The Missouri Western Griffons lost to conference opponent Missouri Southern in five sets, 2-3 (25-19, 25-23, 22-25, 18-25 and 6-15) last Saturday. The Griffons record with this loss falls to 7-11 overall and 0-6 in conference play.
The Griffons opened strong with wins in the first two sets, led by Allison Smith and Hannah Zimmerman with six kills a piece, but they were unable to keep the same level of play heading in the final three games.
Head coach Cory Frederick attributes this recent style of play to their mentality and the fact that they are on a losing streak.
“Team morale is absolutely terrible,” Frederick said. “These girls just don’t know how to win and they make life very difficult for themselves. They get so down on themselves that is just snowballs and we lose. It’s our biggest and only weakness – we just have to learn to persevere and continue to play on the court.”
The Griffons have, in fact, developed a pattern of playing very well in their opening games, then essentially falling apart when it counts the most.
“We come out really strong,” Meghan Voelz said. “Our weakness is that we play weak the rest of the game. Team morale is a little down, but we’ll come through.”
The Griffons’ focus is on staying positive and working toward a more cohesive performance in the games to come.
“We see each opponent as a new challenge; a new obstacle,” Zimmerman said. “We need to make sure that everyone has their heads in the game and play well together.”
The Griffons hope that if they can pinpoint their weaknesses and work to make them better, the outcome will be different.
“Our weakness is blocking, which we should be able to fix. Our defense was there, but we just need to clean up our offense. [If we] clean up our passing, our offense should be there.”
The Griffons had 53 kills and 46 digs; Kelli Sicner had 15 kills and 10 digs, and Zimmerman had 14 kills. Lauren Burbach contributed 10 digs, and also achieved a career high 47 set assists.
Missouri Western has their next game in Kansas City on Tuesday, Oct. 6 against Rockhurst University.