COLUMBIA — Missouri women's volleyball coach Wayne Kreklow lobs the ball over the net. Priscilla Armendariz backs up, calls out a number and waits for Molly Kreklow to move into position. Armendariz bumps the ball up to Molly Kreklow, who has to reach for it before she passes it to outside hitter Emily Wilson, who spikes the ball.
After the play is over, Molly Kreklow and Armendariz talk to one another. Molly Kreklow motions that she would like the ball higher next time.
The Missouri volleyball team lost 12-25, 17-25, 25-21, 25-22, 7-15 to Oklahoma on Wednesday night at McCasland Fieldhouse in Norman, Okla.
Sophomores Lisa Henning and Molly Kreklow led the Tigers. Henning racked up a team-high 16 kills while Kreklow added seven kills, 12 digs and 42 assists.
Defensively, senior libero Priscilla Armendariz racked up 18 digs and was perfect on serve receive throughout the match.
With the loss, the Tigers are now 14-6 and 1-3 in the Big 12 Conference. Missouri will continue conference play against Baylor on Saturday in Waco, Texas.
Armendariz and Molly Kreklow connect the front line and back line for the Tigers and play positions that demand leadership. Molly Kreklow, a sophomore setter, controls the offensive play by setting up teammates for kills, while Armendariz, a senior libero, is the leader of the back line. The two have to work in tandem for Missouri to have success.
"I pretty much try to do everything I can to help her (Molly Kreklow) out, so she can help our hitters out because it does start with the pass," Armendariz said.
Molly Kreklow agrees.
"She's (Armendariz) an important part of my role because obviously if I can't set any of the passes I can't do my job," she said.
Armendariz and Molly Kreklow grew closer, especially after their coach made it clear that Armendariz would be the starting libero, which happened before the season started in September. Although they don't hang out together outside of volleyball, they do realize that their positions demand that the two of them communicate and work together well.
"Our relationship is a lot closer than mine and someone else's because me and her work together," Armendariz said.
Armendariz also said she finds that their relationship is more important to the team than it is for each other.
They pointed out that last year's team formed cliques and its members weren't as close.
Molly Kreklow said she feels as if this season's team is closer because it's more diverse.
She also said she and Armendariz have tried to make sure that the freshmen feel included.
They each have designated roles on the team. Armendariz speaks to the other defensive specialists on the team, while Molly Kreklow deals with the outside hitters, who she sets up for kills.
Molly Kreklow said Armendariz, who is in her first full-season as the libero, has grown into the position as the season has progressed.
"I think she's (Armendariz) gotten more confident at being the libero, and so I think she's been talking more," she said.
She also said that Armendariz isn't the same kind of player as former libero, Catilyn Vann.
"Vann is more aggressive than Pip, I would say," Molly Kreklow said.
Molly Kreklow said that Vann's aggressive personality on the court didn't allow for Vann and her to be as close. She said that she's likes how Armendariz is much calmer on the court. Since Armendariz isn't as intense as Vann, Molly Kreklow said she isn't as afraid to raise her voice or speak up.
Armendariz agreed saying she and Molly Kreklow can be brutally honest with one another.
"She can be like 'Pip, that was awful.' She probably wouldn't be able to say that to someone else," Armendariz said.
Although Armendariz and Molly Kreklow have grown closer and taken more of a leadership role, they know that they have to keep pushing the freshmen and keeping them focused.