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Tigers unveil selves in Black and Gold scrimmage

Coach Wayne Kreklow said the annual scrimmage revealed his team's depth entering the season.

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Sophomore Taylor Simpson bumps the ball during the Black & Gold Scrimmage on Friday night at the Hearnes Center. Simpson transferred to MU this year after playing at the University of Nebraska last season.

Nick Ehrhard/Senior Staff Photographer

Aug. 17, 2012

After the Missouri volleyball team’s Black and Gold game Friday night, coach Wayne Kreklow looked satisfied. Nothing abnormal came of the 13th annual intra-squad scrimmage and the Tigers’ projected starters took all three sets (25-14, 25-23-15-12) in the team’s final public tune-up before the Tiger Invitational starts Aug. 24.

“My takeaway is that I felt we had a lot of people that did pretty well,” Kreklow said. “I don’t know if I would say anybody did outstanding, but what’s encouraging is I don’t think we had anybody that didn’t play well. Which is good. I think we’re pretty deep.”

The black and gold teams each shared players throughout the match and even during sets. Accordingly, chemistry between junior setter Molly Kreklow and her three-year roommate junior hitter Lisa Henning was off a click.

“I wasn’t too happy with my play tonight. I felt like I hit well, but, at the same time, didn’t hit very well,” Henning said. “There were some times I felt like I was a little bit off and me and Molly didn’t connect like we normally do, but hopefully that will get better this week.”

Molly Kreklow talked up her teammate.

“I know she always wants to do better and she’s a perfectionist and obviously wants to be perfect,” she said. “And tonight, maybe she wasn’t, but I think she did a really good job and just kept swinging and made some good plays when we needed them.”

Gold team sophomore blocker Whitney Little played opposite black team blocker Brittney Brimmage (’11) in Little’s first match as the number one option on the block. Brimmage, who now plays professionally overseas, works out with the Tigers in the offseason and filled in on the black team roster.

“It was a blast from the past. It was awesome. We miss Brittney so much and now that she’s practicing with us and just being able to play with her again, seeing her in that uniform was awesome, really has brought back all these great memories,” Little said. “I think it was a wonderful thing to play against her and it was so much better for everyone else because she’s so good and she has all this experience.”

After gold handedly took the first set, black led about half of the second set behind the supreme defensive play of sophomore defensive specialist Niki Collier. Student manager Derek Koetter was the lead offensive force for the black team and assistant coach and assistant coach Lindsey Hunter, a 2005 All-America first team selection, proved more than a capable setter.

But where Henning’s offense dropped off, her defense was on point. Late in both the second and third sets, a good first touch from the preseason all-Southeastern Conference hitter put gold back in system and the first team went on to win each set.

“They were a really strong team especially with Lindsey Hunter setting on that side and most of those players have played on our side before,” Molly Kreklow said. “It gives us a lot of depth and really pushes it a lot in practice and in games like these.”

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