COLUMBIA — They've learned to leave the past in the past — but what an impressive past it is for Missouri volleyball.
The Tigers dismantled visiting Alabama in four sets (25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 25-17) Sunday afternoon, bringing Missouri's record to 21-0, the best start in team history.
But the team doesn't want to dwell on the past. The Tigers still have a tough schedule ahead of them, with powerhouses such as Florida still on the docket.
"All the games we've won in the past ... we just say they don't even matter anymore," freshman middle blocker Julia Towler said.
Well, they mostly don't matter. But with the Missouri volleyball and football teams undefeated so far this season, they must be at least a little bit excited.
"It's a great time for Mizzou athletics," coach Wayne Kreklow said. "I think our mindset over here is: you know what? Everybody's worked really hard; you have to enjoy that to an extent."
So the team gets a day off, and then it's back to preparing for Friday's match against Georgia.
Sophomore outside hitter Regan Peltier said the team motto of "Something to Prove" exemplifies the Tigers' approach to each new game: They go on the court knowing that simply being undefeated won't win them their next game. And they need to stay focused.
"We know other teams are going to have great kills and they're going to have great blocks, but we just need to go back and answer back to that," Peltier said.
Towler said the team works on that ability to answer back in practice and then works to stay calm during matches.
"In games ... you just forget about the point that happened, whether it was a good play or a bad play, 'cause sometimes good plays you get too excited, or bad plays you get too low," Towler said. "No matter what, you just forget it. It doesn't matter anymore because it already happened."
So they look ahead instead of behind. With the rest of the season filled with SEC games, the Tigers look forward to an elevated level of play.
"We love competition," Towler said. "That's, like, what we feed off of."