Wilson keeps Tigers smiling in volleyball team's victory

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | 10:16 p.m. CDT; updated 11:20 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Missouri's Catie Wilson, right, celebrates the Tigers' victory Wednesday night over Kansas with teammate Julianna Klein.

COLUMBIA — With her hands stretched over her head reaching for a block, junior middle blocker Catie Wilson watched the ball slap into the net in front of her. As it fell to the court she let out a scream, celebrating the Missouri volleyball team's 3-1 victory over Kansas.

“It was just a great feeling, almost a sigh of relief, like, ‘Oh, they made the error not us,’" Wilson said. “Then a good scream.”

Wilson screams a lot. After a big kill or block she shrieks, but it’s far from ferocious. The celebration is always accompanied by a massive smile.

“Smiling like that, getting excited like that is contagious and it’s infectious,” junior outside hitter Julianna Klein said. “It spreads from one player to the next.”

All the Tigers' players let out their emotions after a point. They yell and clap and slap, but Wilson said she takes it up a notch.

“That’s my personality,” Wilson said. “I’ve always been like that. I want to get really excited to try and get my teammates excited and the crowd excited. When you have everyone in Hearnes screaming for you it really helps the momentum.”

There does, however, have to be a reason for the ecstatic celebration. On Wednesday night, Wilson provided plenty of them. She matched her career high with 12 kills and also led the Tigers with a .500 hitting percentage. The next best was .273.

“You know what she’s going to do,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “She’s going to be ready for small ball. She’s just going to be there for you.”

Missouri began the night against Kansas by dropping the first game 25-19. The Tigers’ leading hitter, Klein, struggled early on only recording one kill. But there was Wilson. She led the team with five kills in the first set and with a grin from cheek to cheek, prevented them from becoming demoralized.

“I love when Catie gets a kill,” Klein said. “Every time when she comes back there’s this huge smile. I get so pumped up when I see Catie get this huge kill. She’s always excited about everything. It’s a lot of fun to play with her.”

Missouri went on to win the next three games 25-22, 27-25, 26-24. After the game, Kreklow said the Tigers still need more consistency overall, but liked what he saw from Wilson.

“Catie did a really solid job for us,”  he said. “She’s not doing a lot of spectacular things, but right now we don’t need spectacular we just need consistent, and Catie right now is one of our more consistent players on the floor."

The only thing more consistent is her smile.

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