11th Ranked Tigers to Host No. 10 Longhorns

MUTIGERS.COM Junior Jessica Vander Kooi
Junior Jessica Vander Kooi

Nov. 18, 2005

COLUMBIA, Mo.--A long regular season of women's collegiate volleyball will shortly be coming to a close, and the No. 11 Missouri team will have three matches in a seven-day stretch, starting with the hosting of No. 10 Texas on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., in the Hearnes Center, to cap Big 12 play. The Tigers (19-4, 13-4) are within reach of the Longhorns (21-3, 15-2) in the conference battle for second place and look to strengthen a possible post-season NCAA Tournament bid. Admission to the match can be obtained with two canned-food items with proceeds going to the Central Missouri Food Bank.


The match is one of three events to occur Sunday in the Mizzou Sports Park. Starting at 9 a.m., the Tiger wrestling team will host the Missouri Open in the Hearnes Fieldhouse with 17 schools scheduled to be in attendance. In addition, the men's basketball team hosts Northwestern State at 2 p.m., in Mizzou Arena. Those without parking passes for the men's basketball game will be directed to the east lot of the Hearnes Center. Also, the first 500 fans in the Hearnes Center will get to enjoy brunch items for free, as an appreciation for supporting the women's volleyball team.


Scouting Texas ...

The Longhorns enter the contest having won 15-of-their-last-16 matches, losing only at No. 1 Nebraska during the stretch. Within the stretch, Texas has also defeated five top-25 teams.


Sophomore middle-blocker Leticia Armstrong, who is fifth in the Big 12 in hitting (.389), and sixth in kills per game (3.84) and blocks per game (1.44), has missed the last two matches. Setter Michelle Moriarty is among the Big 12 elite, averaging 13.35 assists per game. Dariam Acevedo is a strong hitting threat, having averaged 3.81 kills per game this season.


Texas leads the league in service aces per game (1.76), and is in the top three of most categories.


Watch, Listen, Cheer: TV, Radio, and the Web

There are several ways for fans to watch, listen, and cheer for their respective teams from literally anywhere in the world.


LIVE Broadcasts (6:30 p.m., central):

* Mizzou All-Access ... http://allaccess.cstv.com/media/school.jsp?sid=2150&gSportId=32&ngSportId=all&ngDates=all&

* LIVE Audio ... kcou.mu.org

* LIVE Stats ... mutigers.com


All-Time Series

Texas leads the all-time series 11-8 ... Mizzou holds a slight, 5-4 advantage over Texas in Columbia ... In the Kreklow era (since 2000), Mizzou has went 8-3 against the Longhorns ... Texas has won 3-of-the-last-4 meetings, but the teams have split the season series in the each of the past three years


Last Time Out ... Tigers Nearly Pop No. 1 Huskers' Undefeated Season

Junior Jessica Vander Kooi scored a tied career-high 23 kills, also a team-season high, having 22 digs as well, but was not enough to stop the No.1 Huskers.


The No. 12 Missouri women's volleyball team nearly pulled off one of the largest upsets in the 2005 season, falling to No. 1 Nebraska in five games after winning the first two, 30-28, 30-27, 21-30, 24-30, 3-15. The Tigers (19-4, 13-4 Big 12) went up in the match 2-0, marking the first time the Tigers were ever faced with possibly sweeping the Huskers. The only unbeaten team left in the country, the No. 1 Huskers (25-0, 16-0) won their 49th-consectuive regular season match and their 31st-straight at home in front of 4,158 fans in Lincoln.


Junior Jessica Vander Kooi joined the 20-20 club for only the second time in her career, scoring a tied-career high 23 kills (UC-Irvine, NCAA First Round, 2003) adding a season-high 22 digs.


Senior Lindsey Hunter spread 58 assists and added 12 digs to record her ninth double-double of the season. Four Tigers were in double-digits in kills with Nicole Wilson adding 12, Na Yang grabbing 11, and Lisa Boyd scoring on 10 kills. In addition, Wilson added a team-high five blocks.


Shen Danru scored on nine kills, adding 18 digs. Tatum Ailes notched 15 digs.


It was most definitely a tale of two halves. Mizzou shocked Nebraska and their crowd in the first two games, winning with great passing turning to great hitting while taking advantage of several, rare Husker mistakes. The Tigers opening two game win marked the first time all-time in the series that Nebraska had went down two games to Mizzou to start a match.


In ironic fashion, Nebraska took hold of the remainder of the match, coming back to win the next three games, just as Mizzou had done to them in Lincoln two years ago.


The Tigers win game one was Nebraska's first game loss in 31-consecutive home games and 28-games overall.


