Special Season has led to Special Match Sunday

<i>Wayne Kreklow has his Tigers back on the national stage this season.</i>

Wayne Kreklow has his Tigers back on the national stage this season.

Oct. 18, 2013

By Andrew Melroe
MUTigers.com Staff Writer

COLUMBIA, Mo.- There is a familiar feeling surrounding the 2013 Mizzou volleyball team. There have been a lot of great memories for the Mizzou volleyball program since Wayne and Susan Kreklow took over in 2000, but Friday night's 3-1 win over Georgia has the community buzzing with a showdown with No. 2 Florida looming.

Those who chose to spend their Friday night cheering on the Mizzou Volleyball team inside the Hearnes Center saw the Tigers increase their longest winning streak to start a season to 22 wins. This season has been the best start in program history and has brought back memories of the mid-2000s when Mizzou volleyball was the thing to do in Mid-Missouri. The Kreklow Krazies, the VolleyZou and the Golden Tigers made the Hearnes Center one of the toughest places to play as Wayne and Susan Kreklow elevated the program to national prominence. It looks like 2013 is another one of those `special' years for the Kreklows as they continue to put a contender on the floor year in and year out.

The announced attendance for Friday's game against Georgia was 3,272, and the team hopes to build on that number when No. 2 Florida comes to town Sunday. The current record for attendance is 7,298, set when No.1 Nebraska visited Mizzou in 2005. There have been some big matches played at the Hearnes Center under the watchful eyes of the Kreklows, but Sunday's against the Gators could be the biggest - it's the first match between a pair of ranked opponents at Hearnes since 2006.

A national power, Florida has claimed 20 SEC Championships. Mizzou, in its second season, is eager to prove that it is one of the premier programs in the SEC and one of the top challengers to a team that has dominated the league for the better part of the last three decades.



Head Coach Wayne Kreklow appreciated the support and commented on how the fans encourage his players, "There is no question it is a huge help. You can feel the energy rolling down onto the floor and it helps our kids get through rough spots. All you have to do is make one play to get the crowd back into it and that adrenaline starts going."

Senior Lisa Henning loves playing in front of the Hearnes Center crowd saying, "This is our court. These are our fans. They are cheering for us. We have to take that energy and really roll with it and take advantage of it."

The senior class of Henning and Kreklow became the third-most successful class in program history and Kreklow noted why the two have been so successful, "Lisa and I have great chemistry, my strengths are her strengths. She does a great job at always being aggressive and I know she is always going to be ready."

Focus shifts from Georgia to No. 2 Florida in a clash of SEC unbeatens. Henning can't wait for Sunday, "We want to prove ourselves. We don't want people to come out hear and think we won because we got lucky. We want to show them we are a winning team because we are good."

The matchup at the Hearnes Center Sunday is the first between two ranked opponents since the 16th-ranked Tigers lost to the No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2006. Coach Kreklow looks forward to the matchup with the Gators, "These are the kind of matchups we practice for. You get an opportunity to matchup against a really elite team."

The Senior Kreklow added, "We earned a chance to play a great team, and we are going to be ready to play. They are going to come at us and be a strong team, but we are going to play our best and enjoy playing really good competition."

The Tigers will need even more fan support Sunday when they look to continue their undefeated start with their most important match to this point of the season coming up, when the No. 2 ranked Florida Gators come to the Hearnes Center. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.

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