Missouri Western sports teams have now added a few weeks under their belt, and now, there’s a big enough sample size for me to size them up.
Let’s start with Griffons soccer, my own personal beat. This is a team that shouldn’t be 4-2, and that isn’t even a bad record.
If there’s one thing that this team was last year, it was consistent. They had a great defense and even had the MIAA leading scorer in Cassidy Menke.
This year, the word is youth, with multiple sophomores getting quality minutes in games and true freshman Anna Mayer getting the bulk of minutes at goalkeeper. They do have their senior leaders though. Bailey Ketcham, Cassidy Menke, Brooke Howe, Madison Cowell among others return to the team to give some support to the younger players on Chad Edwards squad.
In interviews I’ve had with the players and coaches, the common denomenator has been gaining that confidence and consistency, and it seems like they’ve done that for the most part. I’m excited to see what this season brings.
Let’s jump right into football! Currently, the Griffons have the worst pass defense in the MIAA. Ouch. But, they did shine brilliance against Fort Hays, and even against Northwest, the game really only came down to a few big plays. But, the game against UCM was ugly, and there was seemingly nothing they could do to stop UCM’s freshman quarterback.
On offense, Dom Marino is back to his old ways of running when he can and passing when he must. Not a bad strategy though. A mobile quarterback does what a mobile quarterback does. The offensive line has looked good so far, and other then a few bad drops, specifically one at the end zone against Northwest, the receiving core has been good. Running game iffy though. Hopefully that can pick up.
One thing we must point out is that Western faced Northwest, Fort Hays and Central Missouri. There are three ranked teams in the MIAA, and I just named them all. There is a panic button as fans of any sports teams, but after these three games, I’m not ready to hit that button yet.
With upcoming games against Northeastern and Washburn, this team needs to get its footing and show the conference who they are. Sitting at 1-2, these are both must win games.
With volleyball, it’s a different story. Currently sitting at 8-6, they’ve faced four ranked teams and lost all four times. With the record they have, I’m sure they expected to have a better record, and they probably deserve one too. The season is still relatively young, and there is defenitely still time to improve and work on the things necessary.
One positive is that conference play is way younger, and while the 1-2 conference record is disheartening, the two losses were to number nine ranked Central Missouri.
Stephanie Doak so far leads the team in kills (197) and points (215.5), while Rachel Losche leads in blocks (39), and Lauren Murphy leads in assists with 554.
In general sports news, we must talk about what has happened so far this season. Obviously, the Bill Snyder Pavilion was built, fully funded via fundraiser. It gives fans another vantage point to watch their team play, a great tribute to a great man. Soccer hired the first female assistant coach by adding Ashley Haflett. This is a great addition to the team, and I will always be happy seeing more people get more opportunities like this, and she defenitely deserves it.
Speaking of coaches, as seen in the story above, Yuriy Litvinski is the new track and cross-country coach. Running a young program is hard for any coach, but if anyone can do it, it’s Litvinski. Basketball season is approaching slowly, and every Griffon is ready to see how Sundance Wicks runs this team during gametime and to see the difference his GriffUp movement can do.
This is an exciting time for Missouri Western sports and for Missouri Western in general. I am ready to see what all these teams can do in this season.