With her young team playing well, Coach Mastin found many positives in a Wednesday night loss to the No. 6 ranked Truman State Bulldogs.
The Griffons (9-18 overall) lost three straight games to Truman (25-4 overall), but managed to keep all three close.Â Games one and two ended 30-23 in favor of Truman, and the third game finished 30-21.Â
However, Coach Tiffany Mastin really felt like she saw improvements in her young team.
â€œBetter, a lot better at times.Â I thought we played great at times,â€ Coach Mastin said.
In particular, freshman Megan Voelz really stepped up for the Griffs.Â Â She played one of her best games of the year, according to Coach Mastin.Â Â Voelz had an impressive eight kills, seven digs, and one block.Â She stayed aggressive all night long, and didnâ€™t look at all like a freshman.
â€œMegan Voelz played the best game sheâ€™s played all year long as a freshman,â€ Mastin said.Â â€œSheâ€™s decided sheâ€™s gonna step up, and she seems a little more relaxed with her game.â€
Junior Hallie Delagardelle was another key player who has the Griffons feeling like they are improving.Â She led the team with 13 kills.Â Afterwards Delagardelle said that all the credit should go to her â€œgreatâ€ setter, Madison Benton.
Sophomore Madison Benton played a critical role for MWSU, setting up her teammates 31 times, compared to the team total of 38.
Â â€œI just really concentrated on staying on my toes and being ready to move,â€ Benton said.
Bentonâ€™s efforts didnâ€™t go unnoticed by Coach Mastin either.Â She played almost every minute of all three games.
â€œ Sheâ€™s our fastest athlete, and for as small as she is, she, like Megan Voelz, can jump out of the gym,â€ Mastin said.Â â€œWe donâ€™t lose much when sheâ€™s in the front row fortunately.â€
Overall, Missouri Western looked at this game as a sign that they are improving.Â They had a few mental break downs and unforced errors, but for the majority of the three games they stayed aggressive and quick.Â According to Coach Mastin, they sped up their offense and had some young players start to come into their own.
Despite Westernâ€™s best efforts, Truman was just too much in the end.Â The Bulldogs were much more consistent committing seven fewer errors than Missouri Western.Â Â Truman was led in kills by Eli MedinaÂ who had 14 on the night.
Â â€œThey pick up balls that frustrate you.Â Because it will be an awesome kill, but they still pick it up,â€ Benton said.Â â€œIt can frustrate you and get everybody down.â€
The Griffons have struggled so far this year. They will look to build on this year and have the success roll over into next year.
The Griffons have three games left for this season. They have to travel to Central Missouri, then they have their last home game againstÂ Souhwest Baptist and they finally wrap up the season by traveling to rival Northwest Missouri State.