Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Off to its best start since 2005, the Missouri volleyball team has big plans for the season and freshman setter Molly Kreklow is no exception.
Kreklow has made an instant impact, winning Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week awards. The ease with which she has found her role on the team can be credited to a decision made her senior year of high school.
When most other seniors were trying on prom dresses and graduation caps, Kreklow was holding meetings with her high school coaches to discuss the possibility of enrolling at Mizzou a semester early.
"The coaches approached me with the possibility of [early enrollment], and I spoke with my principal at my high school to see if it was possible," Kreklow said. "I decided to go for it, and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I got used to college, being away from home, and the style of play here at Mizzou, and I got to do it all while the volleyball season didn't necessarily count for anything."
It counts now. After seven straight wins, the Tigers suffered their first loss to Western Kentucky on Friday. However, the fast start has the team thinking about more success. Kreklow currently leads the Big 12 in assists per set (12.89) and has broken numerous school records in just her first nine matches.
The decision for Kreklow to leave high school early was made easier by the familiar faces she saw upon arrival. Head coach Wayne Kreklow is Molly's uncle, and she credits his presence with helping her avoid homesickness.
While Kreklow gives credit to her coach/uncle for her high school to college transition, she also is quick to acknowledge the reason for her on-court success.
"I have some fantastic teammates," she said. "I wouldn't have received any honor if it wasn't for the great hitters and passers that I have the opportunity to play with. They make me look good, so in return I do my best to help the team be successful."
And succeed they have.
The last time the Tigers started the season with six wins was in 2004 and they reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. Kreklow hopes that she and her teammates can obtain that level of success as well, and she hopes the experience she has gained on the AAU circuit will help her handle postseason pressure.
"[High school success] has given me a love for pure competition," she said. "I've learned how to compete and have fun under high pressure situations. College volleyball is a whole different game, though, so I hope to be able to carry that part of me over to my career here at Mizzou."