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Mizzou's Greatest, #67: 2013 Volleyball season was flawless until the final chapter

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The team cleared hurdle after hurdle, the crowds grew and grew, and Mizzou completed its first ever perfect regular season.

Mizzou Volleyball Claims Tiger Invitational Title

For the sixth time in seven seasons, the Mizzou volleyball team claimed the Tiger Invitational Championship after defeating both Idaho State and Arkansas State in straight sets on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 31) at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers dropped just one set in the whole tournament as they went 4-0 in the annual affair, pushing their all-time mark in Tiger Invite play to 35-3.

Mizzou Wins Yale Invite, Moves to 8-0

The Mizzou volleyball program moved to 8-0 on the season after defeating Colgate, 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-14), while winning the Yale Invitational on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 7). The 8-0 start for the Tigers is their best since 2005 when they opened the season 12-0. The win over Colgate is Mizzou's third this week over a team that won its league last season after defeating Fairfield and Yale Thursday and Friday. Senior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) led Mizzou with 17 kills in the win, doing so on .308 hitting. Since 2010, Mizzou is now 14-1 in the second weekend of play.

Mizzou Wins Rice Invitational, Improving to 11-0

The Mizzou volleyball program defeated Houston Baptist, 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-18), on Saturday afternoon as it improved to 11-0 on the season. The 11-0 mark to start the 2013 campaign is the best start by a Tiger team since they opened 12-0 in 2005. Of the 11 wins this season, four have come against teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last season and six have come away from home, including three true road contests.

Volleyball Wins Mizzou Classic, Improves to 15-0

In its final tune-up before Southeastern Conference play, the Mizzou volleyball program improved to 15-0 while winning the Mizzou Classic with wins over SEMO and Middle Tennessee on Saturday (Sept. 21) at the Hearnes Center. The Tigers swept SEMO, 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-13), while hitting a school-record .606 early in the day and came back to sweep Middle Tennessee, 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 27-25), in the championship match. Seniors Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) and Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) were named Co-Most Valuable Players of the Tournament while Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) and Carly Kan (Honolulu, Hawaii) were named to the All-Tournament team.

Henning Leads Mizzou Past Arkansas on ESPNU

The Mizzou volleyball team pushed its national-best record to 17-0 with a 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 25-14, 25-20) win at Arkansas in front of a nationally-televised ESPNU audience on Wednesday night (Oct. 2). Senior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) played up to her billing with a season-high 24 kills on .345 hitting with three blocks and 10 digs, good for her fourth double-double of the season. The win improves the Tigers to 17-0 and 2-0 in SEC play for the second consecutive season as they remain as one of four unbeaten teams nationally.

No. 25 Volleyball Wins School Record 20th Straight

History was made on Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena as the Mizzou volleyball team defeated Tennessee, 3-0 (27-25, 25-10, 25-16) for its 20th consecutive win to open the season, a new school record. The Tigers, now 20-0 and 4-0 in SEC play, are off to the best start in program history and have eclipsed the 20-win mark for the eighth time under Wayne and Susan Kreklow. The 1982 team had held the record for wins to open a season with 19. Also, with North Carolina's loss to Duke on Friday night, the Tigers are one of just two remaining unbeaten teams nationally.

No. 18 Tigers Upend No. 2 Florida, 3-1

The Mizzou volleyball team earned its first ever win against a top-five opponent as it upended second-ranked Florida, 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 25-18), on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 20) in front of a season-high 4,202 fans at the Hearnes Center. The win improves the Tigers to 23-0 and 7-0 in SEC play as they are alone atop the SEC standings place as the league's only unbeaten team in conference play. Mizzou joins Colorado State as the only teams in the nation to not lose a match this season. The Tigers handed the Gators their second loss of the season and first SEC loss while snapping a 13-match SEC winning streak by the Gators.

No. 11 Mizzou Sweeps Texas A&M, Moves to 25-0

The No. 11 Mizzou volleyball team improved to 25-0 and 9-0 in SEC play after defeating Texas A&M, 3-0 (25-17, 29-27, 25-20) on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 27) at Reed Arena. The win for Mizzou was its first win in College Station since 2010 and snapped a three-match skid against the Aggies. The win was also the Tigers' 11th away from home this season, the most in a regular season since 2010. Senior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) set the Tigers to 59 kills, the most by any SEC team in a three-set match this season as four Tigers finished with at least nine kills. Mizzou hit .347 in the win and remain as the SEC's only unbeaten team through the first half of league play.

