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Henning continues strong play for Missouri volleyball team

Saturday, November 5, 2011 | 7:23 p.m. CDT; updated 10:54 a.m. CST, Sunday, November 6, 2011
Missouri Volleyball outside hitter Lisa Henning retrieves the ball during the Tigers' game against Baylor at the Hearnes Center Saturday afternoon. Henning had 24 kills during the game, a match-high. The Tigers defeated the Bears, 3-1.

COLUMBIA — Sophomore Lisa Henning made sure the Missouri volleyball team's match with Baylor didn't go to the fifth set.

Moments before set point, Henning rose up and spiked the ball so hard that all Baylor outside hitter Qian Zhang could do was let the ball hit her. After hitting Zhang, the ball went straight up in the air, hitting the scoreboard. Baylor players scrambled for the ball, but couldn't do anything. The ball dropped to the floor, securing the set and match for Missouri.

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"I had so much adrenaline and so much energy that I wasn't afraid of being blocked," Henning said of her final kill. "I just wanted to make them make a mistake. So, I was just swinging."

Henning had 24 kills and 10 digs in the Tigers' 25-22, 17-25, 25-20, 27-25 victory against Baylor on Saturday afternoon at Hearnes Center.

That production is nothing new, though.

Henning has been the focal point of the Missouri offense in recent weeks, something Baylor knows all too much about. Henning dominated in Missouri's last match against Baylor on Oct. 8 in Waco, Texas. In that match, she put up a career-high 27 kills.

Henning wasn't a huge part of the offense last season, though. She was a one-dimensional player during her freshman season, Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow said. Now, as Saturday's match with Baylor showed, Henning is more of a well-rounded player, capable of spiking the ball when the team needs it or getting digs along the back line. 

And, opposing coaches and players are starting to notice.

"I see their coach tell their middle blocker to cheat my way," Henning said. "Players say, 'Watch No. 5, watch No. 5.' I just take it as a compliment."

With Henning taking over offensively, Kreklow said there is some concern that she might burn out and not be as fresh for the postseason if Missouri makes it into the NCAA Tournament.

Henning isn't concerned, though.

"I don't really go into a game thinking I want to get a million kills or break my record. It just ends up that way, sometimes," Henning said. 

Setter Molly Kreklow said she will keep feeding Henning the ball late, regardless of how many times she has set her up earlier in the game.

"When it comes down to the fourth game and it's close, she (Henning) leads us in kills every game. I would say that you guys would probably do the same thing I would do," Molly Kreklow said.

Molly Kreklow added that teams, such as Baylor, know that Henning is Missouri's top option and yet have had a hard time keeping her under control.

"I would say she is doing really well, and a lot of the other hitters are helping too," Molly Kreklow said. "When Brit (Brittney Brimmage) and Whit (Whitney Little) are in there, you can't leave them alone."

Henning wasn't the only person on the Missouri volleyball team who had a big day, though.

Wayne Kreklow recorded his 400th win as a women's volleyball coach. After the match was over, Wayne Kreklow stepped into the middle of the Missouri huddle and talked with the players. He used his one-word catch phrase "sweet" to describe the win.


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