The Griffons lose their first MIAA contest at home to rival Northwest Missouri State (25-16, 19-25, 21-25, 18-25) Sept. 11.
The Griffons came back to St. Joseph hoping to start off conference play with a win, with a hot record of 6-2, the best start they’ve had since the beginning of the 2006 season where they started off 8-2. That great start took a painful turn in the heated rivalry game.
Coach Cory Frederick saw many things that need to be changed and believes the team learned a lot in this loss.
“The biggest thing was the momentum we had in game one was generated by Northwest missing some serves,” Frederick said. “That was a big thing we were talking about in the locker room, finding some ways to generate that on our side without waiting for the other team to make mistakes. It’s just growing pains with having a young team. We’ll get it figured out.”
The Griffons got off to a great start, and owned the first set without any problems.
The second set was a different story, with the two young gun teams fighting hard and staying just a couple points within each other. The momentum changed when a questionable call mid-set eventually overturned in the Bearcats’ favor, putting them up 12-10. This led to a 4-point run that ultimately was too much ground for the Griffons to make up, losing the second and third set in similar fashion. Northwest quickly jumped out to a huge lead on a crushing 13-3 run in the fourth and final set. The Griffons showed signs of life later on bringing themselves back within five, but showed to be too much for the young squad.
The first set charge was led by team leader Stephanie Hattey who had 4 kills, 10 on the night, and found help from the freshman Jessie Thorup, who also had 4 kills in the first set, with 8 on the night. The freshman showed no fear in her first MIAA battle against a rival at MWSU Fieldhouse.
“I was nervous because it was my first home game, and we had a huge crowd,” Thorup said. “I respond well to nerves most of the time. When I’m nervous I usually put that energy into the game instead of my head.”
Hattey noticed some things that occur often with young teams.
“We’re so close to each other that it’s almost a disadvantage,” Hattey said. “We’re so afraid that we are going to make each other mad from saying the wrong thing, and we need get that mentality out. If that goes away then we’ll be fine.”
Brooke Bartosh helped lead the way for Northwest with a great performance. Bartosh had 21 kills on the night, bringing her total to 107 so far in the Bearcats first 9 games.
Hopefully the team can change their MIAA luck this weekend when they play the winless Missouri Southern on Friday, and Emporia State on Saturday.