Passion and discipline.
Coach Susan Kreklow said those qualities make Shen Danru a success for the No. 24 Missouri volleyball team.
The Tigers host Big 12 Conference opponent Colorado (13-6, 5-4) at 7 tonight at Hearnes Center.
Shen has nine double-doubles and leads Missouri (14-4, 7-2) with 4.16 kills per game and 3.44 digs per game.
Shen, an outside hitter, said being confident, relaxed and trusting her teammates helps her play a solid game.
Kreklow said that Shen plays a solid game because she has skills in every phase.
“She has very good skills,” Kreklow said. “That comes from a lot of training. She has developed a complete game.”
Shortly after becoming Missouri coach in February 2000, Kreklow, associate coach Wayne Kreklow, and assistants Deng Yang and Chen Feng traveled to China.
Deng and Chen were friends with the coach of the Shanghai team and Shen, who had recently graduated from the school, was interested in continuing her education in Missouri.
“It was a really good challenge for me,” Shen said. “It is a really good opportunity for me to stay here and study a different culture and learn a second language.”
She arrived in Columbia later that year without knowing English.
Rather than working with the team, Shen spent her first year at MU learning a new language in the Intensive English Program.
“My first year here was extremely hard because I didn’t know a single English word,” Shen said. “I tried to use my body language to talk to people and tried to have someone translate.”
After that year, Shen scored high enough on her entrance exams to become a partial qualifier.
Despite being eligible to play for the Tigers, Shen redshirted and could only practice. The time spent with her teammates helped Shen adjust to the new language.
“They helped me with the language part,” Shen said. “They tried to speak in easy conversation so I could understand.”
Shen has not seen her parents since they spent two weeks in Columbia in 2000. She talks to them twice a week.
Kreklow said she thinks that despite Shen’s family being in China, she also has a family in Columbia.
“The players are a close group of young women,” Susan Kreklow said.
“They are very supportive, very good friends. I think that support system makes a person feel like I have a family in the United States even though my family is a half a world away.”