KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — There was no excessive celebration from the Missouri volleyball team after it swept Tennessee on Friday, although there certainly should have been.
"We cheered just a little bit," junior blocker Whitney Little said. "Maybe more than a little bit."
The No. 25-ranked Tigers, one of two unbeaten teams in the nation, beat the unranked Volunteers in three sets (27-25, 25-10, 25-16) on Fox Sports Midwest. The win marks the teams 20th win in a row and the best opening record in the program's history.
The 2013 squad has spent more than half the season chasing the 19-0 opening record set by in 1982. Now with that milestone behind them, Missouri looks forward to achieving even greater success with the remainder of its season.
Disregarding the outlier second set, the Volunteers put up a fight. The first set went into extra points and the Tigers were down in middle of the third before rallying for a 25-16 win.
"It was a little bit rough," head coach Wayne Kreklow said. "We were a little bit inconsistent, but it's always just hard on the road. Tennessee has good athletic kids, but really everyone in league is good. They were tough to beat."
All of Missouri's key nation-leading players showed just why this team is still undefeated. Little was No. 1 in the nation in hitting coming into tonight's game and added eight kills and two blocks. Senior setter Molly Kreklow, currently second nationally in assists per set, carried the team with 43 assists on the night while adding two kills and eight digs. Reigning SEC player of the week, senior Lisa Henning, led both the offense and defense with 15 kills and six blocks.
Missouri is currently the only undefeated team in the SEC, but its next three match are against some of the conference's toughest teams including Alabama (13-4), Georgia (14-3) and No.2 Florida (16-1). Missouri was predicted to place third in the SEC East behind Florida and Kentucky, but according to Little, the team is aiming for better.
"(We want) to reach our goal of winning the SEC," Little said. "That's everyone's goal, so that's what we are preparing for."
Missouri returns home to play Alabama at 1:30 p.m on Sunday at the Hearnes Center.
Supervising editor is Nina Pantic.