Wait pays off for volleyball team

After a ‘nerve-racking’ 20 minutes, Tigers learn they are seeded 10th in the NCAA tournament
Monday, November 28, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:35 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

After almost 20 minutes of waiting, the Missouri volleyball team received the news it was hoping to hear.

Players cheered, family clapped and some jumped for joy after ESPNews announced Sunday that the Tigers had earned the No. 10 seed in this season’s NCAA Tournament. Missouri will play Missouri State at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hearnes Center.

The Tigers (22-4) are in the State College Regional bracket, the last bracket announced.

“It was really nerve-racking,” Lindsey Hunter, a senior setter for MU, said. “We were sitting there twiddling our thumbs, just waiting to see if we were going to host the whole time.”

MU coach Wayne Kreklow said he is glad the waiting is over.

“I’m just really glad to be able to host, with the great support we’ve been having this year,” Kreklow said. “I would expect the students will be back and I’m hoping for a great turnout for that first match.”

This is the second year in a row the Tigers will host the first two rounds of the tournament.

The Tigers’ match against the Bears (24-8) will be the teams’ first meeting since Sept. 15, 1998, which Missouri won 3-0.

Susan Kreklow, MU’s associate head coach, played two seasons for Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the school. Kreklow said she doesn’t have extra motivation to beat her alma mater.

“For us it is just getting ready to play another match,” Susan Kreklow said. “I think overall our philosophy, night in and night out, is to prepare for what we are doing on our side, and that is what we will continue to do throughout the tournament.”

Wayne Kreklow said Missouri State will challenge Missouri.

“The top couple of teams in (the Missouri Valley Conference) are every bit as good as most of the Big 12 teams,” Wayne Kreklow said. “They are a good strong program, they have excellent players and we are going to have our hands full.”

Nebraska (28-1) is the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Big 12 Conference placed seven teams in the tournament, the most of any conference. Kansas (15-14), Kansas State (20-10), Colorado (15-12), Texas A&M (16-13), and Texas (23-4) all earned spots.

The Tigers have a chance to meet Texas in the third round of the tournament. Lisa Boyd, a senior middle blocker, said she hopes to play the Longhorns to see who would win on a neutral court. The home team won each match during the during the regular season.

This is the sixth straight time Missouri has made the tournament. Hunter said the Tigers’ earlier tournament experience will help the team.

“We are battle tested,” Hunter said. “We have a lot of experienced players out there and that will definitely work to our advantage. We are ready to kick some butt.”

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