In game one, the Huskers jumped on the board with two-consecutive kills, but the Tigers responded. Off the serve of Lindsey Hunter, the Tigers scored on six-straight points to go up 6-2. After much back-and-forth scoring, the Tigers led 15-12 at the media timeout. Mizzou's Vander Kooi and Wilson teamed up with consecutive-blocking points to lead by five at 17-12, all part of a 5-1 MU run that gave the Tigers a 19-13 advantage before a Nebraska timeout. Nebraska answered with four-straight to cut the lead again to three at 20-17. Mizzou kept their lead strong and led 28-24, forcing another NU timeout. Nebraska scored on four-of-five to come within one at 29-28, forcing a Mizzou timeout. Out of the timeout, Hunter stunned the Huskers with a setter dump, that went down for the kill and the 30-28 game win.


In the first frame, Mizzou hit a solid .333 in the frame, connecting on 19 kills, committing only four hitting errors. Vander Kooi recorded eight of the kills, also scoring on the Tigers only block of the frame. Conversely, the Tigers held the national-blocking leader, Nebraska (4.26 bpg), to only one block in the stanza.

The second verse started with good passing by the Tigers and bad hitting by the Huskers, leading to a 10-7 Tiger advantage after a four-point Tiger run to force a Nebraska timeout. Mizzou continued the order, scoring three on the next four rallies to string a 7-1 run, going up five at 13-8. In the run, Nebraska committed hitting errors on four of the Tigers' seven points. Nebraska managed a 4-1 run to cut the lead to two, but Mizzou responded with a Wilson kill and a Danru-Wilson double-stuff block to return the to four at 16-12 and force another Nebraska timeout.


At the 19-17 mark, with Mizzou having the lead, the Tigers went on another four-point tear, to spread the lead to six at 23-17. After a two-point swing by Nebraska, the Tigers went up seven to 26-19 after a Hunter dump kill, a double-block by Yang and Wilson, and a Hunter service ace. Nebraska scored on four straight, ending with a crowd-pleasing double-block by Sarah Paven and Melissa Elmer, cutting the Tiger lead to three at 26-23. With the Tigers looking at game point at 29-25, the Huskers used a huge kill and service ace by Paven to come within two at 29-27. After Mizzou's final timeout of the frame, Danru brought the Tiger win home, scoring on her first kill in the frame that landed three feet off the baseline.


Vander Kooi dominated the first two frames, adding seven more kills to lead into the break with a double-double of 15 kills and 11 digs. Lisa Boyd scored four kills in the stanza, Wilson and Yang added three apiece. Mizzou hit .212 in the measure, holding Nebraska to a slim .128 hitting percentage, as they committed six-unforced hitting errors.


The third frame opened with a 4-0 Tiger run, containing three kills, all by different Tigers, and a double-block by Hunter and Wilson. The Huskers took the game by the jugular at after that point, grabbing a 9-3 run on stellar hitting and great serving, to force a Mizzou timeout. After a Vander Kooi kill and ace, Mizzou tied the score at 9-9. Nebraska scored 10 to Mizzou's four, to go up 19-13. Prior to that point, the Nebraska's largest lead over the Tigers at any point in the match was two, now it was six.


At that 19-13 point, Nebraska was hitting .364, having committed no unforced hitting errors. The Tigers stormed back with three points on a run after two NU errors and a kill by Boyd to cut the NU lead to three (reducing the Husker hitting to .240 in just three points). After another kill by Boyd to bring the score to 21-18, Nebraska scored on an 8-2 run after two four-point mini-runs to take over the game for good. In the frame Nebraska scored on five blocks, allowing Mizzou only a .136 hitting tally while scoring .351 themselves.


In game four, Mizzou once again led, 6-1, but Nebraska had a quick answer, chewing at the lead and eventually went up 21-16. The Huskers held the lead steady to win the frame 30-24. In the fourth game Mizzou had only 13 kills on .190 hitting.


In the fifth game, the Tigers started with a Wilson kill, but Nebraska started to take things from there. Nebraska would score on four straight to make the score 4-1 after a double-block. Nebraska showed their we-are No. 1-for-a-reason stand in the next several rallies. Scoring on a kill, two-double blocks and ace, to cause the NU Coliseum to crazy, showing an 8-2 lead. And the Tigers couldn't stop the bleeding, scoring only once more before Nebraska could close the story on the match, winning in very commanding fashion.


The fifth game featured four team blocks by Nebraska. The Huskers scored on seven kills on only 11 tries (.545), holding Mizzou to a season-low -.286 frame hitting percentage (2-6-14).


