Nov. 28, 2011
First Round Info: Mizzou (21-12, 7-9 Big 12) vs. Florida (24-5, 17-3 SEC)
Date: Dec. 2
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
Arena: McLeod Center
Live Stats: Click Here
Live Stream: Mizzou Network
Twitter Updates: @MU_Volleyball
Game Notes: Media Notes
What's Inside? - A Quick Look at the Notes
Mizzou will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against No. 17 Florida at 5 p.m. Friday.
Mizzou is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 10th in 12 seasons.
Mizzou owns an 8-9 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament after advancing to the Sweet 16 last year.
Mizzou and UF have three common opponents in 2011. Mizzou is 1-4 vs. those three while Florida is 3-1.
Four Tigers landed on Big 12 postseason teams, two on the All-Big 12 team and two on the Freshman Team.
The Tigers will open NCAA Tournament play in Cedar Falls for the second consecutive season.
Four Tigers enter this year's NCAA Tournament with experience in the Big Dance.
The Tigers - with 82-percent underclassmen - enter the NCAA Tournament as the youngest team in the field.
Lisa Henning is the first Tiger ever to lead the Big 12 in kills per set (4.65) and points per set (5.16) in a season.
Henning was a unanimous selection to this year's All-Big 12 First Team.
Henning holds the Big 12's top two kill performances in league play and the top four point totals.
Henning is just the third Tiger to eclipse 500 kills in a season and sits just 15 shy of the school record (522).
Setter Molly Kreklow has recorded a double-double in five of her last seven matches.
Kreklow now ranks third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.74 and leads the league in total assists at 1,321.
Kreklow set the MU single-season dig record by a setter in the rally scoring era with 290 in the regular season.
Kreklow was named to the All-Big 12 Honorable Mention team for the second straight year.
Freshman Whitney Little has set the Mizzou freshman season record with 133 blocks in her first year as Tiger.
Little is just five blocks shy of the single season record at MU (138) and was an All-Big 12 Freshman Team pick.
Freshman Emily Wilson is the first Tiger freshman with more 300 kills (316) since 2006.
Wilson was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team earlier this week.
The Mizzou volleyball team has earned its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and its 10th in the last 12 seasons as it will open tournament action with No. 17 Florida on Friday at 5 p.m. in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It marks the second-straight season that Mizzou will open tournament action in Cedar Falls as it pulled the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history, defeating fifth-seeded Northern Iowa in the first round last season.
NCAA Tournament History
2011 marks the 10th NCAA Tournament appearance for the Mizzou volleyball program, all 10 of which have come in the 12 years that Wayne and Susan Kreklow have been at the helm of the program. In all, Mizzou is 8-9 in its nine previous NCAA Tournament appearances and has qualified for an Elite Eight and a Sweet 16 last season.
Tigers With NCAA Tournament Experience
Although Mizzou enters the Tournament as the youngest team in the field, four Tigers have experience in the NCAA Tournament and all four played key roles on last year's Sweet 16 team. Lisa Henning posted 36 kills on .267 hitting in last year's tournament, including 18 on a career-best .556 hitting against Northwestern in the second round. Brittney Brimmage posted 26 kills on .400 hitting in last year's tournament while adding a team-best 14 blocks. Setter Molly Kreklow had a great NCAA Tournament with 152 total assists (11.69 per set) while pitching in seven kills, three aces, 32 digs and three blocks. Libero Priscilla Armendariz was a defensive specialist on last year's Sweet 16 team and pulled in 29 digs over the three matches.
Tigers Honored by Big 12
The Big 12 announced its Preseason All-Big 12 selection on Monday (Nov. 28) and four Tigers found their way onto the All-Conference teams. Sophomore outside hitter Lisa Henning was a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection and classmate Molly Kreklow was named All-Big 12 honorable mention. Both Whitney Little and Emily Wilson landed on the All-Big 12 Freshman Team as well.
Brimmage Named All-Region by COBRA Magazine
Senior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage also earned a postseason award as she was named to the COBRA Magazine All-Midsouth Region team, marking the second straight season that she has appeared on that list. Brimmage led Mizzou with a .358 attack percentage and 292 kills, a single-season career-best. She also pitched in 97 blocks on the season. Her .358 attack percentage is good for third in the Big 12 this season as well.
