First year coaches prepare to face off as Marian Carbin and the Griffons take on Rachel Kirkman and the Missouri Southern State Lions.
Like Carbin, who was the assistant head coach for the Griffons last season, Kirkman was the assistant head coach with the Lions last season.
The two coaches are also similar as they started out the season as interims. However, it was announced Tuesday that Carbin is now the permanent head coach of the MWSU volleyball team.
Kiekman started four years as a setter, one for William Woods University and three for Evangel University. She was a three-time Academic All-American.
Upon graduating, Kirkman began coaching. First at Raymondville Middle School, then as a varsity head coach for Eldon High School.
The MSSU Lions overall record this season is 3-7, and they are 0-2 in MIAA play.
“This conference is really tough and every night you have to play every game expecting to win regardless of who your opponent is and what their record is,” Carbin said.
Two of the teams that MSSU faced with impressive records are Ouachita Baptist and Rockhurst University, which both have an 8-2 record. The Griffons lost 3-0 to Rockhurst on Sept. 6 and 3-1 to Ouachita Baptist on Sept. 7.
“We’ve been playing really well together and improving in every game,” outside hitter Erin Backhuus said.
Coach Carbin is expecting the Lions to be scrappy and to put up a fight.
“They’re a little young, and we may beat them in the experience category, but young teams a lot of times are out there playing free, with no expectations,” said Carbin.
The Lions’ roster mainly consists of freshmen and sophomores, with only two seniors and three juniors.
“We expect to win every single game that we go out and play. No matter what the team’s record is, whether they’re 6-1 or undefeated, we play to win,” middle-blocker Lindsey Partridge said.
After winning at home, the Griffons are prepared to continue to win, despite a few more away games.
“Playing at home really helped. To get energy from our home crowd before we go back out to the road again boosted our motivation,” Carbin said.
Western had ten straight games away to the start of the season. Due to that extended road trip, the next one doesn’t seem as long.
“The entire year has been getting used to being away and having the energy for being on the road constantly, so I think we’re ready for more away games,” Partridge said.
The Griffons play MSSU after Truman State University stops by the MWSU Field house for the second home game.
“We’ve been preparing all season for this,” Backhuus said. “It’s what we’ve been leading up to with practice and workouts. So we’re definitely ready for more away games.”
The Griffons play the Lions of MSSU on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 pm. In Joplin, MO.