The Maneater

Missouri heads home for final nonconference tournament

The Tigers will host Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Ohio and Drake this weekend at Hearnes Center.

The Woman's volleyball team hosted its 2017 home and SEC opener on Wednesday against Kentucky. The ladies won the first set, but then lost the next three.

Missouri volleyball will wrap up its nonconference schedule with its first home matches of the season this weekend.

“I think it’s real exciting to be home for our fans and really be able to have that home court advantage that we haven’t had all season long,” senior Alyssa Munlyn said. “We are pretty familiar with what it’s like playing on the road, so it’s gonna be really nice to see what we do on our home court.”

The Tigers (7-2) are looking past their early season losses and are trying to capitalize on what they can learn from them as they head into first few home matches.

They will face off with Texas A&M–Corpus Christi and Ohio tomorrow with matches at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. They will round out their invitational with a match against Drake at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s going to be a solid field,” Kreklow said. “We will have to play well in order to be successful here, but it’ll be a good challenge for us. It’ll be interesting to see how we do at home finally.”

Coming off of a 2-1 weekend with wins over Princeton and Towson and a loss to Ohio State, Missouri does however need to gain more consistency on the court against tougher opponents.

“I think those two losses are so minimal compared to what we have coming up this season,” Munlyn said. “I think those losses were necessary in order just to learn. We are a really young inexperienced team and if we had it really easy this preseason who knows where we would be postseason or coming up in SEC play. We got seven wins on the road, which is really big.”

With such a young team, Kreklow is confident they have a lot of room for growth as the season progresses.

“We have a lot of young kids out there that really haven’t played much collegiate volleyball before this year and [mental game] is one thing we’ve got to get better at,” Kreklow said. “The good news is I think we can do a lot of things a lot better. I don’t think we are really hitting on all cylinders for sure right now.”

As the team finishes non-conference play and heads into the SEC season, Kreklow will be looking towards three-time All-SEC Munlyn to be a veteran leader for the young team.

“She’s our turning all-conference player,” Kreklow said. “She’s a senior. She’s been through it before. She’s doing a pretty good job of trying to set that tone. It’s not always easy because you don’t have a lot of support and help. You just don’t have numbers with a lone senior. It’s kind of hard, but hopefully we can get some other kids to step up and help out. It’s gonna take time and it’s kind of a work in progress right now.”

While being a team leader this season, Munlyn has already broken the Missouri record for career block assists.

“It’s pretty speechless actually,” Munlyn said. “It’s not one of those things you think about freshman year like, ‘Oh, I’m going to beat this record,’ it’s just kind of something that happened. I didn’t know that it happened. After the game you kind of look on social media, so it’s kind of cool and it’s just something that tells a lot about how much work we’ve been putting in.”

Kreklow is hopeful that, if the team learns from last weekend’s errors, they will continue their success.

“If we do what we are supposed to the results should take care of themselves,” Kreklow said. “First our main focus is just to make sure that we are executing and playing well. I think one of the things that young kids have a tendency to do is focus too much on the result and not enough on the process, and that’s where we get tripped up at times.”

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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