Missouri volleyball team prepares for nationally-televised road test

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | 8:26 p.m. CDT; updated 9:25 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Outside hitter Lisa Henning, left, middle blocker and outside hitter Brittney Brimmage, defensive specialist Priscilla Armendariz and setter Molly Kreklow stretch before practice Tuesday at Hearnes Center. Henning helps her teammate Armendariz stretch her arm. Armendariz is one of the two seniors at the MU volleyball team.

COLUMBIA — None of the court lights at Hearnes Center were turned on, and sunlight streamed through the exits near the concourse. The players on the Missouri volleyball team waited to watch film in the locker room. Missouri's assistant coaches walked down the steps in the arena to the floor, then headed to the locker room. No one said much.

There was a different mood Tuesday before the Tigers began practice.

Wednesday's match

Missouri (13-3) at No. 16 Iowa State (9-2) 

WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa

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Missouri will play a nationally-televised match Wednesday night at Iowa State. The broadcast of the Tigers' Big 12 Conference opener starts at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Having their match on TV will be something new for everyone on the team. The last time Missouri appeared on TV was 2005.

Senior libero Priscilla Armendariz said she is excited about the match.

"Everyone wants to be on national TV," Armendariz said. "Everyone around the world can watch us."

Freshman Emily Wilson, who spoke more carefully than usual Tuesday, said she anticipates being nervous Wednesday night before the match starts. She said it reminded her of her high school days at Gross Catholic in Lincoln, Neb., where she led the team to back-to-back state championships.

"I just want to play like I know how to play," she said.

Armendariz recalled beating Iowa State last season at Hearnes Center. She talked about the win with pride but admits that she expects the Cyclones to look for revenge Wednesday night.

Armendariz said it doesn't take much to get psyched up for road matches. Before the match, she will be sitting in the locker room, jamming out to music by herself. She also said that road wins are sometimes more rewarding. 

"You're always expected to win your home matches. Everyone always plays better at home. So, whenever you do take a road win, it is a huge deal," Armendariz said.

Wilson said she is excited that the preseason is over. 

"We're done with all of the traveling. I'm ready to get on a regular schedule," Wilson said.

Armendariz talked about a change in mentality from the tournament season to the conference season. 

"We don't play five matches throughout the week. It's just one game and out,"Armendariz said.

Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow said Iowa State is a close second to Texas in terms of the size of its players. Kreklow specifically pointed to two Cyclones, 6-foot-2 middle blocker Jamie Straube and 5-foot-11 outside hitter Carly Jenson.

Kreklow preaches about focus before and after practices with his team. Wilson, however, talked about how tough that is to do. 

"It's pretty difficult. I mean you really have to have the right mindset going in and tell yourself you are going to do those things," Wilson said.

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