Nebraska's Melissa Elmer, while quietly only scoring on three blocks and three kills in the first two games, completed the match with 11 total blocks and 12 kills. Sarah Paven led the Huskers with 22 kills. Jennifer Saleaumua recorded 23 digs.


Flashback ... October 12 ... Sweeps Week in Austin

The only time the Tigers have been swept this season was in Austin on October 12. When the then-No. 7 Tigers lost to then-No. 18 Texas.


A five-match road winning streak was snapped for the No. 7 Missouri women's volleyball team Wednesday night, as the Tigers (12-2, 6-2) succumbed to their first sweep of the year, losing 28-30, 27-30, and 22-30 to No. 17 Texas. The Longhorns (12-2, 7-1) take over sole possession of second place in the Big 12, as they win their sixth-straight match. Shen Danru became Mizzou's all-time kill leader at Mizzou with six this match to take her to 1,484 overall in her career.


Sophomore Na Yang led the Tigers with 14 kills, and junior Nicole Wilson added 13. Tatum Ailes and Shen Danru led the team with 10 digs.


Mizzou recorded a hitting percentage of .211 in the match, their lowest of the season.


Mizzou was up 13-10 early in game one after a four-point run that put the Tigers in the driver's seat. A three-kill run by Na Yang over a four-point stretch, gave the Missouri a 16-13 advantage. Texas scored on six of the next eight points to tie at 19-19. The teams would trade ties to advance the score to 27 all. Mizzou would score on Shen Danru ace, but Texas answered with three straight points, ending on a double-block to take the game 30-28. Yang would score seven of Mizzou's 17 kills in the first frame. Mizzou outhit Texas .227-.200 in the game.


Solid hitting on both sides of the net was the story in game two. Texas would score on 22 kills in the second frame, hitting .409. Mizzou was strong at .359 hitting. Mizzou was the leader out of the gate once again, as Mizzou went up 6-3 on a Tiger triple-block. Mizzou was up 15-11 before Texas scored five-straight points to take their first lead of the frame at 16-15. Similar to game one, the teams tied several times, but at 27-27, once again Texas held strong. The Longhorns scored four-consecutive points, with three kills from Jen Christian to win 30-27.


In game three, the Tigers held the lead briefly at 3-2, but would never again in the 30-22 game loss. The Tigers made 11 hitting and three service errors, falling quickly to the continued, hard-hitting Longhorns. Texas would hit .333 in the frame to Mizzou's season-low game hitting total of .067.


National Statistical Rankings

As of November 13

Notable Big 12 teams and individuals on the tops of the NCAA Statistical Rankings - out of 317 teams (released each Tuesday)



Assists Per Game: Missouri, 4th, 16.01 apg ... Nebraska, 7th, 15.67 apg

Blocks Per Game: Nebraska, 1st, 4.22 bpg

Hitting Percentage: Nebraska, 4th, .324 ... Missouri, 10th, .296 ... Texas, 17th, .278

Kills Per Game: Missouri, 4th, 17.11 ... Nebraska, 5th, 17.08



Assists Per Game: Lindsey Hunter, Missouri, 5th, 14.04 apg ... Michelle Moriarty, Texas, 9th, 13.41

Blocks Per Game: Melissa Elmer, Nebraska, 1st, 2.27 bpg

Hitting Percentage: Nicole Wilson, Missouri, 5th, .424 ... Melissa Elmer, Nebraska, .416

Kills Per Game: Laura Jones, Texas A&M, 1st, 5.95


Milestones Achieved and Yet to Go


* Lindsey Hunter played in the 400th game of her career versus Colorado on October 29

* Hunter eclipsed the 5,500-career assist mark versus Colorado on October 29

* Hunter had her 100th-career 40-plus assist match at Oklahoma on November 5

* Hunter also had her 40th-career double-double with 47 assists and 12 digs at Oklahoma on November 5

* Jessica Vander Kooi became the eighth Tiger all-time to record 250 blocks in a career

* Lisa Boyd played in the 100th match of her career at No. 1 Nebraska on November 13


What 2 Watch 4

Lindsey Hunter

* 5,873 total career assists will put Hunter in the top 25 all-time in NCAA history in the category

* With 34 digs, Hunter will be only the seventh Tiger all-time to reach the 1,000 dig mark

Jessica Vander Kooi

* Also can reach 1,000 career kills by end of the season ... has 943 currently

Lisa Boyd and Nicole Wilson

* Both are close to scoring their 300th blocks of their career, only two other Tigers all-time have reached that plateau


An Early Lookback of 2005

Sure, we haven't completed the season, but this is a good time to set back and reflect a little on the season that has already unfolded with many, many storylines.


