Tigers Look to Keep Winning at Texas Tech

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Amanda Hantouli have two weeks and four matches to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.</i>
Amanda Hantouli have two weeks and four matches to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Nov. 16, 2009

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Match Info: Mizzou (17-11, 8-8 Big 12) vs. Oklahoma (2-23, 0-16 Big 12)
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 18
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Arena: United Spirit Arena
Television: Fox 34 - Lubbock
Gametracker: www.MUTigers.com
Streaming Radio: www.MUTigers.com
Series Information: Mizzou leads the all-time series with Texas Tech, 17-11, after topping them at the Hearnes Center earlier this season. Mizzou has won the last 14 matches with Tech, dating back to 2002, and has won 17 of 18.

What You Need to Know
• The Tigers look to improve to seven matches over .500 for the first time this season and look to earn their first three-match winning streak in Big 12 play this season. A win would also put the Tigers at 9-8 in league play, marking the first time since knocking off Texas Tech on Oct. 10 that they would be over. 500 in league play.

• A win Wednesday would be Wanye and Susan Kreklow's 200th victory during their tenure at Mizzou.

Paola Ampudia has 204 kills in her last 12 matches, dating back to the first time Mizzou played Colorado. Those 204 kills are 121 more than the next closest Tiger and are tops in the Big 12 in that span as well, four more than UT's Destinee Hooker.

• Mizzou cracked the Big 12's top six after topping Colorado on Saturday. That is important because the last three times that Mizzou finished the season in sixth-place - 2003, 2006 and 2007 - it has made the NCAA Tournament.

This Wednesday
Mizzou heads to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech as it looks for its first three-match winning streak during Big 12 play this season. The match with the Raiders is slated for a 7 p.m. start at the United Spirit Arena. The match will air locally in Lubbock on Fox 34. A win would be Wayne and Susan Kreklow's 200th at Mizzou.

The Tigers are coming off of back-to-back wins over Big 12 opponents for third time this season as they look to secure an NCAA Tournament berth heading into the final two weeks of the season. With those two wins, Mizzou sits at sixth-place in the Big 12 Conference at 8-8 and plays the Big 12's No. 5 and No. 7 teams in Baylor and Texas A&M, respectively, in its last four matches, making these next two weeks a pivotal stretch for the Tigers. In fact, three of the Tigers' final four matches are against teams that fall in the nation's top 42 in the RPI, two of witch fall at home. Mizzou is six matches over .500 for the third time this season.

Last Time Out
Despite a sluggish third set, the Tigers defeated Colorado, 3-1, at the Coors Event Center on Saturday (Nov. 14) for their second Big 12 road win of the season. The win also gave Mizzou back-to-back wins in Big 12 play for the third time this season and moved Mizzou to No. 6 in the Big 12 at 8-8.

Outside hitter Julianna Klein (Keota, Iowa) led Mizzou with 15 kills in the match - her most since posting 19 against Texas A&M on Sept. 26 - on .333 hitting. Three other Tigers - Paola Ampudia, Amanda Hantouli and Catie Wilson - finished the match with double-digit kill totals as well. Mizzou posted 13 total blocks and 75 digs in what was a fine defensive effort for the Tigers. The offense struggled by its usual standards as it posted only 56 kills, five less that Colorado. The match marked the second time this season that Mizzou has finished with less kills than its opponent and won the match.

The Tiger Back Row Comes Alive
After corralling only 67 digs in back-to-back matches with Nebraska and Texas two weeks ago, the Tiger back row shined last week, pulling in 141 digs in its two matches. Mizzou corralled 66 digs - the fifth-best three-set mark in the Big 12 this season - against Oklahoma and followed that with 75 more at Colorado.

Caitlyn Vann was the key for the back row as the Tiger libero pulled in a team-best 34 digs on the week, her most in a two-match span since posting 34 in back-to-back matches with Colorado and Texas Tech. Vann had 15 digs against OU and 19 at Colorado on Saturday.

Double-Double Trouble
A pair of Tigers - Lei Wang-Francisco and Paola Ampudia - posted double-doubles in Saturday's win at Colorado, marking the third time this season that that has happened. The most recent occasion was at Kansas on Oct. 24 when the same two student-athletes did so. The only other time that it has happened this season was in Mizzou's five-set thriller with Texas A&M on Sept. 26. Wang-Francisco spread 45 assists and pulled in 12 digs in the CU match while Ampudia posted 10 kills and a career-best 15 digs.

