COLUMBIA — Although she's only a freshman, she isn't afraid to take control when her team needs her.
Freshman setter Molly Kreklow scored the first point of Missouri’s third set against Baylor by pretending she was going up for a set and then tipping the ball over the net with her left hand, much to the surprise of Baylor's front row players.
When the opportunity presented itself, Kreklow wasn’t shy about tipping or hitting the ball over the net to score in Missouri’s 25-18, 25-20, 22-25, 25-15 victory on Saturday at Hearnes Center.
“A lot of it is just reaction,” Kreklow said. “If the ball’s coming tight or going over the net, you just do what you can, and obviously, it worked out for me tonight.”
Kreklow has been a consistent player and leader for Missouri even though she’s playing with injuries. She has a pinky finger that is still healing after being dislocated early in the season and a stress fracture in her foot that she's been dealing with since preseason practice. None the less, she had 43 assists in the match against Baylor.
Before the serve, Kreklow can often be seen pulling out her jersey to cover a hand signal so the other team can’t see. She uses this technique to let her teammates know what set she is planning on delivering.
Throughout the night, her slide set, which she set backward, would float toward senior middle blocker Catie Wilson, who would then slam down the ball on Baylor’s side of the court.
“So much of what she has to do is based on getting to the ball quickly and being in a certain position when she sets,” said Tigers coach coach Wayne Kreklow, who is Molly Krelow's uncle. “It just makes it tough when every time you push off your right foot, you get that shooting pain.”
Kreklow has persevered through her injuries, being named Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week three times since the season started. She also leads the Big 12 in assists per set and is ranked No. 10 nationally in that category.
“For a freshman who’s playing with a stress fracture in her foot, I’ll take it,” Wayne Kreklow said. “I think she’s doing a wonderful job, considering.”
Freshman outside hitter Lisa Henning said she sees Kreklow as a solid leader on the team.
“She knows her job,” Henning said. “She knows what she’s supposed to do, and she has a lot of confidence.”
However, Kreklow is modest when asked about her own leadership role on the team.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff I can still work on,” Kreklow said. “But I’m getting more comfortable.”