Volleyball recruiting finalized

Sports Volleyball

 The 2007 season for the Missouri Western volleyball team had plenty of highlights. It included the arrival of the teamís fifth head coach, Tiffany Mastin, and the Griffons made their third straight appearance in the MIAA Conference Tournament. Although the door closed for one of the teamís most valuable players in Alyssa Berg, another one was opened with the signing of five fresh and talented young women who hope to impact the team in the 2008 season.    On Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007, coach Mastin announced the five players that will be added to the 2008 roster. They are: Amanda Bates from Kolona, Iowa, Alexandra Behnke from Seymour, Wis., Leigh Connot from Lincoln, Neb., Brittany Gurera from Raymore, Mo. and Hannah Zimmerman from Lincoln, Neb.    Amanda Bates is a 5í7î outside hitter who made her name in volleyball at Iowa Mennonite High School. There she was a four-year letter winner and recipient of many awards. In her high school career, Bates averaged 3.5 digs per game, 3.2 kills per game, .817 service aces per game and a serving percentage of 78.5 percent.    Alexandra Behnke is a 6í0î middle hitter who attended Seymour High School in Wisconsin. Also, a four time letter winner, Behnke was elected MVP her senior year. In her last year alone, Behnke accrued 279 kills, 127 solo blocks, 32 block assists, 53 service aces, 189 digs and 11 assists.    Leigh Connot is a 5í9î outside hitter who experienced much success while playing at Lincoln Pius X High School. The Thunderbolts were able to win state for two consecutive years and during Connotís senior year in 2007, the team ended the season with a final record of 35-4, a school record. She finished her career with 690 kills, 65 ace serves and 936 digs.    Brittany Gurera is a 5í6î setter/defensive specialist from Raymore-Peculiar High School. Gurera was a two-year letter winner who helped her team finish with a 24-8-1 overall record. During her high school tenure Gurera had a 92 percent serving percentage, 27 aces, 531 set assists and 145 digs.    Hannah Zimmerman is a 5í10î right side hitter who also attended Lincoln Pius X and shared in the glory of winning two state championships. Being a three-year letter winner, Zimmerman wrapped her high school career up with 280 kills, 40 ace serves, 43 blocks, 77 assists and 178 digs.     The newly acquired recruits bring much hope to the young and still developing volleyball team. Sophomore, Jill Briant is optimistic about the new talent,   ìI think they are a good core group of girls that are going to come in and work extremely hard. Some of them are going to get immediate playing time which will show their character and how good they are as volleyball players,î Briant said.    With the key players they have coming back and the new players they have added, the future is looking bright for the future of the Griffons. While the outcome of the season is yet unknown, one thing is for certain, the team can only get better in 2008. The Griffons will look to capture a conference title and a playoff berth.  

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