Cracking the Top Six
With its win on Saturday, Mizzou now ranks in the league's top six, leaping ahead of Texas A&M. The top six is a crucial spot for NCAA Tournament consideration as Mizzou has made the tournament in each of the three seasons that it has finished sixth in the Big 12. The last time Mizzou finished sixth was in 2007, the last year that the team went to the dance. That year, Mizzou nearly shocked one of the nation's top teams in Washington. In fact, the Tigers took Washington to five sets in the match before falling, 11-15 in the fifth. The other two years that Mizzou finished sixth in the league were 2003 and 2006. Its best run in those three years came in 2006 when it fell one set shy of the Sweet 16.

And Down the Home-Stretch We Go
Mizzou has only four matches remaining in the regular season. Despite having two matches this week at Texas Tech and at home against Iowa State, the key week for Mizzou will likely be the final week of the season. Mizzou hosts No. 24 Baylor on senior night and then travels to Texas A&M for a showdown with the Aggies in the regular season finale. Mizzou is currently jostling for position nationally and in the Big 12 with both of those teams. Both right now would fall into the category of `bubble teams' alongside Mizzou, making that week arguably the most important of the season for Mizzou.

Amanda Breaks Through
Senior Amanda Hantouli had maybe her finest match of the season at Colorado, posting a season-best 10 kills on .600 hitting, also a season-best. Hantouli added four blocks in the match which is her most since posting eight in the season-opening contest with Texas State.

Rounding Back into Form?
Junior outside hitter Julianna Klein is beginning to look like the player that she was before missing three matches due to mononucleosis last month. Evidence of that was Klein's performance at Colorado on Saturday as she posted a team-best 15 kills on .333 hitting, her best since hitting . 350 against SIU-Edwardsville. Klein's 15 kills in that match are also her most since posting 19 in the Tigers' five-set win over Texas A&M on Sept. 26. Klein has 47 kills on .230 hitting since her return.

Roofing the Buffs
Mizzou posted 13.0 total blocks in its win over Colorado on Saturday, its third-best total of the season. The 13.0 total blocks are also the most for the Tigers since they posted 18.0, a season-best, against Texas A&M. It is also the Tigers' second-best mark during Big 12 play this season. Lei Wang-Francisco led the team with seven total blocks in the match while Julianna Klein and Amanda Hantouli also pitched in four apiece.

Setting the Table
Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco spread a then Big 12 three-set high 45 assists in the Tigers' win over Oklahoma last Wednesday. She handed out a set-high 17 in the first frame, 16 in the second and 12 in the third. Over her past six Big 12 matches, Wang-Francisco has passed out 247 helpers, good for 12.35 per set. Excluding the Texas match last Saturday, she is averaging 13.24 per set and has guided Mizzou to a 4-1 record in those five matches. Wang-Francisco holds the Big 12's top mark in assists in a four-set match (57) as well. She also holds the fourth-best four-set mark in the league as well this season with her 55 dimes against Kansas and the second-best three-set mark with 45 against Oklahoma last Wednesday.

Last Time Against the Red Raiders
Mizzou hit .344 in a sweep of the Red Raiders at the Hearnes Center back on Oct. 10. The .344 clip is a Big 12 season-best for the Tigers and is still their second-best clip of the season. Every Tiger attacker in the match hit better than .240 while Catie Wilson led the team with a .778 clip with seven kills on nine attacks. Mizzou also limited the Raiders to an .035 hitting percentage in the match, a Big 12 season-best for the Tigers. Mizzou also aced the Red Raiders five times in the match, four of witch came off the arm of Wilson. Paola Ampudia and Julianna Klein led Mizzou with 12 and 10 kills, respectively, in the match. That win improved Mizzou to 8-0 at home this season.

Nearly Perfect at Hearnes
With its win over Oklahoma last Wednesday, Mizzou pushed its record at home to 11-2 this season, making it one of the toughest places for opponents to play this season. The home record is Mizzou's best since opening the 2001 season 11-1. Mizzou has two more home matches this season, both against ranked teams, as it looks to add some quality wins to its NCAA Tournament résumé.

