Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mizzou Links, 4-24-07

Not a lot going on today in the world of Mizzou athletics, so I'll focus on one sport...

  • Mizzou Volleyball signs three more players. They were running low on scholarship players last year after a bout of attrition, so they're looking at signing at least seven girls this year...which just seems like a ton to me. Here's the class in a nutshell:

    Trinity Ojo (Middle Blocker, 6'3, Arlington, TX)
    Catie Wilson (Middle Blocker, 6'3, Omaha)
    Weiwen Wang (RS/MB, 6'0, China)
    Luiza Jarocka (Setter, 6'0, MO West Plains JUCO)
    Lindsey McDaniel (Setter, 5'10, Columbia Rock Bridge HS)
    Shayli Meyer (Defensive Specialist, 5'6, Sioux City, IA)
    Caitlyn Vann (Libero, 5'9, Muncie, IN)

    Size was an obvious concern for this class. The Tigers only lose three seniors from last year's squad, but two of them--6'2 Jessica Vander Kooi and 6'3 Nicole Wilson--were the Tigers' most reliable attackers. They do return 6'3 senior Na Yang (a favorite of Mizzou Sanity), and 6'2 sophomores Megan Wilson and Amanda Hantouli (both of whom showed potential last year), but depth is needed, and neither Wilson nor Hantouli play as tall as Vander Kooi or Wilson did last year (yet). If either Ojo or Wilson (no relation to Nicole or Megan) can work their way into the rotation (I assume Wang will redshirt, as is the usual practice with the Kreklows' Chinese recruits), then that will help depth considerably.

    The other concern for this class was addressed by getting a JUCO transfer (and a good one, apparently) at setter. Lei Wang was pretty decent last year considering she was a redshirt freshman and was replacing Lindsey Hunter, probably the best Mizzou volleyballer ever, but signing Luiza Jarocka gives the Kreklows depth and options...which will be nice. The Tigers hit some prolonged slumps last year.

    One good thing about a huge class like this is, you can prepare for the future too. They picked up a libero who will hopefully be ready to replace Tatum Ailes after next season. Ailes is a stud (and a personal favorite of my wife's), but she finally ends her eligibility in '07...seems like she's been around forever (in a good way). Shayli Meyer should have an opportunity to play right away, as Mizzou's only defensive specialist on the roster in '06 (Abbie Booth) graduated.

    I realize that's probably more than you ever wanted to know about Mizzou volleyball. Just wait until the season actually starts!