COLUMBIA — At family gatherings, Molly Kreklow, the Missouri volleyball team's sophomore setter, says things get competitive.
Although the Kreklows played basketball, flag football and volleyball, she said backyard volleyball is usually the sport of choice. On one occasion, they decided to play volleyball during her brother Jason's high school graduation party. One of Molly Kreklow's best friends, Missouri quarterback James Franklin, came to the party and was on her team. Franklin didn't take things seriously at first, but she jokingly let him know that he needed to change his mindset.
No. 13 Iowa State (19-4, 10-2 Big 12)
vs. Missouri (20-9, 6-6 Big 12)
WHEN: 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hearnes Center
"Whenever James (Franklin) comes, he'll be a little more low key about that stuff," Kreklow said. "He's not as competitive, but if he's on my team, and he's just kinda like whatever, I'll be like, 'Come on, we have to win. I hate losing!'"
Although things usually stay civil during these games, Kreklow said the winning team does engage in some trash talking after the volleyball games are over.
Senior Priscilla Armendariz said Kreklow has one of the more competitive personalities on the Missouri volleyball team.
"She's very competitive, and, of course, when we do lose, it hits her hard," Armendariz said.
Kreklow has a way of letting teammates know how she feels after a loss despite not saying much. Armendariz said some teammates will laugh or joke around after a loss, but Kreklow isn't one of them. She sits in the locker room and ponders what went wrong.
Kreklow's competitive nature starts with her family.
Her father, Mike, played basketball at the University of Wisconsin and Drake University, and her mother, Marcia, played volleyball at Drake.
Molly Kreklow played basketball and volleyball in elementary school but chose to focus on volleyball at Delano High School in Delano, Minn., and the Burnsville Thunder club team.
"It wasn't necessarily that I was better at volleyball than basketball. It was more of my personal choice or what I saw I would play in college," Molly Kreklow said.
The Tiger players said they see some of the same competitive traits in Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow, who is Molly Kreklow's uncle.
"I think it's more just body language. We all know Wayne takes losing very hard, and Molly does also," Armendariz said. "I definitely see a resemblance in family and relationship when it comes to that aspect."
Like his niece, Wayne Kreklow's body language is the easiest way to tell how he is feeling. Moments after Missouri's home loss to Kansas State in late September, Wayne Kreklow slammed his clipboard to the ground as he walked back to the Missouri locker room to talk with his team. He was frustrated at the mistakes that plagued his team during the match.
Molly Kreklow agreed with her teammates.
"When we lost in the K-State game, and we went back in the locker room and he was really mad, everything he was saying was everything I was thinking," she said.
Molly Kreklow also has an unorthodox way of getting psyched up for a match. While other players listen to music or joke around to calm their nerves before a match, Kreklow does the opposite. She tries to get nervous.
"It's sounds weird because why would you want to be nervous?" Kreklow said. "I would say if I have an issue at all, it's that I'm overconfident and not like in a cocky way. I'm just always fairly confident, and I'm never nervous about how I'm going to play."
So, as far as Kreklow sees it, feeling nervous before a match makes her play better.