It's that time of year again! pic.twitter.com/UILeIQVVXK— Chris Turner (@ChrisLTurner) August 20, 2014
When you see the giant, inflatable volleyball out around campus, you know there's home match!
It's...beautiful pic.twitter.com/h1dXcMw1hb— Chris Turner (@ChrisLTurner) August 20, 2014
sniff, No I'm not crying shut up you're crying
This is a fairly decent crowd of about 800-plus at the scrimmage, but I'm sure the youth clinic right beforehand probably padded that number a little.
Your 2013 SEC Champions pic.twitter.com/jg3hr3gVoh— Chris Turner (@ChrisLTurner) August 20, 2014
LOOK AT THEM AND TREMBLE, SEC FOES. WE HAVE CARLY.
Mizzou Volleyball will still have something to prove in 2014, to try and hang in with the top SEC teams to prove last year wasn't a fluke.
1. Both Setters looked really good, which makes the position battle more interesting to watch going into next week
Of course, with the departure of long-time Setter Molly Kreklow, Mizzou would have to replace the 1,400-plus Assists spread out by Kreklow in her Senior year. Now, Coach Wayne Kreklow is left with two viable options to fill that role in 2014: Sophomore Loxley Keala, who played at Defensive Specialist last year, or Freshman Ali Kreklow, the recruit from down the road at Rock Bridge High School. While Keala doesn't have any D1 experience at Setter, it was her position during high school and club volleyball.
At Wednesday's scrimmage, both stated their case for the starting Setter position this fall, with Keala dishing out 24 total assists, and Kreklow spreading out 17 of her own through the match. Keala was a big reason the Black team hit .357 during the scrimmage, as she got the ball to Mizzou's two biggest offensive weapons in Carly Kan and Whitney Little. Right now, I would give the advantage to Keala with her experience at from last year, and she should keep the MU offense near the top of the SEC in 2014. As for Kreklow, she'll see time this year, but expect number similar to her cousin Molly in 2015.
2. Carly Kan and Whitney Little are both incredibly good and you should be thankful you are not on the other side of the net from them
You can probably go ahead and pencil in Carly Kan to not experience a Sophomore slump in 2014.
The Sophomore from Honolulu, Hawaii lead the attack for the Black squad with 11 kills on .391 hitting off of 23 total attacks during last night's scrimmage. She didn't look out of sync the entire match and was playing very well on both sides of the ball. Senior Whitney Little paced the offense at the net with 6 kills on .545 hitting of of 11 attacks, both her and Kan were a big reason the Black team hit .300-plus in both sets of the scrimmage. Expect both All-SEC and All-America picks to lead the Tigers offense in a big way in 2014.
3. Freshmen look like they could make a significant impact on both sides of the ball
I was curious before the scrimmage started to see how the four incoming freshmen would before in the first taste of D1 volleyball before the season begins next week, and afterward, I'm pretty confident each will see some court time this fall.
The leading candidate for significant playing time is Ali Kreklow, Coach Kreklow's daughter, but she will have earned her starting spot if she can beat Loxley Keala out for the Setter spot. Her play is very reminiscent of her cousin, Molly, who was efficient is spreading Assists and dictating the Missouri offense to success in 2013.
Up next are Outside Hitters Sydney Deeken and Kasey Reuter, who combined for seven kills on 20 total attacks during last night's scrimmage. While both are great athletes and leapers, Missouri is really deep at Outside Hitter, and currently have Senior Emily Wilson and Junior Regan Peltier ahead of them. Despite this, both will see the floor at some point and will have an opportunity to make an impact.
Finally, Alexa Armendariz from Blue Springs, MO. The High School All-American turned in a solid performance in her first outing in black and gold wednesday, pulling up five digs between the two sets. She could compete for the spot on the back row left by Loxley Keala, and would be a solid addition to the Tigers defense.
"Overall I was really pleased with how they came out tonight and played with a lot of energy," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "It's great to get out and play a match in front of fans for the first time so a lot of the newcomers can get some of the jitters out. We looked good at times and not so good at others, but I thought we improved on a lot of things and we have a lot to build upon as we get back to practice."
I was impressed with Missouri's first appearance at the Hearnes Center this season. The offense seemed to flow similar to how it did last year and was being guided by (in this case) two very good Setters. Carly Kan and Whitney Little had good performances and I'm sure there will be plenty more from both in 2014. The Defense returns pretty much intact with Sarah Meister back at Libero, who could be one of the best at her position in the SEC. The Tigers journey back to another SEC title starts next week at the North Texas Tournament next Friday vs. Mississippi Valley State.