The Griffon volleyball team took to the court Friday Nov. 4 and Saturday Nov. 5 against Fort Hays and the University of Nebraska-Kearney, respectively. During the Friday game, the first set saw the Griffons take an early lead against the FHSU Tigers.
“Our season has had some ups and downs this year,” senior Blair Russell said. “We have seen some great moments and not so great moments, but overall we are continuing getting better everyday, every practice and every game, which is our goal. We want to peak during the conference tournament. We have a lot of young talent on our team, and it’s been fun watching them develop into collegiate players and helping them grow. I think this group of girls will be the top of the MIAA in the years to come.”
Tigers won the first set 26-24, and Western took it to a 1-1 set score in the second set, 25-27 for the Griffons. The third set saw a 19-11 lead by Western with great chemistry shown by the team, earning dominating fashion halfway through. Final score of 25-21 with another Griffon set win.
The fourth set exchanged lots of back and forth points, eventually giving the Tigers a victory over the Griffons 28-26, setting up a final fifth set to determine the game winners.
“Me, personally- I look at film and get feedback in order to improve for future games,” Russell said. “I always ask the coaches on feedback from the games and what I need to work on that week, and then I watch film from the games and analyze my game- Why did that shot work, or why did I get blocked there, what should I do next time I am in that situation, those kinds of questions.”
Missouri Western went on to win the game, gaining an
18-16 lead ending the set, with a 3-2 set victory over Fort Hays. Great showings by Rachel Friederichs, sophomore, and Kelsey Olion, senior, both of whom made tremendous scores for their team.
Friederichs with 17 overall kills, or legal point scoring successions. Olion and Blair Russell, senior, had 16. Lauren Murphy, freshman, had an outstanding 70 assists for her team. Kayla Ruff, junior, had 31 digs, which is preventing a spike from landing. Audrey Keim, sophomore, had 17, and Olion had 16.
“We have scouting reports and talk about our opponents during the week leading up to our matches,” said Russell. “We go over their strengths and weaknesses and evaluate ours. It’s not the exact same for every opponent. Sometimes different shots are open or we want to run different routes for our hitters that will ultimately help us win.”
Saturday’s matchup against UNK at the MWSU Fieldhouse started at 6pm. The Griffons fell short in their attempt to take down No. 3 UNK. The Lopers took a 25-23 lead in the first set, then 25-15 in the second, and finally finished the game placing another 25-15 victory over the Griffons in the third set, winning the game at a 3-0 set victory.
Western matched up to them, however, with close numbers in kills, assists and digs. Some of the Western leaders in the game were Stephanie Doak, freshman, with nine kills, Murphy with 36 assists, and Ruff with 15 digs. Missouri Western will be taking on their rival team, No. 21 Northwest Missouri on Tuesday night, November 8th in Maryville at 7.
“My strength of my game overall is my vertical and my mental game- seeing the court and getting into the other players heads,” said Russell. “Like I said this season has been up and downs with injuries and Coach Carbin being on bed rest, as well as all of the youth on our team, but it has still been great. This group of girls is amazing and has grown so much as players and people. We still have a week left and our goal is to clench a spot in the conference tournament and win during post season.”