High school teammates reunite in Saturday night's MU volleyball match

Friday, October 14, 2011 | 9:02 p.m. CDT
Freshman Sarah Meister returns a serve during practice at the Hearnes Center on Friday. Meister will be facing off against Sam Podraza, whom she's known since elementary school, during the upcoming Texas Tech game Saturday.

COLUMBIA — Sarah Meister and Sam Podraza can't stop laughing about some of the things they did as high school kids in California.

Meister and Podraza were teammates at Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego, Calif., and played club volleyball together for Epic Volleyball Club. When it came to playing volleyball in college, they decided to go to separate schools. Meister went to MU and Podraza went to Texas Tech. The former schoolmates will reunite on Saturday night for Missouri volleyball's homecoming match with Texas Tech.

Saturday's match

Texas Tech (14-6, 0-5 Big 12) vs. Missouri (15-7, 2-4 Big 12)

When: 5 p.m.

Where: Hearnes Center

When they were together in high school, they would gather with teammates for sleepovers and charades. Meister remembers an instance during a game of charades only a couple of weeks after the team watched "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince": Podraza tried to act like she was casting a spell on one of her teammates, but she didn't do it too well.

"Whenever she (Podraza) played charades, she was pretty bad at it. So, her mannerisms and the things she did made us laugh. We were like, 'Sam, what are you doing? That doesn't make sense,'" Meister said.

Meister couldn't recall who said it, but someone on the guessing team screamed "jigglypuff" as the name of the spell. Meister and her teammates laughed hysterically. Afterward, "jigglypuff" became the catchphrase for the team.

"From then on, every time we made a mistake or messed up, we would be like 'jigglypuff,'" Meister said.

Podraza said "jigglypuff" wasn't the only funny thing uttered during a game of charades. One time, someone had to act like she was milking a cow. Her teammate didn't pantomime the motion of pulling up and down on a cow's udders, though. Instead, she chose to imitate the sound of milk coming out, but couldn't do it without laughing.

The volleyball team used other catchphrases, too. The team was obsessed with Harry Potter movies, she said, so after a spike — or kill — they'd shout the killing spell, "avada kedavra." Podraza said they even had shirts made with "Scripps Ranch" on the front and "avada kedavra" on the back.

Their personalities seem to balance each other out, which may explain why they have been friends since grade school. Meister said they often played the same sports — volleyball, basketball and softball — and enjoyed playing together.

"She was always the crazy one," Podraza said of Meister.

Podraza recalled how Meister would yell "Whoo!" when she entered the gym for volleyball practice.

Meister said Podraza was more the quiet.

The way their personalities seemed to complement one another helped in their roles as co-captains on their high school volleyball team, she said. In 2010, as seniors, they led Scripps Ranch to the California Interscholastic Federation Division II volleyball title. 

"We both did our parts in leading the team. I was more of the aggressor, and she kept it really calm, cool and collected," Meister said.

Podraza and Meister had different nicknames to fit their contrasting personalities. Podraza was "Sammy Sweetheart," after one of the characters in the MTV show "Jersey Shore." Meister was "Meisterburger," the last name of the villain in "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town."  

Meister said they started calling Podraza "Sammie Sweetheart" because teammates saw Podraza as a sweet, nice girl, even though they didn't think she resembled the character in "Jersey Shore." The reason behind Meister's nickname, Podraza said, was because Meister wasn't afraid to be loud and outgoing, like the boisterous Meisterburger.

Meister is excited to see Podraza again, she said. She even talked to fellow Missouri freshmen Katie O'Brien and Whitney Little about knowing a player on the Texas Tech squad. Meister admits the two of them haven't talked much since the volleyball season started, but she hopes to catch up with Podraza sometime before or after the match.

As a defensive specialist, Meister won't have a chance to block anything that Podraza, a middle blocker, hits.

So she asked for a favor from her front row teammates: "She just wants us in the front row to make sure we block the crap out of her (Podraza)," O'Brien said, fighting off the urge to laugh.

Meister said it's "cool" that Texas Tech is coming to Columbia now, because she has been playing well lately — 80 digs over her last 8 matches.

"I would love for her to hit at me and dig the ball and be like 'Hah!' as a joke," Meister said.

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