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Columbia Missourian

Missouri volleyball team wins SEC opener

By JoVona Taylor
September 12, 2012 | 9:28 p.m. CDT
Missouri outside hitter Lisa Henning bumps the ball during the Tigers' first Southeastern Conference game against Tennessee on Wednesday night. Henning, a senior at MU, played the entire game and helped lead her team to victory.

COLUMBIA — It’s the middle of the second set, and the Missouri volleyball team is falling behind Tennessee again. The Tigers had lost the first set 25-20.

“Make a pass,” screams a man angrily in the crowd wearing a polo shirt with the Missouri logo stitched on the sleeve.

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Randy Henning, the father of Tigers junior outside hitter Lisa Henning, was not pleased. But the frustration eventually turned to joy.

“I’m so proud of her and happy she fought through,” said Randy Henning soon after Missouri's 20-25, 14-25, 27-25, 25-21, 15-9 victory in its inaugural Southeastern Conference game Wednesday at Hearnes Center.

After losing the first two sets against Tennessee, Missouri retreated to the locker room for short break. The Tigers came back and won the final three sets.

“We played like the first two games never happened,” said Missouri middle hitter Whitney Little.

In preseason polls, Tennessee was picked to win the Eastern Division of the SEC, while Missouri was predicted to finish fourth.

Lisa Henning, who had a match-high 26 kills, said she was happy to see her father and other family members in the crowd for the big victory.

Lisa Henning said her father's cheers from the crowd at her games was distracting for her when she was young, but now she looks at him as a reminder to get focused on her game.

“My dad is definitely a positive energy source,” Lisa Henning said. “He has always been that person in my ear that I would hear and know to refocus. He gives me that confidence that I know I have.”

“I’m very excited for the girls, for such a young team this is a big win,” Randy Henning said.