Tigers volleyball ranked No. 21

Tuesday, August 12, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:55 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Most teams try to ignore the polls, but the Missouri volleyball team says it’s feeling good about the rankings.

MU is ranked No. 21 in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches’ Preseason Top 25. This is the first time that the Tigers have been ranked in the preseason poll.

Missouri finished last season ranked No. 20 with a record of 26-8. The Tigers were ranked in the top 25 for the final 11 weeks of the season and were ranked as high was No. 19 twice in 2002.

MU coach Susan Kreklow said the poll reflected the team’s finish in 2002.

“We had a strong finish and I think the poll indicated that by a final ranking of 20,” Kreklow said. “This is a preseason poll and we know that, but we feel good about the ranking.”

Four other schools MU will play in 2003 are ranked in the poll.

Nebraska is No. 7, Kansas State is No. 15, Washington State is No. 19 and Texas is ranked No. 23.

Utah and Texas A&M also received votes.

MU finished third in the Big 12 Conference in 2002 and was picked Thursday to finish the 2003 season tied for fourth with Texas A&M.

Kreklow said she thinks the preseason polls will give her team confidence and something to work towards.

“I think the Big 12 ranking may give them a little motivation to go out and try to put themselves in a position to do well,” Kreklow said, “but I think both polls are very positive.”

MU sophomore Lindsey Hunter said she thinks the preseason poll will motivate her team.

“I think it will make us work harder,” Hunter said. “We always want to be in the top 25 so we are really happy with that.”

MU senior Mary Lauren Smith said she is excited about being ranked in the top 25, but feels the Big 12 poll didn’t give MU enough credit for the 2003 season.

“I think we are capable of winning the Big 12 this year,” Smith said.

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