Wayne Kreklow Wins No. 500 in 3-0 Sweep of No. 19 Kentucky

Wayne Kreklow won his 500th match as a head coach on Sunday (Nov. 3) as the No. 7 Mizzou volleyball team swept No. 19 Kentucky, 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-22), as it improved to a national-best 27-0 and an SEC-best 11-0. The match was played in front of 3,925 fans at the Hearnes Center, Mizzou's fifth consecutive match with at least 3,000 fans in attendance. The win also gives Mizzou 27 on the season, the most ever by a Kreklow-led team at Mizzou, topping the previous best of 26-8 in 2002. The win is Mizzou's first ever over Kentucky and Mizzou's second over a top-20 team this season.

No. 7 Mizzou Sweeps No. 5 Florida in Top-10 Showdown

The No. 7 Mizzou volleyball team did something that had never been done before as it swept No. 5 Florida, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-23), on Friday night (Nov. 15) at the O'Connell Center. The win improves Mizzou to 30-0 and 14-0 in SEC play as it now holds a two-game lead (including the tiebreaker) in the SEC Championship hunt. It was also the first time that Florida has been swept at home in SEC play and just their sixth home SEC loss under head coach Mary Wise. It is Mizzou's first 30-win season since 1978 and the first in the NCAA Tournament era. The Tigers remain as one of two unbeaten teams nationally. Senior two-time All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) led the way for Mizzou with 17 kills on .500 hitting in the win as she became Mizzou's all-time career-points leader with a match-high 18.5.

No. 4 Mizzou Wins School's First-Ever SEC Championship

The No. 4 Mizzou volleyball team swept Mississippi State, 3-0 (25-19,25-16, 25-17) on Friday night (Nov. 22) at the Hearnes Center to clinch the program's first-ever conference championship and the school's first-ever SEC Championship since joining the league prior to last season. The Tigers improve to a national-best 32-0 and 16-0 in the SEC. The win earns Mizzou an automatic berth to next month's NCAA Tournament, the 11th in 14 years under Wayne and Susan Kreklow. The win is also the 300th since the Kreklows took over the program in 2000. The match was played in front of a school-record 7,879 fans, breaking the previous mark of 7,298 set against Nebraska in 2005.

Perfection! No. 4 Tigers Run the Table with Sweep of Arkansas

The No. 4 Mizzou volleyball team became the first-ever SEC volleyball team to post an undefeated regular season after sweeping Arkansas, 3-0 (25-11, 25-16, 29-27), on Wednesday night (Nov. 27) at the Hearnes Center. The win clinches a 34-0 regular season record and a perfect 18-0 mark in SEC play. In what may be an even more impressive accomplishment, Mizzou won 102 of 110 sets played during the year and was never pushed to a fifth set. In fact, Mizzou has swept its last five matches and swept 26 of 34 matches this season. Wednesday's win was played in front of the second-largest crowd in program history as 7,437 fans watched the Tigers clinch the perfect season. It was the second consecutive home crowd with more than 7,000 fans.

Alas, this is in the 60s and not the top five because of how the story finished. Mizzou got a really tough NCAA Tournament draw and had to face a top-20 Purdue in the second round. (Seriously, that's ridiculous.) The Tigers suffered their first truly bad performance of the season, and Purdue was more than good enough to take advantage. It looked as if a comeback was in the works when Mizzou took a 24-22 lead in the fourth set, but Purdue stunned MU by taking five of the final six points and sealing the upset.

No. 4 Mizzou's Season Closes with 3-1 Loss to Purdue

The No. 4 Mizzou volleyball team saw its season come to a close as it fell, 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-27), in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night (Dec. 7) at the Hearnes Center. The loss drops the Tigers to 35-1 on the year as Purdue advances to the Sweet 16 and improves to 22-11 on the season. The loss brings to a close the careers of seniors Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) and Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.), who will finish with 97 wins over their four-year career, the winningest four-year stretch in the NCAA Tournament era.

It was an incredibly sad way to end what had to date been one of the greatest out-of-nowhere successes in Mizzou's history. Actually, no, it was one of the greatest Mizzou successes, period. A talented senior duo paired with a deep set of sophomores and juniors and devastatingly athletic freshmen to make a run no one will forget.