COLUMBIA —The 2005 Missouri volleyball season was arguably the best in the program history — until now.
The 2005 Tigers opened their season 12-0, the best opening record at that time for coaching duo Wayne and Susan Kreklow, the head coach and director of volleyball, respectively. On Oct. 5, 2005, 7,298 fans at the Hearnes Center watched as the No. 7 Missouri volleyball team played No. 1 Nebraska, nearly tripling the previous attendance record. Missouri traveled to the Elite 8, the farthest the team has ever gone in post-season play, and it finished the season 25-5.
Halfway through its season, the 2013 Missouri volleyball team is slowly shattering the records set in 2005.
The unbeaten No. 18 Tigers have the best record in the nation — and program history — at 22-0. With 12 games left before the postseason, the Tigers are set to surpass the 2005 team's total wins. And in a match similar to the showdown with powerhouse Nebraska, the 2013 Tigers hope to break the attendance record during their match Sunday against No. 2 Florida.
"That will be a tall order to beat the 2005 record," Wayne Kreklow said. "We'll see if we can do it. I think hopefully we'll get a good turnout because it'll be a very good match. I've told people if you wanna see some really elite-level volleyball players, come and see."
The Gators will be the biggest test Missouri has faced this season.
Both Florida and Missouri are undefeated in the Southeastern Conference, but Florida is the defending SEC champion. The Gators have a dynamite offense with an average hitting percentage of 0.351, 15.25 kills per set and an average 19.06 points per set. Florida has beaten Missouri all three times the teams have met.
"Florida is a big dog. They've always been," freshman Emily Thater said. "To knock them off would be huge for our team."
The Tigers hope that with a packed crowd at the Hearnes Center on Sunday afternoon, they will be able to upset the Gators.
"I have friends on other teams we've played, and I've been told that the Hearnes is so hard to play in because we have so many fans come to our games," junior Whitney Little said. "It's definitely an advantage for us because it's our fans and our team, and it gets us pumped up."
Sunday's match will be the "Pack the House" match and will feature many pregame activities and game promotions for fans. General admission tickets will be $1, but admission is free for all MU students and anyone with a ticket stub from Saturday's football game against Florida.
Before the match, there will be free pizza and Missouri volleyball koozies for students. At 12:3o p.m., there will be a Kids Karnival featuring a bounce house, cookie decorating, face painting and poster making in the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse. At 12:45, there will be a Golden Tiger Social with free pizza for members of Golden Tiger, the Missouri volleyball senior citizen fan group. The match is scheduled to begin at 1:30.