Western will be heading into conference play with a 6-3 overall record after concluding their preseason with the University of Sioux Falls Tournament last weekend.
Western opened the tournament sweeping Bemidji State University three sets to none. The Griffons had three players with double-digit kills in the first game and posted a .611 attack percentage.
The second match, against Augustana College, lasted until the fifth set. The Griffons struck first by winning the first set, but Augustana answered with a win in the second set. Western stood strong, winning the third set, but in the end Augustana halted the Griffons with a win in the fourth and fifth sets to give Western their first and only loss of the tournament.
Western was in a back-and-fourth match against Minnesota State University Moorhead, winning every other set, including the deciding fifth set. The Griffons once again had multiple players with double-digit kills, as well as three players with double-digit digs.
The Griffons won the fourth and final match of the tournament against University of Sioux Falls three sets to one. Western won with a combined score of 50-33 and once again had multiple players with double-kills.
The Griffons added three more all-tournament performers to their preseason successes with Amanda Boender, Jordan Chohon and Jessie Thorup all receiving NSIC Challenge All-Tournament team honors.
Head coach Marian Carbin is proud of how her team performed during the Sioux Fall Tournament, as well as how consistently they have performed all preseason.
“We had really strong performances from different players than we did last weekend, which is a good sign,” Carbin said. “We constantly have four players in double-digit kills, and we also achieved our goal of staying above .500 during the preseason.”
The Griffons, including outside hitter Erica Rottinghaus, are satisfied with how the team has performed so far, but are ready to focus are more important matches.
“We are happy with our record, but we know we have to focus and do well in our conference,” Rottinghaus said.
The Sioux Falls Tournament has shown the Griffons that wins will not be handed over easily, according to Carbin.
“It was good for the girls to figure out that you have to earn it and you have to make other teams earn it,” Carbin said. “They are going to make every point count and we are going to do the same.”
The Griffons are going into conference play with only two losses, but the team has not let those two losses hold them back.
“We have definitely tried to learn from the losses, but we are not really dwelling on them,” Rottinghaus said. “We want to use them to help us in the future.”
Western will play their second game of MIAA play at home against Emporia State University on Friday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.