Team Streaks/Trends

* Mizzou went unscathed in non-conference play, winning all six matches in sweeps, going 18-0 in games, including in wins over then-No. 9 Tennessee and then-No. 9 Wisconsin.

* The Tigers won 21 consecutive games to start the season, the longest-such streak since 2000 (won 24 games consecutive)

* Mizzou also won 12 consecutive matches to begin the season (ending with a four-game loss to No. 1 Nebraska), marking the team's longest winning stretch and best season start since 1982.

* The Tigers set a new school record, winning six-consecutive conference matches (during the start of conference season)

* Mizzou also went on a five-match road winning streak during the season, tying the team's record set in 1982.

* Mizzou has currently went 5-3 against top 25 teams, capturing a new school record in wins over top-25 teams in a season


Monumental Wins

* On September 4, the Tigers swept then-No. 9 Tennessee at home, recording their first sweep over a top-10 team in school history, winning only their second all-time over a top-10 team

* In Bozeman, Mont., the Tigers defeated then-No. 9 Wisconsin, marking the Tigers' second sweep over a top-10 team in a week's time

* On September 16, Mizzou defeated Texas A&M in College Station for the first time in school history, the first in 10 tries.

* Kansas State had won nine-consecutive matches over the Tigers coming into this season, and that streak was snapped on September 24 as Mizzou won at home in a three-game sweep.

* For the first time since 1993, Mizzou also defeated then-No. 24 K-State in Manhattan, winning in five games, coming back from a two-game deficit ... the match win was also only the Tigers fifth road win all-time versus a top-25 team ... the K-State match ended with junior Jessica Vander Kooi scoring on three consecutive blocks.


Team Statistical Dealings

* On September 21, the Tigers held host Colorado to zero blocks in a three-game sweep, conversely the Tigers recorded a season-high 18 blocks on the night ... in the same match, the Tigers went the entire third game with committing a hitting error, hitting a season-high .654 in the frame

* At home versus Baylor the Tigers hit a season high .486 in the match, conversely the Bears had a Tiger-opponent season-high percentage of .337


Crowding the Hearnes Center

* On October 5, 7,298 Tiger fans came to the Hearnes Center to watch the then-No. 7 Tigers take on No. 1 Nebraska.

* Mizzou has also grew their average season attendance by 55% from 2004's 1,460 average ... the Tigers drew 3,699 fans in an October 15 match against Kansas, 2,571 fans in a October 29 match against Colorado, and 2,438 fans in a September 24 match against Kansas State

* Four of Mizzou's top-five all-time crowds have now come from the 2005 season.


Other Firsts

* The October 5 match versus No. 1 Nebraska was the first all-time televised from the Hearnes Center ... the Missouri Sports Network aired the match on a tape-delay basis on local UPN station KZOU and televised the match live in Kansas City on MetroSports, who also produced the broadcast.

* For the first time in Mizzou volleyball history, the team was ranked in the national top 10, starting on September 12 and remaining there for seven-consecutive weeks ... the team peaked at No. 7 in the country and was at that spot for three weeks (October 3, 10, 17 polls) ... the teams' previous all-time-high ranking before 2005 was 18th, occurring in 2003.

* Also for the first time in Tiger volleyball history, the team ranked in the top 10 in attendance, peaking on October 31 with a sixth-place national ranking.

* The team also reached the top five for the first time in school history in the RPI. Their previous high was the 2004 final index when the team placed 24th.


Records Broken

* Lindsey Hunter broke Mizzou's all-time assist record previously held by Heather Gerber (4,954) on September 16 at then-No. 15 Texas A&M

* Hunter also became the first Tiger to jump over the 5,000-assist mark, doing so at Colorado on September 21.

* Shen Danru became the Tigers' all-time digs leader, topping Narron Branson (1,149) at Texas Tech on October 1.

* Danru jumped over Buhlig (163) on October 5 versus No. 1 Nebraska in the all-time service aces category.

* Danru became Mizzou's all-time kills leader, jumping over Yvette Buhlig (1,478) on October 12 at then-No. 18 Texas

* Danru also became Mizzou's all-time scorer over Christi Myers (1,814) at Oklahoma on November 5.

* Nicole Wilson became the current Tiger all-time leader in hitting percentage

* Wilson also became the current Tiger all-time leader in blocks per game (1.08 - as of November 18)


Individual Feats

* On September 5, Lindsey Hunter was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in her career after recording a 100-assist week in sweeps over Utah and then-No. 9 Tennessee.

