Cory Frederick said his team resembles that of the Kansas City Chiefs. Just when they give people hope, they fall flat.
Missouri Western showed that in its final two games of the year, as it fell on the road to Pittsburg State and Southwest Baptist.
Both losses came after the Griffons defeated Truman State in five sets and beat Missouri Southern in four. Frederick said he didn’t have an answer as to why his team played the way it did, and that it will take months for him to come up with one.
“[We] got a big win against Truman State and then just fizzled at the end,” Frederick said. “If I stood up here and gave you the typical coaching spiel of ‘yeah, we’re happy with the season,’ it would be a lie overall. We were really disappointed with how things ended because I think we should have ended a lot higher than we did; we should have finished a lot stronger.”
Western finishes Frederick’s third season as coach with a 14-17 record, his most wins since taking over. In conference, Western finished 7-11 (sixth in the conference), but there was not an MIAA tournament this season.
The Griffons graduate only three seniors — Tahler Johnston, Alex Behnke and Hannah Zimmerman — and return most of its nucleus next fall. Three freshman proved to Frederick that they could play in the MIAA and received plenty of playing time over the course of the season.
Libero Sarah Faubel and outside hitter Shelby Corkill both were slated into starters at the beginning of the year. Corkill finished the season with 293 kills, including two games in the middle of the season — Central Missouri and Pittsburg — where she not only led the team in kills, but against the Mules she posted the most kills in a game in over eight seasons for the Griffons.
Another freshman came on late to provide solid hitting. Amanda Boender ended the season with 116 kills and will be counted on more next season. Stephanie Hattey improved from a year ago, where she was named MIAA Freshman of the Year, and will more than likely keep playing as the top setter for the next two seasons.
Western has already began its recruiting as it has signed three players to come on and replace those leaving. Holly Polluck, Jessie Thorup and Jordan Chohon have all verbally agreed to come to St. Joseph and play for the Griffons.
“When we look back at the season here in a couple weeks and go over eveything, I think we’ll be pretty pleased with where some of our young players are at and what we have to look forward to in the future,” Frederick said. “We’ve got some good recruits that have submitted here this week, and I think we’ll be in good shape as we move forward.”