Missouri freshman setter Molly Kreklow took Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors for her play during the Tiger Invitational last weekend. (Photo courtesy Missouri Athletic Department)
It’s been a delicate balance for the Missouri volleyball program in handling new freshman setter Molly Kreklow. On one hand, the program has hyped Kreklow, the No. 20-ranked recruit in the nation last season, as one of the team’s primary attractions in 2010. On the other hand, many within the program are hoping all the attention and expectations are not too much too soon.
If those in the program were trying to suppress the hype, this won’t help: The Big 12 announced today that Kreklow has been named as the Rookie of the Week for the first week of the season after helping guide Missouri to a 3-0 start and a dominating run through the Tiger Invitational. To say the least, it’s certainly not a bad start for a setter with only one healthy hand in her first dose of NCAA play, as she amassed 109 assists and led Missouri to a sweep of all three weekend opponents – Maryland, Nevada and Utah Valley.
After the jump is the text of the full release from the Missouri athletic department.
Kreklow Earns Big 12 Weekly Honor
Tiger setter led the league in assists per set over the weekend with 12.11 per frame.
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Freshman setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) earned Big 12 Rookie of the Week for her performance at the Tiger Invitational as announced by the league office on Monday (Aug. 30). Kreklow put together a tremendous first three matches as a Tiger with 109 total assists, good for a Big 12-leading 12.11 per set as she was named Tiger Invitational MVP.
Kreklow quarterbacked the Big 12’s No. 1 offense through the first weekend as she helped Mizzou average a league-high 15.33 kills per set, helping it claim the Tiger Invitational Tournament title. Her setting also helped the team hit .326 for the weekend, including a .419 clip against Nevada, the Tigers’ best since 2006 against Arkansas State. The .326 clip ranked second among Big 12 schools this weekend. Her 12.11 assists per set also helped Mizzou rank first in the Big 12 in total assists per set (14.33) through the first week of play. All weekend, Kreklow spread the ball around as four Tigers finished with at least 20 kills while the fifth was just shy of the 20-kill mark with 18. She helped the Tiger offense rank No. 1 in the Big 12, yet not one Tiger attacker ranks in the league’s top seven hitters as Kreklow’s setting kept teams off balance all weekend.
The Tiger freshman had 35 or more assists in each of her three matches, all of which were three-setters (36 against Maryland, 35 against Nevada, career-best 38 against Utah Valley) while her 38 against Utah Valley are the second-best total in the league this season in a three-set match. She also tallied her first career double-double against Nevada as she passed out 35 assists with a career-best 11 digs. She also added a pair of blocks and nine kills while hitting .250 and finished with a career-best five kills on .375 hitting against Maryland.
What is even more impressive is that her performance on the weekend was all done with one hand in cast after dislocating her right pinkie in preseason practice, forcing her to use just one hand when she blocked and requiring her to serve underhanded. Kreklow’s Big 12 Rookie of the Week honor is the first weekly honor of her career and marks the fifth time in the last two seasons that a Tiger has earned this award. Paola Ampudia (Cali, Colombia) was the last Tiger to take home the award.
Also, Mizzou received 18 votes in this week’s AVCA Top 25 Poll, ranking them 34th overall. Kreklow and Mizzou head to Malibu, Calif., this weekend to take part in the Pepperdine Asics Challenge. For a complete preview of the tournament, stay tuned to MUTigers.com.