* Hunter was also named Tournament MVP for both the Tiger Invitational and the Holiday Inn Classic

* Hunter nearly record a triple-double twice in the season ... on October 22 at Iowa State she recorded 54 assists, 10 digs and eight kills ... on October 29 versus Colorado, tallied 59 assists, 13 digs, and eight kills.

* Jessica Vander Kooi has recorded three double-doubles over top-25 teams ... she nearly recorded a quadruple-double when playing at No. 24 Kansas State on October 26, recording 14 kills, 21 digs, eight assists, and nine blocks

* Vander Kooi racked up 23 kills (the team's season high) along with 22 digs in the five-game loss at No. 1 Nebraska ... her 23 were the most by a Husker opponent for the season ... marked the second 20-20 match all-time of Vander Kooi's career

* Abbie Booth began Big 12 play with 12 service aces in four three-game sweeps, averaging one per game.

* Shen Danru recorded 17 kills on .326 hitting, adding 19 digs and four blocks at Kansas State on October 26.

* Lisa Boyd - at Colorado on September 21, recorded 11 kills with only one error (.556) in road sweep, also tallying eight blocks in the match ... against No. 1 Nebraska on October 5, went 12-2-20 (.500) and recorded five blocks ... at Iowa State on October 22, nearly went errorless going 13-1-26 (.462), adding five blocks.

* Tatum Ailes - recorded 12 digs in each of the Tiger sweeps over then-No. 9 Wisconsin and then-No. 9 Tennessee ... had 41 serve receptions against No. 1 Nebraska, committing only one error, even after severely jamming elbow in game four

* Na Yang has scored a career-high 21 kills twice this season (October 1 at Texas Tech and October 26 at Kansas State) ... has recorded career highs in blocks (6) versus Kansas on October 15 and October 29 versus Colorado.

* Nicole Wilson was named Big 12 & National Player of the Week on September 26 after recording a week of errorless play in sweeps at Colorado and at home versus then-No. 17 Kansas State, hitting .719 over the stretch with 17 kills (3.83 kpg), 5.25 ppg, 2.83 bpg, and 0.67 dpg ... in the K-State match on September 24, Wilson record 11 kills on 13 attempts (also having nine blocks), recording a conference-season high hitting percentage of .846 ... went three matches in a row without committing an error in late September going 34-of-53 (.642) over the stretch


Awards & Honors

* Lindsey Hunter and Jessica Vander Kooi were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team

* Lindsey Hunter was named Big 12 Player of the Week on September 5.

* Nicole Wilson was named Big 12 Player of the Week followed by being named AVCA National Player of the Week on on September 26th (details above)

* The following were named members of the Academic All-Big 12 Team: FIRST TEAM: Abbie Booth, Lisa Boyd, Shen Danru, Jessica Vander Kooi, and Na Yang; SECOND TEAM: Lindsey Hunter


Double-Checking That Record Book

Sorry about this gaff. After investigating the record book and talking with some people in the NCAA, it appears that Mizzou's records for blocks and blocks per game were a little deceiving and needed to be changed. The method of calculating blocks in 1983 was such that every block, even those that are returned, termed "zero blocks" were counted. Obviously, that is not the case these days, as in order to be credited with a solo block or block assist, the block action must fall for a point for the blocking team. That is the reason why Mizzou's blocking records seemed way out of reach. Unfortunately, those records effect Tiger alumni Dianne Berg and Dina Herzog whose blocking prowess was felt by opposing teams in the mid-80s. But, without knowing exactly which blocks fell for points, those statistics for that year have to be kept out of the record books.


The Comeback at K-State (October 26) ... A Vander Kooi Cooling

It was a volleyball match that resembled a Rocky movie on October 26, as the No. 8 Tigers won in Manhattan over No. 24 K-State for the first time since 1993, coming back, from two games down to win the match.


Not to mention game five, when each team went "punch"-for-"punch", like the Round 11 montage in Rocky IV, tying the score a match-high eight times in frame, ultimately tying for the last time at 11-11. That's when the "Eye of the Tiger", in this case, junior Jessica Vander Kooi stepped in. After throwing down a kill off a block, giving the Tigers a side-out and the 12-11 lead, Vander Kooi proceed to build a wall at the net that lasted the remainder of the match. Wildcat Sandy Werner, who had 16 kills up-to-that-point, tried to bust through the wall on three successive rallies, and was stopped each time by Vander Kooi in a block assist or solo block.


