Nov. 26, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - After its inaugural season in the SEC, the Mizzou volleyball program made a large impression as it was one of just three SEC teams to land at least three players on the All-SEC Volleyball Teams, which was announced by the league office on Monday (Nov. 26). Junior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) becomes the first-ever Tiger to earn first team All-SEC honors while junior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) and sophomore middle blocker Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) landed on the All-SEC second team.
"Obviously this is great recognition for our program," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "I think for the SEC coaches to recognize the contributions that Lisa, Molly and Whitney made this season give those three a lot to be proud of. Week in and week out, those three gave a lot to our team and I think it shows with them earning post season honors. I am proud of them and happy to see that we got three athletes recognized by the league coaches."
Mizzou joined league champion Florida and SEC West champion Texas A&M as the only three teams in the SEC to have three separate players honored among the two All-SEC teams. Henning is obviously the highlight as she earned first team honors after leading the SEC in kills per set (4.64) and points per set (5.28). That accomplishment comes a year after she led the Big 12 in kills per set and points per set in the team's final year as a member of that conference in 2011. Henning's numbers were even better in league play this season as well as she averaged 4.75 kills per set and 5.34 points per set while hitting .252 despite getting 554 more balls than the next-best attacker on the team (Little, 385). Another reason for her first team honors was that Henning was not just a great attacker this season - she was a great all-round player. In fact, she posted 12 double-doubles (11 coming in SEC play) while averaging 2.66 digs per set, 0.73 blocks per set with 24 aces.
Henning finished the season with 506 total kills, good for the fourth-best total in program history in a single season while her 4.64 kills per set average is the second-best total in school history and a rally-scoring era program record. Coupled with her school-record 523 kills last season, Henning becomes the first-ever Tiger to post back-to-back 500-kill seasons and she holds two of the Tigers' four 500-kill seasons in the program's history. Henning was a unanimous All-Big 12 first team pick a season ago, giving her two-straight All-Conference first team selections.
"Obviously I am humbled by the honor," Henning said. "I couldn't have done any of this without my teammates, especially Molly (Kreklow). She is one of the best setters in the country and she makes my job easier because I always have a good ball to hit. For three of us to be honored by the SEC this season, I think it goes to show you that we can compete in this league at a very high level. We were disappointed in where we wound up this season, but I think we bring back a lot of pieces to have a very successful season next year."
Kreklow was the only setter to earn a spot on the All-SEC Preseason team and backed up that honor all season long as she was touted as one of the league's best setters as a second-team honoree. Kreklow, the niece of head coach Wayne Kreklow, finished the season 1,141 assists (10.47 per set) while going over the 300-dig mark for the second straight season. She also added 110 kills on .370 hitting while pitching in 67 blocks and 27 aces, the second-best total on the team. She set the Tigers to .261 hitting this season, which was the second-best clip in the SEC behind only league champion Florida. Kreklow also finished second in the SEC with 19 double-doubles this season, trailing only UT's Kelsey Robinson (a first team honoree) who finished with 21.
"This means a lot to me," Kreklow said of her honor. "After being honored in the preseason by the league's coaches I wanted to go out there and prove that I was one of the best setters in the league and I think I lived up to the expectations. We didn't end up quite where we wanted to, but to be recognized for these achievements still means a lot and gives me a lot of motivation heading into next season."
Kreklow was joined on the second team by Little, who left her mark on the Mizzou record books this season. After matching the Mizzou single season blocks record as a freshman last year, Little reset her won mark this season with 139 blocks in 2012. She led the SEC in blocking in all matches (1.30) and in SEC matches (1.40) while her 1.30 blocks per set average this season is the second-best mark in program history. She Also finished the season ranked second on the team with 251 kills on a team-best .367 hitting, the third-best mark in the SEC this season. Little also used a torrid pace in September to set the Mizzou career record for 10-block matches with five. Keep in mind, she needed just a span of nine matches to tally that career record for 10-block matches. Little also had a pair of block-kill double-doubles this season - before that, the last Tiger with a block-kill double-double was in 2007. This marks the second straight season that Little has been recognized in the postseason conference awards after earning a spot on the All-Big 12 Freshman Team last season.
"Heading into the season I had a lot of expectations for myself, especially on the block," Little said. "Last year as a freshman I tied the school record for blocks and this season I wanted it all by myself and I did that. But I think the biggest strides in my game came offensively and I am proud of that. All three of us that were honored today come back next season and I think we will be driven to get this team back to the NCAA Tournament."
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