Academic All-Big 12
Mizzou was also honored by the Big 12 for its achievement in the classroom as a pair of Tigers were named to the Academic All-Big 12 team as both Priscilla Armendariz and Molly Kreklow earned a spot on the team. For Armendariz, it is her third time making the team while it is the first career honor for Kreklow. To qualify, student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of their team's scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence.
Heading into the NCAA Tournament, Mizzou will have a unique bragging point as nine of its 11 student-athletes are underclassmen, making Mizzou the youngest team in the entire 64-team tournament. In fact, 82-percent of the Tigers' roster is comprised of underclassmen. The next-best mark is Penn State at 76-percent. Mizzou starts two sophomores and three freshmen and rotates a pair of freshmen in the back row as well.
In a Familiar Place
As Mizzou prepares for its first-round matchup with Florida, they will likely be experiencing a bit of Deja Vu. In fact, this marks the second straight season and third time since 2002 that Mizzou will open the NCAA Tournament at Northern Iowa. That seems to be a good omen for the Tigers, who defeated Northern Iowa in the biggest first-round upset in NCAA Tournament history and Northwestern in Cedar Falls last year e-route to the Sweet 16.
Mizzou, Florida Share Common Foes
Heading into the first round matchup, the Tigers and Gators own three common opponents this season in Auburn, Texas and Iowa State. Florida is 3-1 in four matches against those two teams with two wins over Auburn and one over Texas. Its' only loss came in five sets to Iowa State. Mizzou is 1-4 in five matches with those teams with its only win coming over Auburn at the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Bash. Mizzou hit a season-best .452 in that match.
Mizzou has eclipsed the 20-win mark in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2004 and 2005. Last year, Mizzou won 22 matches en-route to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and this year the Tigers have 21 wins as they enter NCAA Tournament action. Also, Mizzou was the first Big 12 team to reach 20 wins.
Kreklow Nets Win No. 400
Mizzou head coach Wayne Kreklow earned his 400th victory as a head coach in the Tigers' win over Baylor on Nov. 5. He becomes the third active coach in the Big 12 to surpass 400 career wins. Of his 401 wins, 134 have come during his time as head coach at Mizzou. He was won nearly 63-percent of his matches at Mizzou.
Kreklows Win No. 750
Mizzou's win at Kansas on Nov. 2 marked the 750th career win for Wayne and Susan Kreklow as a pair. The win total dates back to their time as co-head coaches of the men's and women's teams at Columbia College. Of the now 752 wins, 243 of those have come during the Kreklow's 11-plus seasons at Mizzou.
With 21 wins this season, Mizzou has broken the 20-win plateau for the seventh time since 2000. In fact, before Wayne and Susan Kreklow took over the program in 2000, Mizzou eclipsed the 20-win mark just seven times from 1974-1999 and had not done so since 1983.
Of Mizzou's 21 wins this season, 11 have come against teams that won at least 20 matches last season and four of those 11 teams won more than 26 matches in 2010.
Mizzou is 7-2 in neutral site matches this season heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Mizzou has knocked off a pair of teams - Texas A&M and Oklahoma - that rank among the RPI top 30 this season. A&M checks in at 17 this week while Oklahoma sits at 27.
Mizzou has just one loss to teams ranked outside the RPI top 50 this season and that was to UC-Davis (No. 95).
Mizzou has six wins against RPI top 50 teams and 10 vs. the top 100. Mizzou had just one RPI top 50 win last year and that came on the road against Iowa State.
Mizzou sits sixth in the Big 12, which currently holds the nation's top average RPI rank this season.
Mizzou played in just three five-set matches all last season and has played in six already in 2011. In fact, Mizzou had played in just four five-set matches in 2009 and 2010 combined (65 matches) and has eclipsed that mark this season alone (33 matches).
Tigers Second in Service Aces Per Set
Following Saturday's win at Texas Tech, the Tigers sit at second in the Big 12 Conference with 1.31 aces per set this season. In fact, their 161 aces this season are the most in the league as well. In Big 12 matches, Mizzou is third overall, averaging 1.16 service aces per set as well.