Here's point-by-point how the end of that match went:

Score: 11-11

K-State serve (Rita Lilliom), kill by Vander Kooi (assist by Lindsey Hunter) ... score MU 12-11, MU side-out

MU serve (Nicole Wilson), block by Lisa Boyd and Jessica Vander Kooi (attack error by Sandy Werner) ... score MU 13-11


MU serve (Nicole Wilson), solo block by Vander Kooi (attack error by Sandy Werner)  ... score MU 14-11, Mizzou match point

MU serve (Nicole Wilson), block by Lisa Boyd and Vander Kooi (attack error by Sandy Werner) ... score MU 15-11 ... Mizzou wins match


Vander Kooi (Hinton, Iowa) grabbed her eighth double-double of the season, and her fourth over a ranked opponent, notching 14 kills and 21 digs, adding nine total blocks (three on the final three points alone) to tie a career-high in the category. Vander Kooi nearly had a quadruple-double as she also had eight assists on the evening.


Columbia, Lovin' The Volleyball ... Mizzou Eighth Nationally in Attendance

By the looks of the Hearnes Center on October 5th versus Nebraska, with the Tiger crowd of 7,298 roaring to its loudest volume seen at a volleyball match, Columbia, Mo. - the middle-sized town in the middle of the middle-west, may well become a volleyball town in the near future. With a steady increase of average attendance since the Kreklows' arrival in 2000, the 2005 crowd average may well skyrocket. Earlier in the season, Mizzou hosted K-State and 2,438 fans watched that match, the then-second largest crowd in team history.


The 7,298 crowd nearly tripled Mizzou's previous attendance record of 2,638 set last year in a win over Texas A&M. In fact, Mizzou's total attendance through five home matches prior to the Nebraska match was around 6,208. The October 5 crowd overly doubled that figure.


The Tigers now are averaging 2,265 fans per home contest, ranking eighth in the country.


In 2004, Mizzou reached its highest national-attendance ranking before '05, ranking 19th in the country with a 1,460 average.


The Monkey Off Thy Back

While wins over Texas A&M in College Station and an early-conference-season sweep over Kansas State may have seemed like normal occurrences in the Tigers' fast start to the season, they actually were victories that were a long-time coming. Mizzou had never won in College Station in nine previous tries before the Tigers four-game win over Texas A&M. Kansas State had the Tigers' number previous to their meeting on September 24, as K-State had won nine straight over Mizzou before the three-game Tiger sweep. Another monkey was thrown from the train when the Tigers defeated K-State for the second time this season in a five-game thriller in Manhattan. The win was the Tigers first in the "Little Apple" since 1993.


The stubborn monkey of the bunch is of the Cornhusker variety. Mizzou has lost 50 of the last 51 meetings with Nebraska dating back to 1982. Mizzou's lone win in the stretch came in 2003 when the Tigers stunned then-No. 8 NU in Lincoln, winning in a five-game thriller after losing games one and two.


Big 12's Second Half ... NOW!

The second meeting of Iowa State and Missouri on October 22, marked the beginning of the second-half of the Big 12 Conference season. Mizzou went 8-2 in the first half of `05, matching last year's start. In 2004, Mizzou went 6-4 in the second half.


The RPI in the RKPI ... Mizzou No. 5 in the Country in Index

The RichKern.com RKPI is a lot like the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) used in men's and women's basketball (among others) to measure all of the nation's teams based on their winning percentage, strength of schedule, and road- and quality-wins. The formula, among other things, is used by the NCAA Women's Volleyball committee in formulating the 64-team post-season NCAA Championship Tournament field. By on the way, volleyball's "Selection Sunday" is November 27, aired on ESPNews.


Missouri currently ranks seventh in the projected RPI. The highest in school history was the Tigers fifth-place ranking that went for the past previous five weeks.


Ailes Out-Digging The Conference

Through 17 matches of the Big 12 season, sophomore Tiger Tatum Ailes is leading the league with 4.23 digs per conference game. Ailes, who set Mizzou's season records in digs and digs per game her freshman year, has 233 digs in 54 conference games.


After having a successful career at Bellevue West High School in Bellevue, Nebraska, Tatum Ailes has brought that success to Mizzou. Last year as a freshman, she not only set school records for digs in a season with 432 and digs per game in a season with 4.19 but also set the mark for digs per game in a career. The latter record broke the old record by over 15 percent proving her dominance defensively last season. Ailes also had at least two aces three times in a game including her personal-best six aces against Kansas.


Not the Exception, The Rule ... Wilson Shows Deadly Efficiency

Junior Tiger Nicole Wilson has had a phenomenal start to 2005 campaign, as she has become very, very hard to stop. Through 23 matches, Wilson is hitting .424 for the season, ranking fifth in the nation in the category.


Wilson was named AVCA National & Big 12 Player of the Week (see more below), in part because of a 11-of-13, errorless performance against then-No. 17 Kansas State. Her .846 hitting in that match became a new Missouri school record.


