The new rankings are out and Mizzou is still in 7th place, though this should come as no surprise, what with no team in the top 11 (much less the top 6) losing a match this past week. Mizzou was 6th in the RPI as of last week, but the win over Kentucky may push them up a spot (to be determined). Of the 52 ballots (out of 60) which appear on the AVCA site, Mizzou's voted range appears as so:
- 4th - 5 votes
- 5th - 5 votes
- 6th - 11 votes
- 7th - 17 votes
- 8th - 5 votes
- 9th - 4 votes
- 10th - 2 votes
- 11th - 2 votes
- 14th - 1 vote
I think the range of 4th to 9th is pretty fair. I think the last five folks may need their head checked. Anyway, just about four weeks ago, I wrote the following:
In the meantime, I believe this team will continue to slowly make their way up the polls, but respect will be earned over time because few other teams on this opposing schedule are marquee match-ups. After the match against APSU, the team will travel down to Knoxville for a Friday night match against Tennessee (8-9. 0-3). The week will finish back at home against Alabama (13-4, 1-2). The home stand continues with Georgia (13-3, 3-1) on Friday the 18th, with the match against #2 Florida on Sunday the 20th. By the numbers, this team should go 4-1 through that string. To be honest, anything less would be disappointing. The Tigers made a nice jump into the polls this week. Go 4-1 in the next two weeks and that should continue.
Sorry for selling you short, ladies. :-)
So what all has gone down in the past four weeks? Well, a lot, but one thing has remained the same. The count of losses for the Mizzou Tiger Volleyball team has remained at zero. After a weekend sweep of a crappy Ole Miss and a ranked Kentucky, the Tigers moved to 27-0. Since dropping their first set on the road to LSU a couple of weeks ago, they have rattled off 12 straight set as part of the four wins. What do we have left? What can we expect? Let's take a look.
Nationally, the Tigers continue to dominate the rankings in a number of offensive categories. They are #1 in the nation in assists per set at 14.51. Justifiably, Molly Kreklow deserves a lot of the credit, as she is second in the nation in assists, but it also shows how well the Tigers can scramble and how they have come to rely upon Sarah Meister to provide service in some of those times. The Tigers are also #1 in the nation in hitting percentage, as they have maintained their scorching start and are still over 36% (.364). Whitney Little has remained steady, as she is #2 in the nation with a .493 average. But she is joined by Carly Kan who has improved to .369 (good enough for top-50 in the nation and #6 in the SEC), Lisa Henning at .333 (10th in the SEC), and Emily Wilson at .325 (13th in the SEC). Henning is also 2nd in the SEC (and top-25) in both point per set and kills per set, where the Tigers are 2nd in the nation at 15.34. Finally, the Tigers are tops in the SEC (and 9th in the country) in service aces, with Kreklow sitting 2nd in the conference.
So what's left? Well, it is not a very friendly schedule, that's for sure. Of the seven remaining matches, the Tigers only have two left at home.
They set out on the road for their next four, starting with this coming weekend in Alabama. Friday night finds them in Auburn to take on the 15-8/6-7 Tigers. Mizzou has faced them already this season, taking them down in straights a month ago. They will finish the weekend on Sunday against the Tide, who currently sit at 18-6/6-4. The Tide are one of a few teams who have taken a set from the Tigers, who won 3-1 a few weeks ago. The following weekend features the biggest match of the season, as the Tigers travel down to Florida. The #3 Gators are 22-2/11-1 and certainly will want to avenge their 3-1 loss to the Tigers. On Sunday, Mizzou will head to South Carolina, who they destroyed in three to start the SEC regular season. After the home match against the Bulldogs (first of the season), the Tigers split the weekend and head to the road on Sunday the 24th) for a return match against the #20 Kentucky Wildcats, who they just took down in straights. The home match against Arkansas right before Thanksgiving finishes the season, who the Tigers already defeated 3-1.
For what it is worth, the Tigers take on most of the best teams in the SEC during this stretch, as Florida, Kentucky and Alabama currently make up teams 2-3-4 in the standings. Auburn and Arkansas check in at 6-7 (out of 13, as Vandy is evidently too smart for Volleyball), with USC in 9th and MSU in 11th. This time, I will say I have learned my lesson since my previous schedule/record prediction and I will simply say to keep it going, ladies ... keep it going. #STP