COLUMBIA — Katie O'Brien doesn't sing for the same reason most of the other players on the Missouri volleyball team do. She doesn't grab a comb and use it as a microphone.
"Most of us when we sing, we're just being crazy in the locker room," freshman Sarah Meister said.
No. 21 Oklahoma (19-5, 6-2 Big 12) at Missouri (17-9, 3-6 Big 12)
WHEN: 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hearnes Center
Not O'Brien. She's serious when she sings.
O'Brien, a freshman on the Missouri volleyball team, started singing well before she came to Missouri. The Dallas native has been taking private voice lessons since sixth grade. She was also in her high school's a cappella group.
Meister recalled the first time she heard O'Brien sing. She was in the car with O'Brien and Missouri teammate Jade Hayes. A song by the country band Lady Antebellum was on the radio. Meister changed the station, and O'Brien started singing the lyrics afterward. She sang softy at first, but Hayes and Meister urged her to sing louder and louder.
"Wait, whoa! You can actually sing," Meister told her.
There are other times when O'Brien chooses to sing. Meister said they will be random times when O'Brien starts singing with or without a song on the radio. O'Brien, however, does not have a forte group to join in with her like she had in high school. She sings alone. This isn't because her teammates don't like when she sings, but rather that her teammates can't sing very well.
Meister said everyone but O'Brien is a terrible singer, and they usually only sing along with her as a joke.
Meister and Hayes weren't the only ones to notice O'Brien's talent. While the team was traveling to a road match, O'Brien belted out a song so loud that Lindsey Hunter, one of the assistant coaches on the team, could hear her in the front of the bus.
"Hunter said, 'Katie, Oh my God, you have a really good voice,'" Meister recalled.
O'Brien doesn't say much about her musical talent, but she's not afraid to admit she enjoys signing country music.
"I'm obsessed with Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Julianne Hough," O'Brien said.
O'Brien says it's cool to see young country superstars sing because she can relate to the lyrics in their songs, specifically how they speak about love and friendship.
Meister said country music isn't the only thing that O'Brien is obsessed with.
"She loves Lauren Alaina from 'American Idol' and Scotty McCreery," Meister said.
O'Brien's crush on McCreery has become the source of jokes from teammates, so much so that they've told her that she should marry him. Meister said O'Brien laughed the first time they told her that, and then she joked that McCreery and her would be a good pair on "American Idol."
"Who knows, if she actually met him, she would probably be serious about it," Meister said before laughing.
O'Brien's teammates joke about her obsession with McCreery, but they were serious when they told her she should try out for "American Idol."
O'Brien said she hasn't really thought about trying out. She said it would be cool, but she knows that with her busy schedule during the volleyball season, it would be hard to do.
O'Brien did say that her on-stage performances in high school were some of the best years in her life, and she hopes that she can somehow get back involved in a singing group on campus.
O'Brien said music allows her to forget about the stresses of volleyball.
"I don’t really connect volleyball and signing, so it’s nice to have that separation," she said.