted on nearly 83-percent of the Tigers' kills in her two-plus seasons.

Henning Top Junior in SEC
Looking deeper into Lisa Henning's numbers so far, her 1,225 career kills are third among active SEC players and tops among SEC juniors. The two players ranked ahead of Henning on the list are all seniors as Arkansas' Jasmine Norton leads all active SEC players in kills. Remember, Henning was the first ever Tiger to leads the Big 12 in kills per set and points per set a season ago and broke the school record with 523 kills and could become the first ever Tiger to post back-to-back 500-kill seasons as she is on pace to this year.

More on the Tiger Junior Class
With 43 wins through their first two seasons, the Mizzou junior class (Kreklow, Henning) has the chance to become the winningest class in program history with almost two full seasons 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 junior class has a chance to become the winningest four-year class during the modern scheduling era in program history. With two straight wins, the class now has 61 wins in two-plus seasons. Below is a look at the winningest four-year stretches in program history (modern scheduling era).

    Winningest Four-Year Stretches
    • 2002-05 - 90 wins
    • 2002-04 - 89 wins
    • 1982-85 - 84 wins
    • Mizzou Junior Class - 61 wins
Tigers Picked Fourth in SEC East
The Tigers, in the their first SEC Preseason Poll, were picked to finish fourth in the Eastern Division by the league's coaches. The loaded SEC East features league favorite Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida, all of which rank ahead of Mizzou. The Gators narrowly edged the Tigers in the poll for third place. The Tigers received 37 votes in the poll while Tennessee (12), UK (30) and Florida (35) edged the Tigers.

Kreklow, Henning Land on All-SEC Preseason Team
The Mizzou volleyball program may be new to the Southeastern Conference, but it has already earned the respect of its peers as the Tigers placed two student-athletes on the Preseason All-SEC Team, which was released on Aug. 7. Juniors Lisa Henning and Molly Kreklow were named to the nine-person All-SEC Preseason Team. Mizzou joined Kentucky and league-favorite Tennessee as the only teams to place two players on the All-SEC Preseason Team. Henning is fifth among active SEC players with 789 kills in her career.

Kreklows Participate in USA Volleyball A-2 Program Over the Summer
Junior Molly Kreklow and Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow spent 10 days during the summer in Columbus, Ohio, for the USA Volleyball A-2 Program - Molly as a player and Wayne as a coach, albeit of different teams. Wayne coached the Blue Team to a perfect 3-0 record in pool play, but his team lost a semifinal matchup, dropping it to the third-place match, which it won, 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-11) over Molly's Red Team.

Little, O'Brien Play Together in Italy, Croatia
Sophomores Whitney Little and Katie O'Brien played with the USA Development/Bring-It Promotions tour in Italy and Croatia this summer. The Tiger duo played with some of the nation's most talented underclassmen over the week-long tour and their team played in the European Global Challenge. It marks the third straight season that Mizzou has had a student-athlete play in the program. Former Tiger Julianna Klein played in Brazil prior to the 2010 season while current Tiger junior Lisa Henning played in China prior to the 2011 season.

An Experienced Youthful Group
It is a well known fact that Mizzou was the youngest team (% of underclassmen) to qualify for the NCAA Tournament last season, but heading into 2012, the Tigers boast a roster that is comprised of 10 underclassmen and two juniors, making them the youngest team in the SEC. In fact, Mizzou's roster is 83-percent underclassmen and it is the only SEC roster that does not have a senior. Mississippi State is the next-youngest team in the league as it is comprised of 76.9-percent underclassmen. What is impressive about the Tigers' youth is that they are a very experienced group as well as seven of the 10 underclassmen are sophomores and helped guide Mizzou to the NCAA Tournament as freshmen last year.

Tigers On Television
The Mizzou volleyball program will be televised nationally four times, including a program-high three times on ESPNU this season. In all, the Tigers have six scheduled televised matches that will be seen throughout the state of Missouri this season. Below are the television dates for the Tigers.

    • Sept. 12 vs. Tennessee - ESPNU - Win
    • Oct. 14 vs. Mississippi State - ESPNU - Win
    • Oct. 19 at Ole Miss - SportSouth - Loss
    • Oct. 24 - at Georgia - ESPNU - Losss
    • Nov. 2 - vs. South Carolina - MSN - Win
    • Nov. 21 - vs. Kentucky - Metro Sports

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 second year as the team's play-by-play announcer. Brittney Brimmage will provide analysis. Visit MUTigers.tv for broadcasts.

Up Next
The Tigers will return home for a Thanksgiving week at home in which they will play Kentucky on Nov. 21 and Alabama on Nov. 23. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.

 

 

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