The Griffons is entering the 2014 season ranked sixth in the MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll after a winning 2013 season.
Western ended the season with a 16-15 overall record and a 9-7 record in MIAA play. This is the first time the Griffons had a record over .500 since 2006 and they recorded the best MIAA record since 2000.
Their success last season led to one First Team All-MIAA selection and three players who earned honorable mentions.
Head coach for the Griffons, Marian Carbin, believes that last season was an important step for the team.
“Last season set a new tone showing that winning is what we do and what we expect out of our team,” Carbin said. “It was a statement for this program, especially with how tough our conference is.”
Players are using last year as a motivator for the upcoming season including, First Team All-MIAA selection Erica Rottinghaus.
“We know we did well last year, but we know that we can definitely do better this year,” Rottinghaus said. “The returners and our talented freshman class are all ready and fired up for the year.”
Although the Griffons are beginning the season in a good position, they are not putting too much stock in the preseason rank.
“The ranking is fair, it is technically where we finished last year after losing both of our fourth place tiebreaking games,” Carbin said. “We are confident that we will be more successful than last year now that we are familiar with being the favorite instead of the underdog.”
The Griffons will return four seniors, who each led the team in one or more of the major statistic categories.
“This season is extremely important to all of us seniors,” Rottinghaus said. “We want to play our last games well, and to do that we have been working hard toward executing the little things to win our close games.”
There are high, but achievable, expectations for the team, according Carbin.
“Some of our goals for this season are to move into the top three and compete for a conference championship,” Carbin said. “We also need to assert our position as a top team in the conference by continuing to beat the teams that are below us.”
The Griffons will be opening the season in the Rockhurst Tournament against the University of Findlay on Friday, Sept. 5. The first set starts at noon.