After last week’s shutout victory over Missouri Southern, Western prepares to face the Central Missouri Jennies as the season comes near its endpoint.
UCM is 25-1 overall, and are 11-1 in the conference. They are currently ranked No.1 in the MIAA standings and, as of Monday, November 4, the Jennies are ranked No.5 in the nation.
Despite UCM being ranked high in every poll, Western is hardly batting an eye when faced with the tough competition.
“Central Missouri is one of the best teams, not only in our conference, but in the nation. However, we feel strongly that we have the talent to compete with them,” head coach Marian Carbin said. “Having played them earlier this year, we know the offense that they run and some of their tendencies, but we’ll still have to play our very best to win.”
This will not be the first time Western and UCM have met on the court this season. Earlier in the season, after a long game, the Griffons fell to the Jennies 3-0.
“I think with Central Missouri we just need to come out and play how we know we can. Last time we played them, we didn’t play as well as we could have,” middle hitter Amanda Boender said. “But, that was earlier in the season. I think now that we have more experience, we’re going to be pretty good.”
It is no mystery that the Jennies are doing exceptionally well this season. As far as attacking, the have an impressive 1330 kills for the season so far.
Taylor Goodness leads the kill chart with 355, rivaling the Griffon’s outside hitter Erica Rottinghaus. Not far behind for UCM is Carly Sojka with 248 kills. The Jennies’ starting line-up each claim at least 100 kills of their own.
Defensively, Hayley Thompson leads both the blocks solo chart (12) and the block assist chart (57). Anne Reilly is currently leading the dig chart with 418 digs for the Jennies.
Sportsmanship is common between the two teams and each have faith in each other to bring everything they have to the court, so neither team takes the other lightly.
“The match should be a quality contest, very competitive from the beginning until the end,” UCM head coach Flip Piontek said. “Our matches have always been decided by a few key plays and I don’t expect this match to be any different.”
After coming together and securing the win against Southern last week, Western has their team work down, and the players cover the court effectively. The Griffons are confident in their abilities to secure wins with this newfound sense of unity.
“Last time we played them, we were in their house. I think we were nervous and had the jitters,” right setter/libero Kelsey Olion said. “But, now we have our team together more, we have our flow going and we know we can play well.”
The Griffons will welcome the UCM Jennies to the MWSU Fieldhouse for the much anticipated rematch on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.