Henning First Tiger to Lead Big 12 in Kills Per Set, Points Per Set
As mentioned earlier, sophomore Lisa Henning was a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 First Team and it is easy to see why when you look at the league stats. In fact, Henning led the Big 12 in kills per set (4.65) and points per set (5.16) in league play, becoming the first Tiger to ever accomplish such a feat. She also holds the Big 12's top four point performances in league play and the top two kills performances. She gives Mizzou a pair of unanimous All-Big 12 picks in the last two years after Paola Ampudia earned a spot on last year's team.
Henning Breaks 500 Kills, Could Break School Record
Staying on the topic of Lisa Henning, the Tiger sophomore tallied 11 kills in the Tigers' regular season finale at Texas Tech as she became just the third Tiger to post more than 500 kills in a single season as she now has 507. That ranks her third all-time and just 15 back of matching the school record for kills in a single season (Na Yang, 522). She is just eight back of second-place (Yvette Buhlig, 515). Henning will also likely move into second place in attacks in a single season on Friday as she has 1,315 on the season, just 21 back of Yang. She will also likely move into second place in points in a single season as she sits just four back of second place with 572 this season.
Kreklow Keeps Digging
Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow broke the Mizzou single season record for digs by a setter in the rally scoring era with her 290 this season. Lei Wang-Francisco held the previous mark with 284 in 2007. The all-time record for digs by a setter in a single season is 334 by Gwen Mullens in 1994, but that was pre-rally scoring.
Sophomore setter Molly Kreklow has recorded a double-double in five of her last seven matches and 13 of her last 19. She leads the team with 14 double-doubles this season. Kreklow is currently third in the Big 12 in assists per set at 10.74 and leads the Big 12 in total assists at 1,321.
Wilson Nets 300 Kills
Freshman outside hitter Emily Wilson has 316 kills on the season and is the first Tiger freshman since 2006 to break the 300-kill mark in a single season. Her 316 kills this season are the fourth most ever by a Tiger freshman and the second-best total in the rally scoring era. Yvette Buhlig holds the freshman record with 361 back in 1988 while Weiwen Wang (343, 2007) is the only freshman to rank ahead of Wilson during the rally scoring era. She was an All-Big 12 Freshman Team selection this season.
Milestones Galore for Pip
Senior libero Priscilla Armendariz collected 12 digs in the Tigers' sweep of Texas Tech on Saturday, giving her 481 this season. With that, she is just the fifth Tiger to eclipse 400 digs in a single season. With 19 more, she will become the third Tiger to break 500 in a season. In fact, Armendariz is climbing up the record books in several categories at Mizzou. Below is a look.
She is fifth on the MU career digs list with 1,268.
She has played in 465 career sets at MU, which ranks her second overall, just behind Julianna Klein (473).
She played in her 129th career match on Saturday, which is second place in Mizzou history. She will tie Julianna Klein for the all-time lead should she play Friday and should the Tigers advance, she will own that record.
Florida comes into Friday's match as the nation's No. 17 team in the AVCA Coaches' Poll and sits at 24-5 and 17-3 in SEC play. Florida finished third in the league as Tennessee claimed the league crown with a 19-1 overall mark.
The Gators boast one of the best offensive attacks in the nation as they are hitting .321 on the season while limiting opponents to just a .160 clip. The key to Florida's attack is balance as five players average at least 2.00 kills per set, led by Kristy Jaeckel, who averages 3.37 on .287 hitting. In fact, the Gators' top seven hitters all hit .238 or better while six of those seven are better than .287.
Florida also serves the ball very tough, averaging 1.64 service aces per set.
Mizzou and Florida have never met, but Friday's matchup should mark the first of many against the Gators as Mizzou is set to join the Southeastern Conference next season.
Whit Has Freshman Record; Shot at Season Record
Freshman Whitney Little currently has 133 blocks on the season, a Mizzou single season freshman record and a mark that ranks third all-time. She has a very realistic shot at the single season record at Mizzou (Christ Myers, 138). She needs just five to match that mark and she sits just three back of second place (Myers, 136). She was an All-Big 12 Freshman Team selection this season.
