Missouri volleyball prepares for weekend against best and worst of SEC

Coming off four consecutive sweeps, the Tigers will face Auburn at home and then Florida on the road.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Following two sweeps in the state of Mississippi last weekend, Missouri volleyball is looking to continue its success in its next SEC matchups.

“I think for us it’s just keeping humble; we got this because of how hard we worked, and if we stop we won’t be getting those results again,” senior middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn said. “I think we’re just not even complacent with how were playing. I think everyone wants to continue to get better.”

Missouri volleyball will head back to its temporary home at MIzzou Arena to take on Auburn at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. The Auburn Tigers sit at the bottom of the SEC standings with a 1-7 conference record. While Auburn has only one SEC win under its belt, coach Wayne Kreklow does not think that the Tigers should be overlooked.

“Auburn is a very dangerous team because they are much better than what their record indicates,” Kreklow said. “We talked about this the other day in practice, but you have a lot of teams in the SEC right now, LSU and Auburn, Ole Miss is kind of like that. You look at their records and you’re going, ‘They’re really down. They’re not very strong this year,’ but then you dig a little deeper and you look at who they played and scores and all of them are losing four and five-game matches. They’re all close scores.”

MIssouri’s Sunday opponent, Florida, is currently undefeated in the SEC so far this season, with five of those wins coming in straight sets. Three teams have forced the Gators into decisive fifth sets. Florida is currently ranked No. 11 in the AVCA poll.

“They’re gonna be a much different matchup for us because they’re just huge,” Kreklow said. “They’ve got some really big kids, but I think we got a shot. They’ve gone five [sets] with several teams already in league play, and two of those were in Gainesville. The challenge that they have is their big, physically dominating, intimidating-type look. But they also have to play the game too. Those big kids have to play the game.”

The atmosphere at the Gators’ home court in Gainesville will be a much different atmosphere than what the Tigers are used playing in when they are on the road. The Gators have had an average attendance of over 3000 fans at their home games so far this season. While Missouri has asn attendance average of 1840 for SEC matches, the crowds when the Tigers have been road in the SEC averaged under just 915.

“I think in some ways we are a little bit more used to [the crowd], and in some ways it’s better to play in places like that,” Kreklow said. “To me the hard ones are going places where there is nobody there because the atmosphere is dead. It’s hard to get jacked up as a player when you’re playing in those kind of environments.”

Regardless of the competition on the other side of the net, Missouri is going focus on themselves, not the record of their opponent.

“We can look past Auburn and leave ourselves vulnerable to get beat or we can take them very seriously and remember all the things we have to do to be successful,” Munlyn said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we need to be playing at a very high level, so whether we’re playing Auburn or Florida the same team goes out on the floor.”

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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