The Missouri women’s volleyball team took its record to a perfect 12-0 Friday afternoon after sweeping the Samford Bulldogs (25-20, 25-15, 25-18) in their first game of the Mizzou Classic, maintaining the winningest record in the NCAA.
The Tigers started out uneasily in their first meeting with Samford, sliding to slim two point leads at three occasions throughout the first set, but ultimately were victorious at 25-20. Senior hitter Lisa Henning contributed five kills on seven attempts. Freshman blocker Emily Thater also had five kills, and hit an astonishing .833 for the set with two blocks.
“It wasn’t one of our sharper matches of the year,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “I felt like we were a little bit slow. We were having to play defense a lot more…. I didn’t think we were really sharp at the net with finding hitters and then moving in and being real decisive. It just seemed like we were drifting and we got caught moving quite a bit, so we’re just going to have to clean that up moving forward.”
Missouri managed to pick up the pace in the second set, adding 13 more kills, with four of the leading scorers hitting above .400. Senior setter Molly Kreklow, who was named Southeastern Conference player of the week for Sept. 9, anchored the offense with 19 out of the team’s 25 assists for the first two sets. Kreklow also currently leads the NCAA in assists per set. The Tigers finished the game with a 6-2 run, ending at 25-15.
In the third set, Missouri took the lead 2-1 and never looked back, climbing to a 25-18 victory while hitting .345 on the game and .392 for the match. Junior blocker Whitney Little, who leads the nation in hitting percentage, had six points in the third set alone, including four kills. She hit .636 for the match.
This is the Tigers’ best season start under Wayne Kreklow’s direction since also going 12-0 in 2005. The school record is 19-0, set in 1982. The team will look to preserve its undefeated record Friday night at Hearnes Center against Towson.