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Trio of wins helps volleyball move up

Missouri Western volleyball coach Cory Frederick said he had to attend over five games to see how good Shelby Corkill really was.

Against Pittsburg State Friday night, the freshman reminded him why she was recruited here.

Western defeated Pittsburg 3-2 Friday at the Looney Complex, which improved its record to 11-11. Corkill had 26 kills, the most since 2003 for a Griffon.

“That’s a great stat to hear,” Frederick said. “It’s not the best stat in the world because it also means we had to play five games. We’d prefer not to go five games.”

Western took the first game 28-26 after seniors Tahler Johnston and Alex Behnke closed the game out with a kill and a block, respectively.

The second game went to the Gorillas, but it was close, as they won 25-22. The all-important third game was settled late, when Western’s Corkill, up 22-18, killed three scores for her team to take the 2-1 advantage.

“She doesn’t even really seem to notice when she’s playing that well,” Frederick said.

That’s when drama occurred.

Up 2-1, Western nearly ended Pittsburg’s night. It took a 20-10 lead behind five straight Sarah Faubel points off aces. But Western wouldn’t hold.

Christa McCaw added her own four-kill streak, followed two Kristen Erikson attacks as the Gorillas mounted a 17-5 run to tie the game.

“We’ve got a very young team, and when things like that happen, it doesn’t continue to slide down hill,” Frederick said. “To not have those mental letdowns when we do struggle in a game like that — to be able to pick it back up — that speaks well in the future.”

In the end, it wouldn’t matter, as Western survived the outing, winning game five 15-9. Stephanie Hattey totaled 60 assists in route to the victory. Corkill said she is finally more comfortable playing college volleyball, and she showed it, hitting over .300 percentage in the win. Frederick said that is very encouraging.

The Griffons didn’t stop their weekend victories there, as they continued to improve their record.

Western holds a 12-11 record and are 5-5 in the conference, good for fifth place, after it defeated Southwest Baptist Saturday at the Looney Complex.

The Griffons controlled the game late, after falling behind 1-0.

“[The girls] relaxed a little more,” said Frederick, before he said it should continue the rest of the season. “They look more focused.”

Western went on to win the next three games. The second game was close, but the Griffons took the game by two, tying the contest at one game a piece.

The Griffons had to score over 30 points to win the third game, and they did just that, taking a 2-1 lead with a 31-29 game. The Bearcats were too tired to win the fourth game, as Western ended their night with a deciding game four win, 25-8. Corkill led the team in kills again, this time with 16. The freshman also had 18 digs.

Last Tuesday night, Western went on the road to defeat Missouri Southern State. It won 25-13, 25-21 and 25-12. The three-game win streak Western currently has comes after it fell four straight games in the past two weeks.

Both Hattey and Johnston have suffered mild injuries. However, Frederick said it hasn’t affected either player. Western has eight more games left in the regular season, with five at home.

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