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Missouri football players cheer Missouri volleyball team to win

Monday, October 17, 2011 | 11:34 p.m. CDT; updated 11:48 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 17, 2011
Freshman Katie O'Brien spikes the ball over Central Arkansas's Marissa Collins, 3, on Monday night at Hearnes Center. MU defeated Central Arkansas 3-0 (28-26, 25-23, 25-10).

COLUMBIA — About half the usual number of fans showed up at Monday night's Missouri volleyball game, but some of Missouri's football players tried to provide some extra support.

Quarterback James Franklin, tailback Kendial Lawrence, safety Kenji Jackson and wide receiver Jerrell Jackson attended the game dressed in black Mizzou hoodies with "Insight Bowl" patches on the right arm as well as black-and-gold sweatpants. They were there to support their fellow athletes. The Missouri volleyball team beat Central Arkansas 28-26, 25-23, 25-10 Monday night at the Hearnes Center.

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Lawrence said he hadn't gone to a volleyball game since high school. He added that he sees some of the players, specifically Lisa Henning and Priscilla Armendariz, around the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex and wanted to see them play. 

"I thought I'd come out and check it out one time, and it's pretty fun," Lawrence said.

The football players aren't just idle spectators either.

At one point in the third set, Jackson stood up and joined Missouri fans in the "Missouri Waltz." His arms swayed back and forth and he cocked his head to the right and left, following the crowd in the traditional dance.

Franklin, who left the match after the second set, stood up with Lawrence after the public address announcer told the arena: "Missouri fans stand up, this is set point."

Armendariz, Missouri's senior libero, said it is cool to have any athletes at the arena supporting them but there's something different about having football players at the game.

"Everyone thinks they're celebrities," Armendariz said. 

She might have felt like a celebrity Saturday when the Missouri volleyball team stood in the end zone of Faurot Field during the football team's Homecoming game against Iowa State. She even joked about the volleyball team being a good luck charm for the football team. 

"They scored actually two touchdowns while we were there, so it was really neat to see that," Armendariz said. 

Jackson said he isn't close to anyone particular on the volleyball team, but he is in the same class with Armendariz and has known Brittney Brimmage since their freshman year. Jackson joked about how Armendariz reminds him what has to be done for one of their classes. 

"She says, 'Make sure you do your homework,'" Jackson said.

Armendariz laughed and said the Intro to Research class they take together does entail writing a lot of papers. She said Jackson forgets to do these papers.

"I'm always like 'Did you do that paper yet?'," Armendariz said.  

She said Jackson's usual reaction is a drawn out "Oh!" followed by a thank you for reminding him. Armendariz said Jackson isn't the only one that needs reminders of what to do. She added that he has to remind her sometimes. 

Franklin, who sat behind the players on the side opposite of the "VolleyZou" student section, said the players on the football team do talk sometimes about coming out for matches.

Missouri coach Wayne Kreklow said it's often hard to get a team motivated for a match like this one because he hears his players say: "Coach, it's Central Arkansas." So, the Missouri volleyball team benefited from a "celebrity presence."

Missouri players won't have the benefit of the "celebrity" crowd in their next match, though. They travel to Austin, Texas for a tough Big 12 match with Texas on Saturday. 


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