Since Coach Kreklow is out for the day, I’ll have my usual Monday Q&A with him hopefully posted on Wednesday.
We’re diving headfirst into conference play (despite Wednesday’s match against UMKC), and so far, Mizzou has fared pretty well at 8-4 on the season. What the Tigers have shown so far is that they have good depth, which could certainly come in handy later in Big 12 play. I’m sure Kreklow would say there are numerous areas in which his team needs to improve, but this team has also played every match at a competitive level. It just seems like if you’re able to do that and get a couple of bounces to go your way, your team is going to end up being successful on the year.
The trio of Julianna Klein (136 kills), Rosa Medrano (112 kills), and Paola Ampudia (87 kills) provide great scoring potential from the outside hitter position. Catie Wilson has been great at the net, tallying 98 kills with a .335 hitting percentage. With Amanda Hantouli, Wendy Wang, and Brittney Brimmage all available to play middle blocker as well, Mizzou has excellent depth there as well.
Caitlyn Vann has been her usual steady self at libero while Priscilla Armendariz and Annie Lopez have both filled in nicely as defensive specialists. So there’s more depth.
And Mizzou even has depth at setter, where Lei Wang-Francisco—who has done a great job giving her teammates good sets this year—is backed up by freshman Kate Harris, who has seen some time on the floor already this year.
Mizzou may not have that one “superstar” player, but they have exactly what you need in volleyball—a talented group of players more than six or seven deep who work well together. It’s not a stretch to think this team could knock off a couple of the Big 12’s top teams at some point this year. I don’t mean to put any added pressure on the team, but after seeing this team when they’re hitting on all cylinders…it could definitely happen.
The Big 12 is one of volleyball’s toughest conferences, and there won’t be a whole lot—if any—matches this year that’ll be cakewalks for Mizzou. But from where the team stands right now, I’d have to guess that they’ll be competitive in every single match they play this year—and good things happen when you’re competitive.