COLUMBIA — Kansas State setter Caitlyn Donahue hit the ball toward the middle of the back line. Missouri libero Priscilla Armendariz and outside hitter Emily Wilson looked at one another, each player waiting for the other to make a move. No one did. The ball landed between the two of them.
Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow called Donahue's kill "an easy ball."
The Missouri volleyball team's Pink Out match drew some celebrities from other Tigers sports teams. Missouri football players T.J. Moe, Jerrell Jackson and James Franklin, as well as Missouri men's basketball player Kim English, sat in the first row to the left of the scorer's table. At one point they led the crowd at Hearnes Center in a MIZ-ZOU chant.
Wilson and Armendariz's miscommunication was a microcosm of a night filled with mistakes for the Missouri volleyball team. It occurred when Missouri was ahead 7-5 in the deciding fifth set of their Pink Out match Wednesday night with Kansas State at Hearnes Center. Missouri lost 33-31, 20-25, 21-25, 25-19, 12-15.
Kreklow, infuriated after the match, said he felt like his team wasn't prepared, something he said goes back to the team's approach in practice. Kreklow talked about this same thing on Tuesday, the last time the Missouri volleyball team practiced. He called his team together at the end of practice and talked to them about how they were essentially going through the motions and not putting all of their focus on practice.
Kreklow easily summed up how the team practiced over the last couple of days.
"Just like you saw out there today," Kreklow said.
Kreklow said the week leading up to Missouri's match with Texas A&M was completely different. He called it Missouri's best week of practice so far this season.
Kreklow wasn't willing to use Missouri's youth as an excuse for what happened.
"I would say our veteran players were just as bad. They (the upperclassmen) certainly got off to a bad start just like the rest of the young kids," Kreklow said.
Missouri setter Molly Kreklow said she noticed the same thing. She said she thought the difference in practice approach could be the result of more distractions.
"This is our first Wednesday home match. And so, we have to go to classes. So that's definitely a different distraction," she said.
Looking forward, Molly Kreklow said the upperclassmen will have to take more of a role in making sure the younger players are more focused in practice. Missouri will take Thursday off before resuming practice on Friday.