Western volleyball prepares to face off against the Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs for the first time this season.
The head coach of the SWOSU Bulldogs, Josh Collins, is only the second coach in their volleyball program history. He took over for longtime head coach Bo Pagliasotti, on 1 Jan. 2012. He served as an assistant for the volleyball program for seven seasons, while also being an assistant for the basketball team. He led the Bulldogs last season to a 13-19 record, with an impressive 10-4 record in the Great American Conference.
Collins also led the Bulldogs to the GAC tournament, and earned their first post-season victory against Ouachita Baptist University in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs then faced conference champions Harding University, and lost 3-2.
The Bulldogs are currently struggling this season, with a 4-10 start and a 1-2 conference record.
Head coach Marian Carbin is not expecting an easy win, however.
“They’re a good program, and we’ll have to play really well if we want to beat them,” Carbin said.
The team is also prepared for the SWOSU Bulldogs.
“We have this mind set where we face each opponent as if they were faceless. Honestly, I think our team can win against anyone, and we just have some days on and days off, but we’ll win,” setter Jordan Chohon said.
Chohon has 17 kills, 302 assists and 95 digs so far this season.
Outside hitter Holly Pollock is also prepared for upcoming games.
“We definitely can win against them. I don’t think a record says everything about a team, because you could of played the toughest teams in the nation and have a poor record, but still have a great team,” Pollock said.
Carbin also mentioned that the team is working on some improvements to become a better team offensively and defensively.
“I’m more worried how we play. We need to improve on our blocking and making sure that when we get touches on balls, that they’re playable,” Carbin said.
The team has a total of 99 blocks for the season, while SWOSU has 106.
“We also need to improve on offense, making sure when the other team makes blocks, we need to cover a little bit better. It’s been hurting us for the last few matches,” Carbin said.
Out of the last three games, the Griffons only won one game, against Lindenwood, and losing the other two to Central Missouri and Truman State.
“We’ve been talking a lot about digging and decided that digs are going to win games. As long as we keep being aggressive, we’ll win a lot more games,” Chohon said.
The Griffons have a total of 806 digs so far this season.
“We just need to improve our defense and out-digging teams, as well as our determination on defense,” Pollock said.
The Griffons play the SWOSU Bulldogs in Joplin, MO, on Friday, Oct. 11 at 12 p.m.