Finishing their regular season at 34-0, Mizzou’s volleyball team is rankedfourth in the nation and is the first SEC team to have a regular undefeated season.
Mizzou swept Ole Miss on Friday, Nov. 22, to claim the program’s first SEC Title. On Sunday, Nov. 24, Mizzou beat No. 16 Kentucky to continue the nation’s longest winning streak, and a win on Wednesday, Nov. 27, against Arkansas gave Mizzou a perfect regular season.
Volleyball is a huge time commitment with the practices, classes, tutors and games. Carly Kan, freshman business major, described her experiences of being a student athlete.
“Its definitely a huge balance,” Kan said. “We spend three hours a day in practice except for our off day. It’s like a full-time job basically. When you’re not doing volleyball, you’re in school and when you’re not doing homework, you’re doing volleyball.”
For many of the players, this season has been a dream-come-true, as they have broken both team and individual records. For seniors Molly Kreklow and Lisa Henning, this year became unforgettable when Henning broke the Mizzou Kill record of 1,658 kills on Friday, Nov. 1.
“It is an exciting feeling,” Henning said. “I would never have been able to get to this point without Molly.”
For the third time this season, and the second consecutive week, Henning was named SEC Player of the Week on Monday, Nov. 25. This was the eighth time an MU athlete was recognized for this honor.
The team remained optimistic about remaining undefeated as they went into their final games of the season.
“We don’t have any more excuses,” Henning said. “We have proved ourselves.”
Julia Towler, freshman accounting major, described their biggest challenge.
“We have had a great season, but we have to forget about the past and what we have already accomplished.” Towler said. “We can’t focus on that because it has nothing to do with our next game. We have to wipe the slate clean and start fresh after each game.”
Through the ups and the downs of this unforgettable season, the team remained supportive and helped each other achieve their goals, Henning said.
“I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other team; it’s almost like we are all family,” Towler said. “It has definitely been a season to remember.”
Editor’s note: the SEC Champion Mizzou volleyball team will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament this weekend at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers will welcome IUPUI, Purdue and Central Arkansas and they will open play against IUPUI at 6:30 p.m. Friday (Dec. 6). Should Mizzou advance, it would play the winner of Purdue vs. Central Arkansas at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 7) at Hearnes.