Meister Playing Well Lately
Freshman Sarah Meister has been doing a nice job in the Tiger back row lately. She has tallied double-digit dig totals in three of the Tigers' last five matches, including 12 against both Iowa State and Texas. She had seven in the Tigers' sweep of Texas Tech on Saturday and is averaging 2.72 digs per set over her last five matches.
O'Brien Has Career Night at Tech
Tiger freshman Katie O'Brien matched a career-best with 11 kills in the Tigers' sweep of Texas Tech on Saturday and has been rather impressive over her last four matches. In fact, the Tiger freshman is averaging 2.29 kills per set over her last four matches, which is second in that span to only Lisa Henning. She also has 16 digs, four blocks and three aces in that span.
Big Crowds at Home
Mizzou finished the regular season ranked 13th in average home attendance at 2,298 fans per match. That mark also ranked the Tigers second in the Big 12 behind only league champion Texas. In all, 25,279 fans attended Tiger home matches, helping the Tigers to a 10-3 mark inside the Hearnes Center this season.
Young, but Talented
Despite bringing back four players that started for Mizzou last season, the Tigers will be one of the youngest teams nationally. In fact, nearly 85-percent of the Tigers' roster in 2011 are underclassmen as 11 of the 13 players are freshmen or sophomores. That makes Mizzou the youngest team in the Big 12 and only Texas Tech (16 underclassmen) has more freshmen or sophomores on their roster. However, Mizzou's last two recruiting classes have ranked in the top 25 nationally, including this year's freshman class, which checked in at No. 22 nationally. The 2010 class ranked 14th.
The Tigers just completed the most successful decade in program history last year. In fact, Mizzou has averaged 22 wins per season since 2000 and is one of just 22 teams nationally to qualify for nine NCAA Tournaments since 2000. The Tigers were on that average last year with 22 wins and a Sweet 16 berth.
Hunter Joins Coaching Staff
There are few Mizzou athletes that are accomplished as Lindsey Hunter and she will look to parlay her success as a player into success as a coach as she joins the Mizzou coaching staff in 2011. Hunter takes the place of former assistant Chris Muscat, who took the head coaching job at Loyola (Chicago) last year. Hunter is Mizzou's all-time leader in assists, assists per set, single season assists and set for the Tigers in the most successful four-year period in program history. She will serve as the primary recruiting coordinator for the Tigers. She spent last season as the color analyst for the Tiger volleyball matches while working towards her master's degree as a graduate assistant with Mizzou's Total Person Program.
Kreklow Sets With USA Junior National Team
For the second consecutive summer, sophomore setter Molly Kreklow set with the USA Volleyball Junior National Team. She has spent plenty of time with USA Volleyball in her career as she was also with the Youth National Team for two seasons. She has now spent four years with USA Volleyball, gaining plenty of high-level experience along the way.
Brimmage Plays With USA Volleyball As Well
Kreklow wasn't the only Tiger to play with USA Volleyball over the summer as Brittney Brimmage led the USA Volleyball A2 Blue Team to a USA Volleyball Women's Open Division Championship. She helped her team go 4-0 (winning 12 of 15 sets) during pool play. The team was then bumped to the loser's bracket and came all the way back to win the tournament. She was one of the team's top middle hitters throughout the tournament.
Henning Tours China
Sophomore Lisa Henning had an experience of a lifetime over the summer as she played volleyball in China, touring and playing some of the nation's top professional teams. Henning and her team compiled a 2-4 record in six matches in China, playing against very disciplined, professional competition. She also visited places like the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. The key part for Henning during her time in China was learning to play all six rotations, which helped with her transition into that role this season.
Recruiting Class Earns National Honors
For the second straight season, the Mizzou volleyball program has brought in a nationally-ranked recruiting class as this year's checks in at No. 22 nationally. The 2011 class comes on the heels of the Tigers' No. 14-ranked class in 2010. Three of the signees - Jade Hayes, Whitney Little and Emily Wilson - were named to the Volleyball Magazine NFINITY Fab 50. With a pair of top 25 classes in consecutive seasons, look for those nine players to be the nucleus of the Mizzou volleyball program in the years to come.
