After completing the most successful season in Lady Bruins volleyball history, two members of the squad that accumulated 33 wins and advanced to the state quarterfinal committed to playing volleyball at the collegiate level. Seniors Ali Kreklow and Jessica Lambert have decided to elongate their careers and join their university’s volleyball team following graduation in May. Kreklow will attend the University of Missouri, while Lambert will play at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) in Cape Girardeau. Both girls signed their national letters of intent Wednesday Nov. 13 at a ceremony in the RBHS PAC Lobby, officially concluding their time as Bruins and marking the beginning of the next phase of their playing careers.
“It’s bittersweet. I am sad that in May I will be leaving such an awesome community and I will miss my high school team more than you can imagine,” Kreklow said. “But I am so excited to start a new adventure at Mizzou.”
Kreklow quickly decided to play for her parents, Wayne and Susan, who coach the Tigers volleyball team. The team is currently 29-0 and ranked seventh in the country. Kreklow will follow her sister Molly who currently plays for Mizzou, certainly making volleyball at the University a family affair.
“I have always wanted to go to Mizzou so it was kind of a no-brainier,” Kreklow said. “Being able to be coached by my parents is really a unique situation and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be coached by them.”
While the chance to play with her own family drove Kreklow to attend Missouri, it was a similar familial feeling that made fellow RBHS teammate Lambert choose to play volleyball for SEMO. After attending a summer camp at SEMO to prepare for her senior season, Lambert was recruited by the Redhawk coaching staff. Once she visited the campus and met with the coaches and players, Lambert knew that SEMO was the place for her to continue playing the sport she grew to love.
“I went on a visit to meet the team and see how the program works,” Lambert said. “After the visit I had this gut feeling that SEMO was the place for me. Getting to know the coaches really helped my decision to commit.”
Although their season, and RBHS playing days are over both Lambert and Kreklow were grateful for the time they spent as Bruins. Both recognize the family atmosphere that was created on the team and the success they enjoyed because of it. To continue appreciating the family like qualities that a team can produce, and the success, both Kreklow and Lambert looked, and found, that in the places where they have decided to play volleyball in college.
“The SEMO volleyball team was not only a group of girls that wear the same uniform, but a family,” Lambert said. “They work together as a family and they have each others backs. Family is what I look for in a team and I found that at SEMO…The RBHS volleyball team came together as a family which allowed us to have an amazing season as well as creating bonds that will last a life time.”
By Brayden Parker
Below is a list of the six Lady Bruins who signed national letters of intent this afternoon. Four more will be signing this afternoon at RBHS at 4:15. More coverage will follow.
Shelbie Atwell – Missouri Western State University (Softball), Breanna Logan – William Woods University (Softball), Lindsey Grant – Benedictine College (Softball)
Taylor McDannald – Southeast Missouri State University (Softball), Ali Kreklow – University of Missouri – Columbia (Volleyball)
Jessica Lambert – Southeast Missouri State University (Volleyball)