Tiger volleyball hones skills at Black vs. Gold Scrimmage

The Tigers will open their season at the Tiger Invitational on Friday.
The Missouri Tigers volleyball team plays during the Black vs. Gold scrimmage game on Friday at the Hearnes Center. The Black team won the scrimmage, winning two sets.

With players rotating teams throughout the match, it was tough to declare a clear-cut winner in Tiger volleyball’s Black vs. Gold scrimmage on Friday. However, it was clear the 2010 Tigers have taken big strides since last year.

The returning starters played well, as redshirt senior Julianna Klein recorded two kills with no errors on 17 attempts while junior middle hitter Brittney Brimmage finished with nine kills, displaying the huge development in her game over the summer.

“I think it’ll be a breakout year for Brimmage,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “You can see flashes of what she is capable of doing, and I think she’s got potential to do some damage.”

Another player who caught the attention of the coaches is incoming freshman setter Molly Kreklow. The Preseason All-Big 12 Freshman Team member wasn’t able to play Friday night due to a finger injury, but the setter was active with the team during warm-ups.

“The doctors have been supervising me, and they weren’t okay with me playing just yet,” Kreklow said. “I’m day to day right now, but it’s gradually getting better. Hopefully by the time the season starts I’ll be ready to go.”

Kreklow led the 2010 USA Volleyball Junior National Team to the NORCECA Continental Championship while coming out of high school as the No. 20 recruit in the nation. The freshman is expected to have a big year in her first season as a Tiger alongside the Preseason All-Big 12 Team member and former Big 12 Newcomer of the year Paola Ampudia. The senior outside hitter recorded two kills in the match while showing consistency with her hitting. There is a lot of pressure on Ampudia, but the sky-high expectations have not overwhelmed the star outside hitter.

“I try not to think about it,” Ampudia said. “I just play and do my thing.”

As expected, Ampudia played well in the scrimmage, but she wasn’t the only one who stood out. Freshman outside hitter Lisa Henning showed why she was a Top 50 recruit in the nation, dominating her opponents and recording a game-high 17 kills. Henning led the Black team to a 20-16 win over the Gold team in the first match and 15-9 in the second.

The Tigers also looked good defensively, with junior defensive specialist Priscilla Armendariz, senior libero Caitlyn Vann and freshman defensive specialist Ashton Bodenstab all recording nine digs in the match. Sophomore defensive specialist Marissa Ferri and freshman defensive specialist Paige Buchanan both finished with seven digs. The senior middle blocker Catie Wilson was also impressive, tallying five kills on the night. Wilson and the other seniors are determined to make a run at a National Championship in their final year at Missouri.

“We have a sense of urgency this year,” Wilson said. “It’s our last year, and we really want to make it back to the tournament and go far.”

The Tigers will have a chance to start off the season strong this Friday at home against Maryland in the Tiger Invitational.

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