The weekend was split for Griffons as they beat Missouri Southern State (25-19, 25-15, 25-20) on Sept. 14, and fall to Emporia State (28-26, 25-23, 25-20) they day after.
For playing the Lions, who came in to MWSU Fieldhouse with a record of 0-8, they sure didn’t look win less. It was a tight shootout in the beginning, but once the Griffons made adjustments, the game was more controlled.
The 5-4 Emporia Hornets were a much tougher contest, being a little more athletic than the Lions, and much more experienced. The Hornets game play seemed to mirror much of the Griffons’ style. All three sets easily could have gone either way, but the Hornets unfortunately closed out the Griffons late in the sets.
Coach Cory Frederick still sees youth as a major factor in these match-ups.
“I still thinking they are putting way to much pressure on themselves,” Frederick said. “It’s kind of one of those humps to get over with youth and we’ve got to get past that. We’re still working on it, but it’s getting better.”
Adjustments were needed after the loss to Northwest Missouri State on Sept. 11. There was more emphasis put on the player placement in practices leading up to the weekend, according to freshman Melissa Cairns, who finished the two games with a total of 18 kills.
“We worked on our positional play, like where we’re standing,” Cairns said. “Rather than just working on where we should be, we need to be reading the game more to understand where we have to be.”
Aside from the win against the Lions, the biggest thing to be happy about over the weekend was the outstanding athleticism that came from the freshman class. Between Cairns, Holly Pollock and Jessie Thorup, the three young players combined for 44 of the teams 77 kills over the weekend (22 kills both games). Fans can easily look forward to seeing this class get more comfortable and continue to grow in the future.
“We’re a solid freshman class,” Pollock said. “We all work really hard and it shows on the court, and over the next few years we’ll keep improving.”
A great student crowd, whose yells and cheers may or may not have assisted in the Lions surprisingly high of 14 serving errors, backed the team Friday. The crowd was much more thinned out, with 56 less fans the next night against the Hornets. It was obvious to everyone in attendance that there was pressure put on every Lions player as they served.
“We should get them to come back as often as they can,” Frederick said. “They definitely helped us, that’s for sure.”
On the negative side of the weekend, there was a scary moment when senior Lindsey Williams fell to the floor after an explosive jumpserve that resulted in an ace. She did not return after an apparent knee injury during her serve in the second set against Missouri Southern. There are still tests needing to be done before the team can verify if and when a possible return could be.
It’s always hard to tell with those,” Frederick said. “It could be nothing and we could get her back in a week with some rehab. If it’s a minor tear to some cartilage it could be 10 days, but if you get into some ligament damage it could probably end her career.”
The Griffons return to MWSU Fieldhouse to play Central Missouri at 7 p.m. on Sept 21, then Lindenwood at 1 p.m. on Sept. 22.