The Missouri Western Griffons volleyball team lost to the Truman State Bulldogs, 3-1 (16-25, 26-24, 25-18, and 25-15) last Saturday.
Missouri Western played well: managing to take one game from the nationally ranked Bulldogs. The achilles heel of the Griffons has been that they play a great initial game, losing by a very slim margin, and then get blown out in the following game. Fortunately, it would appear that the Griffons are fixing this problem.
Western beat Northwest Missouri State 3-2 on Wednesday, and then Saturday they played a solid game against a tough Truman squad, giving the team a badly needed boost.
“It was nice to see the team lose a game they should have won (at Northwest), but rather than get discouraged, continue to play and win the match,” head coach Cory Frederick said. “They didn’t roll over for us, we won – and I think it helps for the team to know that.”
The Griffons have also made strides to fix the simple mistakes that cause them to give up easy points. They are also creating and earning points rather than waiting for the opposing team to make mistakes.
“We have a healthy balance; we’re creating more kills now than we have all season, and it’s led to better passing,” Frederick said. “If we continue to play this way, I think the team will be very happy with the results.”
Coach Frederick is happy with how the team has been playing lately.
“The team has turned over a couple of new leaves this week,” Frederick said. “Truman was obviously a very tough match for us, but we played very well. If we continue to play the same way we did at Truman, we’re going to find more wins later this season. So far we haven’t competed well with nationally ranked teams, but we definitely changed that against Truman.”
Outside Hitter Kelli Sicner agreed.
“Truman is a strong and consistent team,” Sicner said. “The games were close, and we took the second game from them. We played well, but Truman was consistent and their defense is great. We played well against a good team.”
The stat board was well balanced for the Griffons against Truman. Leading Western with 13 kills was Meghan Voelz, followed closely by Kelli Sicner with 10. Madison Benton had 40 set assists and 16 digs, along with Britny Pearl, who had 16 digs. Britny Pearl has also given life to the Griffons on the court in another way.
“We don’t have anyone who’s a leader type, but Britny Pearl has had great games and great practices this week,” Frederick said. “We all try to cheer each other on, so when one of us works hard, we all work hard.”
Missouri Western’s record after Truman comes to 8-15 overall and 1-9 in MIAA conference play, while the Bulldogs improved to 18-8 and 6-4 in the MIAA. Western’s next game will be played at home on Friday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 p.m. The game is against last year’s MIAA champions: the 8th ranked Emporia State Hornets.