Mizzou Volleyball Opens Season With Win Over North Florida

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COLUMBIA -- Mizzou volleyball opened its season Friday with a victory against North Florida in the Tiger Invitational.

Tiger quarterback James Franklin was among those in the Hearnes Center crowd to watch junior All-Southeastern Conference preseason selections Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning, who had 12 kills, in action. Sophomore star Whitney Little, coming off a 2011 season in which she was named to the All-Big 12 freshman team, had nine kills.

The team will continue invitational play at 7 p.m. Friday against Virginia Tech. Saturday, the Tigers will take on Nicholls State and No. 23 Michigan.

Mizzou volleyball is entering its first SEC season. The conference's coaches predicted the Tigers would finish fourth in the Eastern Division behind Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida. Those three teams, unlike Mizzou, all rank in the top 25 of the American Volleyball Coaches Association preseason poll.

Still, "Mizzou was the youngest team to qualify for last year's NCAA Tournament and returns five starters from 2011," according to the athletics department website. The Tigers exited the tournament in the first round after a loss to Florida.