If Truman State is ranked No. 15 in the nation, then the Griffons should be in the top 25 based on how the teams looked on Oct. 30. Both teams played similarly, and the first three sets were anybody’s game. However in the end, the Griffons lost three sets to one (25-22, 19-25, 25-22, 25-15).
The Griffons came out looking strong and confident from the very beginning. The first set was all but easy for the Bulldogs, as they didn’t even gain the lead until the score was 20-19. It was defense that held it together, forcing the Bulldogs to get their points from kills; 20 of the 25 points were from kills.
The second set looked about as good as it could get for the Griffons. For the first time in a long time, there were smiles on the court. They looked more comfortable and relaxed than they have all year. Stephanie Hattey could easily notice the good vibes.
“We need to just play relaxed; we get too uptight and then we don’t play very well,” Hattey said. “We played relaxed tonight and our passing was awesome. I have to give them props for that. Our passing was amazing.”
Hattey finished the night with eight kills, 26 assists and 15 digs. She wasn’t the only one who felt the passing helped. Freshman Jessie Thorup felt that the good passing led to other good things for the Griffons.
“We were playing really well together as a team,” Thorup said, “and passing really well helped us with our offense, and that took them out of system, which helped out our blocking.”
Thorup led the Griffons with 10 kills on the night.
Early on, the Griffons seemed to have passed some of their season-long issues onto the Bulldogs side. There were communication issues for the Bulldogs — communication issues that led to holes in the defense. The Griffons had no problem finding those holes. The Griffons were able to take the second set, showing the No. 15 team in the nation that they weren’t going to walk out with an easy win.
The Griffons looked much more like the team to beat tonight. If someone knew nothing about these two teams, except one was a .500 win team and the other was ranked No. 15 in the nation, they wouldn’t have been able to tell which team was which.
One thing the Bulldogs clearly had on the Griffons was taking advantage of mistakes at the net. There were multiple times that bumps from the Griffons would be just a little long and float over the net. Those felt like give away points to the Bulldogs, as they made a kill out of most of them.
The third set was a similar story for the most part, coming right down to the end. All three of the first sets could have easily been swung either way, as it all depended on who was on a hot streak at the end. Both teams had an equal share of mistakes, and both teams would capitalize well anytime the other team made one.
The forth set was unfortunately a remembrance of old problems for the Griffons. It was the little things that ate away at the scoreboard. Communication problems, inaccurate hits, positioning problems and errors were adding up and frustrating the team. Coach Cory Frederick didn’t know what was happening in the last set.
“For whatever reason I think we looked uptight mentally,” Frederick said. “Truman didn’t do anything different to us when we were getting digs in the fourth game, we were having trouble putting up a good hittable ball if it wasn’t our setter. That’s where we really seemed to struggle.”
Even though the fourth set wasn’t what the Griffons wanted to end on, there were plenty positive things to take away from this game.
“I think the team, for whatever reason, came out and played relaxed,” Frederick said. “Practices have been helping this week so hopefully it will continue on this weekend.”