COLUMBIA — The west end of The Shack was quiet as 40-some Missouri volleyball fans raised their hands above their heads and wiggled their fingers back and forth.
Displayed on the big screen was freshman Carly Kan preparing to serve. The Tigers were poised as they attempted to rally against Arkansas in the second set of their away match Wednesday. The game was shown on ESPNU, and members of VolleyZou – the Missouri volleyball student-fan group – gathered in The Shack to watch the undefeated Tigers pick up their 17th straight win.
Missouri volleyball is 17-0 after defeating Arkansas in four sets Wednesday on the road.
The Tigers dropped the second set — only their third dropped set of the season — but recovered to remain one of only four undefeated teams at the start of the night in the nation. The win was Missouri's second Southeastern Conference victory, bringing its conference record to 2-0.
"It's really important for everybody to be involved in our plays," Lisa Henning said on ESPNU after the game.
Henning had 24 kills in the match and said her teammates set her up for successful plays.
"I have the easiest job out there," Henning said.
The Tigers come home to face Auburn at Hearnes Arena at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Missouri lost the second set, 20-25. It was the first set dropped in 10 straight games, but members of VolleyZou weren't fazed. They slowly dropped their hands and waited for the next set to begin. Some members left to refill their cups of soda, but everyone returned to cheer on the Tigers as they defeated the Razorbacks 3-1.
VolleyZou director, Cole Foss, and junior coordinator, Dan Macak, helped hand out Missouri volleyball-themed accessories during the game including black and yellow sunglasses and rubber wristbands that said, "Something to Prove" – the team's motto this season.
"It's been a lot of fun," Foss said of the Tigers opening winning streak.
"Yeah, I agree," Macak said. "Obviously when you have a winning team, it is easier to support, but this has really been a good year to watch as a fan."
VolleyZou has had a permanent presence at Missouri volleyball games this season, as they have in years past. According to Foss, the group consists of close to 1,500 student fans, but approximately 200 to 250 show up to cheer at homes games.
Members of VolleyZou are always a loud and passionate bunch who vehemently display their Tiger volleyball pride. At home matches, they hold giant cardboard cut outs of the players faces and paint their chests with personalized messages for each game. On game days, members drive a golf cart around campus driving students to and from class as they promote the upcoming match.
Even head coach Wayne Kreklow acknowledges the impact VolleyZou has on his team when it plays at home.
"It's so great to have a group like that. They provide a lot of energy," Kreklow said. "Those folks have a tremendous impact on matches and what they do so well is be a vocal, energetic group that help us get through the rough spots. If we are struggling, they will help us get back in the game."
Kreklow didn't know it, but a handful of those folks were together and cheering on the Tigers as they struggled in the second set, and they continued to support as the Tigers rallied to take the next two. As Missouri set up to serve on match point, members started a slow clap that escalated into a thunderous roar of celebration as the win was secured.
"Thanks everyone for coming out," Foss said, loud enough for members of VolleyZou to hear as they pushed in chairs and collected trash. "And remember, we have a home game Friday."
Supervising editor is Nina Pantic.