`Pao-erful' Paola
With 204 kills in her last 12 matches (17.00 per match), no one in the Big 12 has been more important to their team than the Tigers' Paola Ampudia. Her 204 kills in that span are 121 more than any Tiger on the roster and four more than the next closest attacker in the Big 12, Destinee Hooker of Texas. Ampudia has hit the 20-kill plateau in four of her last nine matches - including a school-record 35 at Kansas - and has posted four double-doubles in that span as well. Ampudia currently holds the Big 12 three-set high with 22 kills at Nebraska and the Big 12 four-set high with 35 kills at Kansas. The 35 kills against the Jayhawks are also a Big 12 four-set record.

Scouting the Raiders
Texas Tech comes into the match at 2-23 this season and 0-16 in Big 12 play. They have won only three sets during league play, two of which came against K-State and CU, the No. 9 and No. 10 teams in the Big 12. However, the Raiders' third winning set came in the first frame at No. 2 Texas last Wednesday.

Amanda Dowdy leads the Raiders with 266 kills on the season, good for 3.28 per set. The main strength for Tech is its block as it averages 2.22 per set, which ranks sixth in the Big 12. Junior college transfer Barbara Conceicao leads the team with 104 on the season. Conceicao, who had originally committed to Michigan State out of junior college, is averaging 1.28 blocks per set, a mark that ranks second in the Big 12 this season.

Mizzou leads the all-time series with Texas Tech, 17-11, after topping them at the Hearnes Center earlier this season. Mizzou has won the last 14 matches with Tech, dating back to 2002, and has won 17 of 18.

It's That Time of Year...
...to start looking at the Tigers' NCAA Tournament résumé. Last Wednesday's win over Oklahoma will go a long way to helping Mizzou's tournament chances as it marks a win over a team that held a No. 34 ranking in the RPI ranks last week. Oklahoma also ranked just outside the AVCA/Bison Top 25 at No. 26, making that win one of the Tigers' best of the season. Also, with the selection committee placing an increased emphasis on what teams did in the non-conference part of the schedule, Mizzou should feel pretty good as it racked up a 9-3 mark against non-Big 12 opponents, including one win over an RPI top-100 team and a 4-1 mark away from home.

Staying on the RPI topic, Mizzou has earned five wins over RPI top 100 teams this season and has taken sets from three others that rank in the top 40. Finally, the Tigers have played 13 matches against teams that are currently ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA/Bison Top 25 poll or were ranked at the time that they played. Mizzou plays three teams ranked in the RPI top 42 - two of which come at home - to close out its season as it has the potential to rack up several quality wins as the season winds down.

Catching up With Catie
Junior middle hitter Catie Wilson posted 13 kills at Colorado, moving her season total to 205. That total is 10 more than the number of kills that she had in her first two seasons as a Tiger combined. Also, in her first two seasons, Wilson committed 79 attack errors while this season she has committed only 51 on 64 less attacks this season. Heading into the season, Wilson was a career .236 hitter and she has raised her career clip to .268, which ranks ninth all-time at Mizzou. Wilson is ranked seventh in the Big 12, hitting .327 in 2009.

Trailing only Hooker
Paola Ampudia has been creeping into Big 12 Player of the Year discussions as of late as she now ranks second in the league in points per set (4.91) and in kills per set (4.40), trailing only Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Destinee Hooker of Texas in both categories.

Milestone for Vann
Junior libero Caitlyn Vann (Muncie, Ind.) posted 19 digs at Colorado to raise her season total to 415, passing Shen Danru for seventh on Mizzou's all-time list. The 19 digs for Vann are her most since corralling the same amount at Kansas State on Oct. 14, 2009. She now has 34 digs in her last two matches, matching her best total over a two-match span since the Tigers played Colorado and Texas Tech earlier this season. Vann now has 1,291 digs in her career and sits just 16 shy of cracking the top three all-time at Mizzou as well.

Brit Steps Up
Sophomore Brittney Brimmage (East St. Louis, Ill.) posted seven kills on .500 hitting in the Tigers' sweep of Oklahoma last Wednesday. Her seven kills are her most since posting 13 against Utah on Sept. 5 while her .500 clip is her best when posting more than five kills since the Utah match as well.

A Seasoned Veteran
Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco (Shanghai, China) played in her 119th career match at Mizzou, passing Sherri Gentry for 10th all-time. She also ranks sixth all-time with 438 sets played in her four-year career.

Wendy Comes Alive
Junior Weiwen Wang (Nanjing, China) came off the bench against Oklahoma and netted eight kills without an error on 26 attacks, her most attempts in a three-set match this season. She also corralled eight digs in the match, a career-best.

