COLUMBIA — Kasey Reuter and her mom jumped up and down, celebrating the selection show announcement of Missouri volleyball's No. 4 seed for the NCAA tournament.
Reuter, 17, currently a student at Hinton Community School in Iowa, is one of four current seniors who signed letters of intent to play volleyball at Missouri next season. Joining her next year will be Alexa “LA” Armendariz, Sydney Deeken and Ali Kreklow.
At the Hearnes Center
Friday at 4:30 p.m. — Central Arkansas vs. No. 19 Purdue
Friday at 6:30 p.m. — No. 4 Missouri vs. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Saturday at 7:30 p.m. — Winner (Central Arkansas vs. Purdue) vs. Winner (Missouri vs. IUPUI)
Reuter gets goose bumps thinking about the fact that she'll get to be one of the players next year.
"Just seeing how they’ve turned it around this year, it’s so much fun to watch," Reuter said.
Missouri went from 19-12 in 2012 to 34-0 this season.
Reuter knew on a campus visit that Missouri was the right place for her. She knew she would be in good hands with Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow and his staff. She meshed well with the current players, and she appreciated the program's emphasis on academics as well as volleyball.
"When I went there, it felt right," she said.
Armendariz, 18, of Blue Springs South High School, also felt comfortable after a Missouri visit. Her sister, Priscilla Armendariz, played for the Tigers from 2008 to 2011, so the younger Armendariz was also familiar with the Missouri crew.
“I wish I was there now," she said.
Deeken, 17, of California High School, plays club volleyball with the Kansas City Invasion with fellow recruit Ali Kreklow, 18, of Rock Bridge High School.
Deeken also plays basketball at California and is a state champion in high jump, triple jump and long jump. She thought about doing both track and volleyball in college but decided to focus on the sport she loves most. She already knew Wayne and Susan Kreklow from a former club team, and even though she had opportunities to look elsewhere, she was set on Missouri.
Ali Kreklow looks forward to joining the hard-working group of players who make up the team.
“I am the coach's daughter, and that’s kind of a tough spot to be in, but I want to go in there and prove myself," she said.
For now, the players are being supportive of their future teammates. Three of the signed recruits are planning on coming to watch at least one game this weekend.
They will get to see the atmosphere they have the chance to play in next season. Until then, they have the excitement from this season to bask in.
The night her future team won the SEC championship, as she watched the confetti flying in front of the record crowd at the Hearnes Center, Deeken knew once again that Missouri is where she wants to be.
Tickets for the NCAA Tournament matches this weekend are free for students with a Missouri student ID at the west ticket window at the Hearnes Center. Students can pick up tickets before noon to avoid long lines, and refunds are available at the window for students who have already purchased tickets.
Weekend passes are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and youths. One-day passes are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and youths.
The link to the ticket site is available on mutigers.com.
Supervising editor is Erik Hall.