It was hard to find anything positive to take from Missouri Western’s loss against Nebraska-Kearney (25-8, 25-16, 25-18) on Tuesday, Oct. 13.; The Lopers walked into MWSU Fieldhouse ranked fifth in the nation.
Kearney was in complete control for the majority of the night. The Lopers didn’t show any weaknesses in the first set, where they jumped to a quick 9-point run in the beginning and maintained that intensity throughout the set. Defensively, the Lopers held the Griffons to just three total kills and eight points. Coach Cory Frederick saw a lot of things that the Griffons don’t have at this point in the season to compete against teams like Kearney.
“Right now, we’re not ready to play at that level and there’s no question about it,” Frederick said. “I think when we just let go and play, we can hang with teams like that, but we just have to get more experience before we can be ready for that caliber of a team.”
The second set may have looked a little more promising, but unfortunately still wasn’t the ideal game that the Griffons were hoping for. They racked up 10 team kills and doubled their score, but were still nowhere close enough to steal a win. The Lopers’ explosive offense was showing to be too much to handle. Sophomore Meredith McCormick believed that the Griffons didn’t show what the team was really capable of early on.
“We didn’t come out as strong as we can or should of,” McCormick said. “With a team like that, and them being ranked so high and so good, we didn’t have anything to lose, and we definitely did not come out that way.”
The first two sets may have seemed disheartening for the Griffons, but the third set showed a lot more of what the Griffons are capable of. They came out strong, aggressive and really made the Lopers earn the last set. Although it was too little to late, the Griffons were playing better as the game went on; the team added up 10 kills, 19 digs and three blocks in the final set. Jessie Thorup, who had a team high seven kills, saw the spark at the end as a positive for the Griffons, and believes it will help in another tough game they have this week.
“In that third set, we really challenged them and did the things we needed to do,” Thorup said. “I think after seeing how we played against them in that third set, we know how we can play against Washburn. So if we continue to play like that, we’ll do a lot better.”