No `Hard-Knock Life' for this Annie
Sophomore defensive specialist Annie Lopez corralled 10 digs in last Wednesday's win over OU, two shy of her season-best, and added nine more at Colorado. Over her last nine matches, Lopez ranks third on the team with 71 digs, trailing only libero Caitlyn Vann and Paola Ampudia. Lopez has hit double-digits in digs in three of those matches, including hitting her season-best 12 on two separate occasions.

Ace in the Hole
The Tigers currently rank first in the Big 12 with 1.25 service aces per set this season. Mizzou's 121 total aces leads the Big 12, six more than the second-place team. Both Caitlyn Vann (third, 0.30 per set) and Julianna Klein (sixth, 0.27 per set) rank amongst the Big 12's top 10 this season. Klein has posted the most service aces in a match by a Big 12 player with her eight against Colorado, while Vann's six aces against UMKC comes in ranked second overall. Mizzou posted a season-best 11 aces in its wins over Colorado and UMKC. That mark is tops in a Big 12 match this season.

52 Kills
Mizzou posted a then three-set season-high 52 kills in its win over K-State (Oct. 28). That mark is even more impressive when considering that Mizzou was just three shy of a season-low in attack errors in the match as they hit .333. Eight different Tigers posted a kill in the match as four Tigers posted at least seven. In addition, Mizzou limited K-State to just 38 kills in the match.

Monkey off the Back?
The Tigers' win over Kansas (Oct. 24) marked Mizzou's first Big 12 road win of the 2009 season as the Tigers went 0-5 in the first half of Big 12 play on the road. Despite coming close at Oklahoma and at Kansas State, Mizzou had not won a true road match since September 5, when it knocked off Utah Valley. Mizzou won only two Big 12 matches on the road last season. Mizzou earned its second Big 12 road win Saturday at Colorado and is in search of its third at Texas Tech.

Season-Best for Mizzou
2,721 fans filed into the Hearnes Center against K-State, a season-best for the Tigers. Mizzou's season average 1s 1,745 fans per match, ranking the team 22nd in the nation this season. Mizzou has ranked in the top 10 nationally in attendance from 2004-2008, prompting Volleyball Magazine to rank Hearnes as one of the top-10 toughest places to play in the nation.

Performance of a Lifetime?
The performance by Paola Ampudia at Kansas on Oct. 24 will likely go down as one of the best - if not the best - single-match effort in program history. Ampudia's 35 kills bested Yvette Buhlig's 20-year school record of 34 kills, set on September 5, 1989. The 35 kills are a Big 12 four-set record and she joins Buhlig as one of only two Tigers to post 30 or more kills in a four-set match. Her 78 attacks in the match are also a school-record - tying the mark set by Julianna Klein earlier this season in a five-set win over Texas A&M - and are the most-ever in a four-set match at Mizzou. Ampudia also pulled in 11 digs in the match, her second-best total of the season, to earn her third career double-double. Her .282 clip in the match is also her fourth-best of the season.

Weekly Honors for Paola
For her efforts three that week, Ampudia was named Big 12 Player of the Week, her fourth Big 12 weekly honor of the season, the most by any Tiger in a single season. The Player of the Week laurel is the first of her career while she has taken home Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times. She is the only player in the history of the Big 12 to take home Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors in the same season. Ampudia averaged 7.29 kills per set that week while hitting .274 with 15 digs.

Nice Night for Lei
Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco passed out a season-high and Big 12 four-set high 57 assists in Mizzou's win over Kansas. This season, Wang-Francisco has 112 assists against KU as she passed out her previous season-best 55 against KU back in September. The Tiger setter also pulled in 10 digs at Kansas for her team-leading sixth double-double this season.

Wilson Goes Wild
Catie Wilson had one of her finest weeks as a Tiger against Colorado and Texas Tech as she hit .750 with 19 kills, four service aces and three blocks. Wilson hit .733 - the ninth-best clip in program history when totaling more than 10 kills - with 12 kills on 15 attacks. Her .733 clip is the second-best mark by any player in the Big 12 in a single match this season. She followed that with seven kills at clip of .778 and four aces in Mizzou's win over Texas Tech.

Relentless Attack
With 49 attacks at Kansas State earlier this season, junior outside hitter Julianna Klein passed Gwen Mullens for eighth-place on the Tigers' career attack list. Klein now has 2,951 total attacks at Mizzou, the most among active Tigers. She also is the active leader in total service aces (73) and kills (969).