What is mostly amazing is that Wilson has already had nine matches in which she has hit over .500. In 2004, she only had four such matches. She's also hit over .600 four times in '05, and over .700 twice.


The (Multi-)Talented Miss Vander Kooi

Junior Jessica Vander Kooi almost scored a quadruple-double at then-No. 24 Kansas State on October 26, when she scored 14 kills for the Tigers, on 21 digs, nine blocks, and dished eight assists. The Tigers came back from two games behind to win in five and win for the first time in Manhattan since 1993. What was even more incredible, was Vander Kooi clinched the Tiger victory, scoring on three-consecutive blocks to score the matches' final three points.


Whenever a team may feel they are starting to get an advantage over Missouri, here comes junior Jessica Vander Kooi. In several instances so far this season, Vander Kooi would come up with outstanding plays in the form of body-crushing slams for the kill, well-planned blocks, or point-saving digs, to demoralize the opponent. No. 9 Tennessee had kept the Tigers on their toes in the game one of the Sunday Tiger sweep, but whenever the Lady Vols saw an opening to game, it was quickly closed by Vander Kooi. In that game alone, Jess had six kills, ending up with 12 overall. In addition to the kill total, Vander Kooi had 11 digs to record her 30th career double-double. Against No. 9 Wisconsin, it was more of the same. More tip shots, more slams to the corner of the court, more block-shattering hits. In game one against the Badgers, Vander Kooi recorded five kills always in the most opportune times. For each match, but one, this season so far, Vander Kooi has at least recorded 10 kills.


At then-No. 15 Texas A&M, Vander Kooi recorded her third double-double over a top-15 team, clutching the Aggies with 18 kills and 17 digs, adding four blocks. At No. 1 Nebraska, Vander Kooi nearly burned down the NU Coliseum, scoring 23 kills and 22 digs for her second-career 20-20 match. In the Tigers' fast start of winning the first two games in Lincoln, Vander Kooi had 15 kills and 11 digs alone.


If You're Goin' To Play (well, anywhere) ... You've Got to Have A Good SETTER on Hand

Hunter Becomes Mizzou's All-Time Assists Leader ... Also joins 5,000-assist club


At the end of game three in the Tigers' 3-1 win over No. 15 Texas A&M in College Station, Missouri setter Lindsey Hunter had exactly 44 assists on the night, putting her at 4,958 in her career. At that point, Hunter became Mizzou's all-time assist leader, passing Heather Gerber (1997-2000).


Adding 47 assists in last the September 21 sweep of Colorado in Boulder, Hunter became the first Tiger in the 5,000-assist club, standing at 5,015.


Hunter's name will be prominent in the NCAA record book once the season is done, and one thing that Hunter is getting closer and closer to doing is cracking the top five all-time in NCAA history in assists per game. Here's a list of the current standings:

Career Assists Per Game - NCAA Division I all-time

1) Kelly Campbell, Colorado (96-99) ... 14.45 apg ... 431 games, 6,228 assists

2) Erika Selsor, UCLA (98-01) ... 14.01 apg ... 445 games, 6,234 assists

3) Roz Pelayo, Santa Clara (97-00) ... 14.01apg  ... 409 games, 5,732 assists

4) Emily Sallee, Ball State (97-00) ... 13.84 apg ... 463 games, 6,408 assists

5) Kele Eveland, Georgia Tech (00-03) ... 13.83 apg ... 483 games, 6,464 assists

6) Lindsey Hunter, Missouri (02-05) ... 13.69 apg ... 413 games, 5,654 assists


Takin' Care Of Business...

The Tigers lost game one at No. 15 Texas A&M 31-29 in mid-September, marking the first game-loss for Mizzou after seven-straight match sweeps. Winning 21 games straight, the Tigers swept through all seven non-conference opponents including then-No. 9 Tennessee and No. 9 Wisconsin. Mizzou's team-record for consecutive games won is 24, set in 2000. In this year's stretch was two sweeps over top-10 teams in Tennessee and Wisconsin, marking the first Tiger sweeps over top-10 teams.


It's Baby Time!

The Tiger volleyball family has a new member. Assistant coach Deng Yang delivered a 7 lb., 14 oz., baby boy on Wednesday (August 31st) at 5:15 p.m. Yang, and husband, Chen Feng, named the new Tiger, Logan Chen.


The Ol' Switcheroo

In their sixth season as coaches of the University of Missouri Women's Volleyball Team, Wayne and Susan Kreklow are swapping positions.  After five seasons working as Associate Head Coach of the Missouri Women's volleyball team, Wayne Kreklow will take on the title of Head Coach while his wife Susan will assume the position of Associate Head Coach to the team.  The Kreklow's have been very successful in their previous seasons at Missouri, turning the Missouri Women's Volleyball team into a force in the Big 12.  Before coming to Missouri, the Kreklows were co-head coaches at Columbia College for both the men's and women's teams.  


