Molly Kreklow was arguably the best setter in the country all season and earned First Team All-America honors Wednesday.
Dec. 18, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Four Mizzou volleyball student-athletes were named American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Americans on Wednesday (Dec. 18) when the teams were announced by the AVCA. The four All-Americans are the most that Mizzou has ever had in one season. Earning All-America honors are senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.), senior right side Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.), freshman outside hitter Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) and junior middle blocker Whitney Little (Keller, Texas). Kreklow and Henning were named to the AVCA All-America First Team while Kan and Little were named to the honorable mention team. Kreklow and Henning become just the second third first team All-Americans in program history, joining current assistant coach Lindsey Hunter, who did so in 2005.
"This is obviously huge for our program and I am really happy for our kids because they have put so much into this program," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "Any time you can get this many players on the All-America team, it usually means that you had a pretty special season and we did that this year. All of the kids committed themselves to a goal heading into the season and they sacrificed a lot to get there. We lifted a trophy and put together a year that people will talk about for a long time and that is a testament to our kids."
Molly Kreklow, widely regarded as one of the top setters in the nation, was outstanding all season long. After not quite having the statistics to land on the All-America teams in the last three seasons, she had them in 2013 as she earned first-team honors. She led the nation in assists per set at 12.65 and guided a Tiger offense that finished the regular season ranked first nationally in hitting, kills and assists. She guided Mizzou to better than .300 hitting in 30 of 36 matches in 2013 as well. She was also named SEC Player of the Year and 2013 marks the first time she has been named an AVCA All-American. She was one of two setters selected to the AVCA First Team, joining Penn State's Micah Hancock.
"This means a lot to me," Kreklow said. "I have been through a lot and put in so much during my four years here at Mizzou and to earn this award in my senior season is special. Looking back at everything that we accomplished this season, it was the best senior year I could have asked for. Obviously, when a setter earns an award like this, it says a lot about the people around them and that is exactly the case for me. I had great teammates all year and I am so happy that so many of them also received recognition today."
All-America honors are nothing new for Henning who is now the first Tiger to land on one of the three AVCA All-America teams in three consecutive seasons. After earning third-team distinction in each of the last two seasons, Henning earned a spot on the AVCA All-America First Team this season. Henning led the team with 499 kills and she ranked 20th nationally with her 4.89 points per set average. Henning came into the season as a career .252 hitter, a very good clip for an outside hitter, but in 2013 she hit a career-best .330 while averaging 4.26 kills per set, 0.74 blocks per set and 2.22 digs per set while serving 26 aces. She led Mizzou with 572.0 total points. She is one of just four three-time All-Americans to land on this year's first team.
"This is amazing and it is such a great honor to see my name up there with so many great players on the first team," Henning said. "I am also so happy for Molly. This is my third year on the All-America teams but her first and after playing with her for four years, she has deserved this recognition multiple times. She is the best setter in the country. I wouldn't be getting All-America honors without our amazing coaching staff and support group either. My last four years here have been like being around a second family and I couldn't have done any of this without all the great people that have come into my life. I am so grateful."
Kan, the SEC Freshman of the Year, a unanimous choice to AVCA All-Southeast Region Team and the region's freshman of the year, was named to the honorable mention All-America team on Wednesday. Kan was the only player in SEC play to average better than 3.00 kills per set and 3.00 digs per set. At just 5-9, Kan hit .364 on the season which ranked 49th nationally and seventh in school history. It was also the second-best mark in program history among outside hitters in a single season and the top mark in the rally scoring era. One of the Tigers' two primary passers, Kan was sensational in serve receive as well, converting 96-percent of her 741 chances. Additionally, nearly 48-percent of her first-ball passes were transitioned into kills as she kept Mizzou in system all season.
"This season exceeded my expectations in so many ways," Kan said. "Coming in as a freshman, you just hope to get playing time and contribute, so to have this many awards and honors is really unexpected. We had such great leadership from our upperclassmen that it was easy for me to come in here and just play. I am so happy I was able to play with Molly and Lisa as well this season. Those two are so deserving of all the awards. I am so happy I chose to play at Mizzou and couldn't have asked for a better freshman season."
Little was dynamic all season long and follows up her AVCA All-Southeast Region honors with honorable mention All-America distinction. The All-America nod is the first in Little's career after earning a pair of All-SEC honors. She finished the regular season ranked second nationally in hitting and currently ranks third following NCAA Tournament matches with her .463 attack clip. She also had a national-low 36 attack errors among qualified hitters in the NCAA (3.33 attacks per set, 100 sets played). Little also finished the season ranked third in the SEC with 1.23 blocks per set. Little tied her own school record with 139 blocks this season as she has tied or rest Mizzou's single season blocks record in each of her first three seasons as a Tiger. She is the only Tiger to ever post 100 blocks in three consecutive seasons in the rally scoring era. Little also tallied a school record 42 solo blocks this season.
"I am thrilled and it really does mean a lot," Little said. "Last year, I got a lot better in a lot of areas but I knew I still had a lot of work to do if I wanted to help the team get to where we wanted to go. Every single person on our team put in a lot of work and dedicated themselves to winning an SEC Championship and we did that this season. I think all of these awards don't come without that hard work and now that we all know what it takes to accomplish our goals, I think we are even hungrier to come back next year and continue our successful run."
For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouVB.
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