Missouri middle blocker elevates game in loss to Texas

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | 11:05 p.m. CDT; updated 7:43 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 23, 2010
Missouri volleyball players Molly Kreklow, left, and Catie Wilson leap for a block Wednesday night against Texas.

COLUMBIA — If you see her fist pump and then take a knee, you can be assured an amazing play just occurred.

“Catie does the fist pump and the head bob,” senior outside hitter Julianna Klein said. “You know when Catie goes to the knee, it’s a big deal because she only does it on special occasions.”

Senior middle blocker Catie Wilson’s solid play gave her many reasons to fist pump Wednesday night despite the Missouri volleyball team's 25-27, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 loss to No. 12 Texas at Hearnes Center.

Her determination and drive was unwavering throughout the match as she slammed into the net pole to save a ball, threw herself forward to dig a ball and powerfully blocked the hard-hitting Texas team.

“She got a couple of huge stuff blocks on the outside, and those kind of plays just change the momentum,” Klein said. “For her to provide that for us is just huge.”

Wilson said she had a couple difficult weeks where she and the setter, freshman Molly Kreklow, weren’t meshing. All that changed in this match.

“I felt like she was really connecting with the ball and the tempo was there,” Klein said. “The connection between her and Molly was really solid.”

Wilson didn’t commit any service errors, though the rest of the Tigers seemed to be plagued by them. She had a solid 0.333 hitting percentage, adding seven kills to Missouri’s 53 kills in the match.

Many of those kills were “slides,” where Kreklow would set the ball backward and Wilson would come behind her and slam it down on the Texas side of the court.

“Catie on those slides … no one can stop her,” junior defensive specialist Priscilla Armendariz said. “She gets a point almost every time she gets that slide.”

And along with those points comes the fist pump.

“Everyone makes fun of me for my fist pump," Wilson said. "I’m very dramatic. I like to get really excited to try to get the team going, to get everyone else excited.”

Wilson said she is optimistic about the Tigers’ upcoming games. She said she thought the team has played well against two highly-ranked teams (MU lost to No. 11 Iowa State on Saturday) and sees a bright future for the Tigers.

“If we’re going to compete against teams like that, we have to have good balance,” Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow said. “And I felt that was one of the things we were able to do tonight … kind of establish Catie a little bit and that made a big difference.”

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