On this year's Mizzou roster, fans may notice something that they haven't seen under Wayne and Susan Kreklow. Two players on this year's roster - Niki Collier and Sarah Meister - hail from California, marking the first California natives that the Kreklows have coached at Mizzou. Both have seen significant court time this year and are am important part of the Tiger freshman class that ranked No. 22 nationally.
Hayes Brings Plenty of Accolades
Freshman utility player Jade Hayes is one of the headliners of Mizzou's 2011 freshman class and she brings with her the accolades to back it up. She is a two-time Gatorade Missouri State Player of the Year and was the AVCA National Player of the Year as a junior in 2009. She led Ozark High School to a state title in 2009 and a third-place finish in 2010. She was also named MVP of the AVCA/Under Armour High School All-America match last year as well and was named to the Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 and PrepVolleyball.com's Defensive Dandy list.
Hayes projects as a libero long term at the collegiate level, but this season she will likely have a utility role due to her versatility, although she will likely battle for the libero job with Priscilla Armendariz. Listed a 6-0, she can hit, serve and defend and will also likely serve as the team's backup setter.
Little Named Forth Worth Player of the Year
Incoming freshman Whitney Little has also gained her fair share of accolades as she comes into Mizzou this season. The 6-3 middle blocker was a PrepVolleyball.com Senior Ace, a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection and a member of the AVCA High School All-America Watch List, but her greatest honor came from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which named her as the Super Team Player of the Year.
Wilson Continues Nebraska Pipeline
It has been no secret that Mizzou, under the direction of Wayne and Susan Kreklow, has been able to recruit the state of Nebraska with a lot of success. Names like All-Americans Lindsey Hunter, Nicole Wilson and former Big 12 Libero of the Year Tatum Ailes are just a few of the successful Nebraska natives to come through Mizzou in the last 11 seasons. And the tradition with continue this season as Emily Wilson will make her debut with Mizzou. She is the sister of former Tiger middle hitter Catie Wilson and was voted MVP of the All-Nebraska State Team twice in her high school career. The 6-2 outside hitter should figure into the mix right away for the Tigers.
Blue Springs Connection
Looking at the Tiger roster, there is a connection between several players coming from the Kansas City area as four players - Priscilla Armendariz, Lisa Henning and Ashton Bodenstab - hail from Blue Springs, Mo. In fact, Armendariz and Henning actually played for rival high schools as well.
A Competitive Schedule
With the departure of Colorado and Nebraska from the Big 12 Conference, a new-look schedule will take hold in the Big 12 this season. Instead of playing 20 league matches, each team will now play 16, playing each team twice. The loss of four matches has led to an additional non-conference tournament for the Tigers this season, giving the Tigers a chance to test themselves against some of the top non-conference competition in the nation. In fact, Mizzou will play 11 of its 33 matches against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season.
`Bridging' A Local Connection
The Mizzou volleyball family has always played a very active role in the City of Columbia community, and that trend is continuing at Rock Bridge High School, one of two local Columbia high schools. There is a growing connection between the two schools that has moved beyond coincidence. Former Tiger and 2007 Big 12 Libero of the Year Tatum Ailes is now the head coach as Rock Bridge and her assistant coach is none other than former Mizzou middle hitter Catie Wilson, who graduated last season. Keep in mind that Wilson's sister - Emily Wilson - is a freshman on this year's Mizzou roster as well.
But the connections don't stop there. Current Tiger freshman Niki Collier led Rock Bridge to its first district title in 25 years in 2010 before eventually signing with the Tigers for the upcoming season. Not only that, but Wayne and Susan Kreklow's daughter Allie is a setter for the Rock Bridge volleyball team. The connection shows how connected the Tiger program has been with the community for the 11 years that Wayne and Susan Kreklow have been at Mizzou.
Volleyball on the Air
If you can't be at the Tigers' matches this season, you can still catch all of the action at MUTigers.com as all of the matches will be streamed with audio and home matches will have video and audio. Jim Grundy will be in his first year as the team's play-by-play announcer. All broadcasts can be accessed at MUTigers.tv.
Should Mizzou defeat Florida on Friday, it will play the winner of the Northern Iowa/Niagara match at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 3) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.