Since Missouri does not proclaim the Kreklows as co-head coaches, the NCAA will consider their win-loss records separately. Susan's win-loss record stands at 109-46 through five seasons. The .703 winning percentage is the best in school history for a coach's career. Prior to Missouri, Susan was head coach of Columbia College's women's team from 1990 to 1993 and co-head coach with Wayne from 1994 to 1999. As a women's coach, Susan accumulated a winning record of 565-132 (.811) over 15 seasons. Susan was also co-head coach with Wayne for Columbia College's men from 1997 to 1999, giving Susan an overall record of 618-156 (.798).


Wayne brings to Missouri a 267-29 (.902) women's head coaching record from his days with Susan at Columbia College which will stand as his NCAA-official coaches' record through six seasons. Added to a 53-24 (.688) record from coaching Columbia College's men's team, Wayne is 320-53 (.858) overall as a head coach. Prior to joining his wife at Columbia College in 1994 as co-head coach, Kreklow was an assistant coach at Missouri under Craig Sherman for five years.


The Kreklow Revolution

In their previous five seasons at Missouri, Wayne and Susan Kreklow have revolutionized Tiger Volleyball.  In their first season at Missouri in 2000, the Tigers jumped from ranking ninth in the Big 12 to second and Susan Kreklow was named the 2000 Big 12 Coach of the Year.  In 2002, the Tigers finished No. 20 in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll, the highest year ending ranking in Missouri history.  Through the Kreklows' leadership, Missouri has been to five consecutive NCAA tournaments, certainly a different look from the years of winning only four to five conference games a season. 


Super Seniors

For three seasons, they have dominated the Big 12 conference with their abilities to hit, assist, and kill and as Lisa Boyd, Shen Danru, and Lindsey Hunter enter their final season at Missouri, they show no signs of slowing down on or off the court.  Since coming to Missouri, Lisa Boyd has been a two-time Academic All-Big 12.  In 2004, she was the Big 12 leader in hitting percentage and took over the Missouri record for hitting percentage with an astounding .384.  Shen Danru has also left her mark on Missouri, being named, in each of her three seasons, to the Academic All-Big 12 and the All-Big 12 teams.  She is not only the school record holder in career kills per game and attacks but last season moved into second on the all-time list of service aces.  Not to be outdone by her senior counterparts, Lindsey Hunter has added her own touch to Missouri Volleyball as a two-time USA National A2 team member and a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection.  Hunter has led the Big 12 in \assists since joining the Tigers and in 2004, was named Academic All-Big 12.  Already in 2005, Hunter has been named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team.  No doubt the 2005 season holds many more accomplishments for the three super seniors as they prepare to say goodbye to the Tigers and as Missouri prepares to say goodbye to three of its volleyball legends.


Spanning the Globe

In 2001, Missouri added its first ever Eastern Hemisphere player with Shen Danru,  a freshman out of Shanghai Sports School who had been part of China's Junior National Team in 1999.  Since beginning her career at Missouri, Danru has set a new school record in career kills per game and attacks.  Following in Danru's footsteps is Na Yang, a sophomore from Shan Dong, China who played with Danru on the 1998 Chinese World Teenage Championship Team.  A promising player, Yang started in 12 games as a freshman and had double-doubles in kills and digs last year in four matches.  In 2005, Missouri adds two more China natives to its team in Lei Wang and Yi Zhang.  Wang played twice with the Chinese Junior National team and attended Shanghai Sports School.  Zhang was named MVP of the Chinese Youth Volleyball team in 2000 and in her first semester at Missouri in the winter of 2005 had a GPA over 3.7 and topped over 300 students to be at the top of her math section.  For 10 days in May 2005, the Missouri Volleyball team visited China, playing matches against Bei Hang University and Beijing University.


Yep, They're Smart Too

In 2004, seven members of the Missouri Volleyball Team were Academic All-Big 12 Honorees and in 2005, the team will welcome back six of those seven.  2004 was the first time senior Lindsey Hunter, juniors Jessica Vander Kooi, Abbie Booth and Nicole Wilson were named Academic All-Big 12 along with two and three-time honorees, seniors Lisa Boyd and Shen Danru.  Boyd was an honoree in 2003, Danru in 2002 and 2003.  In the winter semester of 2005, the Tigers set a new team record with a team term GPA of 3.29, beating out the previous semester's record of 3.27.



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