Career Night for Klein
Julianna Klein posted the 1,000th point of her career in the Tigers' win over Texas A&M on her final kill of the match. Klein has the most points among active Tigers and with 140.0 more, she will crack the all-time top 10 career point list at Mizzou. Klein also posted a school-record 78 total attacks in that match.

Holding `em In Check
The Tigers had their best defensive match of the season against Texas A&M. The Aggies came into the match leading the Big 12 in hitting at .301 and the Tigers - due in large part to season-highs in total blocks (18.0) and digs (96) - limited A&M to .111 hitting, its worst output of the season at that point. Mizzou is 12-0 this season when hitting at a better percentage than its opponents. Mizzou held UMKC and Texas A&M to a combined .055 hitting percentage that week, highlighted by a -.065 clip by the `Roos.

Quite a Comeback
In Mizzou's match against Texas A&M, Mizzou rallied from down 2-0 to top the Aggies, 3-2, in its only five-set match of 2009. The win marked the first time since Oct. 1, 2005, that the Tigers have come back from a 2-0 deficit in a five-set match. The Tigers also limited Texas A&M to a then season-low .111 hitting. A&M entered the match hitting a Big 12-best .301.

Downright Defensive
In the Tigers' match with UMKC, they limited the `Roos to only 39 total points, their best mark of the season, and held the `Roos to -.065 hitting, their best mark since holding Alabama State to -.250 hitting on Aug. 25, 2006.

Return to Sender
In its win over Texas A&M, Mizzou posted a season-high 18.0 total blocks, their best since sending back 14.5 against Texas State in the 2009 opener. Senior setter Lei Wang-Francisco led the Tigers with a season-best six total blocks in the match while Catie Wilson, Weiwen Wang and Rosa Medrano each accounted for five in match.

Rookie of the Week Part Three
Junior Paola Ampudia was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the second-consecutive week on September 21, 2009. Ampudia is the first Tiger ever to take home back-to-back Big 12 weekly honors. She became the first-ever Tiger to take home four Big 12 weekly laurels after being named Player of the Week three weeks ago.

A Full-Team Effort
In Mizzou's win over UMKC, every student-athlete on the Tigers' 14-player roster saw action. That was the first time this season that that has happened as two Tigers - Marissa Ferri and Lindsey Petrick - saw their first action in a regular season match this year. Ferri posted her first career dig in the third frame while Petrick entered late in the set and earned her first career solo block and registered three total attacks.

Dig `em Pip!
Sophomore Priscilla Armendariz was a silver lining in the Tigers' loss at Kansas State earlier this season. Armendariz pulled in 24 digs - a season-best and the Tigers' second-best individual performance - in the loss. The 24 total digs are also a personal-best for Armendariz who currently ranks second on the team with 214 digs.

Big Night for Brit
Brittney Brimmage tallied 13 kills with only one error on 20 swings in the Tigers' four-set loss to No. 17 Utah. That stat line gave Brimmage a .600 hitting percentage in the match. The .600 clip is a career-best for Brimmage as she becomes one of only 27 athletes in school history to post a .600 hitting percentage with more than 10 kills.

The 700-Club
Team Kreklow (Wayne and Susan together) earned its 700th career win after topping UMKC. The 700 combined wins dates back to their time as the head coaching tandem at Columbia College, where they mentored both the men's and women's programs. The pair has won 199 matches in their 10 seasons at Mizzou.

Mr. 400
With the Tigers' win over Fairfield earlier this season, head coach Wayne Kreklow earned his 400th victory as a head coach. Dating back to his time at Columbia College, where he coached both the men's and women's teams, Kreklow has compiled a 410-112 record as a head coach, including a 357-88 mark coaching women's volleyball. 90 of his 357 wins in women's volleyball have come during his time at Mizzou.

All-Access Video and Radio
Be sure to follow the Tiger volleyball program all season long on www.mutigers.com. The matches will be streamed live on Mizzou All-Access. Also, all Big 12 road matches can be heard live on www.mutigers.com.

Tigers on Television
Mizzou's match at Texas Tech has been chosen for a live broadcast and will air live on Fox 34 in Lubbock, marking what will be the final televised match for Mizzou.

Next up
Mizzou returns home to take on No. 8 ranked Iowa State on Saturday, following the Mizzou-Iowa State football game at 5 p.m. Fans are encouraged to come cheer on their Tigers as they look for a win over a top-10 team that would help solidify them as an NCAA Tournament team.



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