Volleyball takes both win, loss over weekend

Missouri Western volleyball beats Missouri Southern in last weekends match.
[caption id="attachment_11842" align="alignleft" width="300"] Missouri Western volleyball beats Missouri Southern in last weekends match 5-19, 25-15, 25-20[/caption] The weekend was split for Griffons as they beat Missouri Southern State (25-19, 25-15, 25-20) on Sept. 14, and fall to Emporia State (28-26, 25-23, 25-20) they day after. For playing the Lions, who came in to MWSU Fieldhouse with a record of 0-8, they sure didn’t look win less. It was a tight shootout in the beginning, but once the Griffons made adjustments, the game was more controlled. The 5-4 Emporia Hornets were a much tougher contest, being a little more athletic than the Lions, and much more experienced. The Hornets game play seemed to mirror much of the Griffons' style. All three sets easily could have gone either way, but the Hornets unfortunately closed out the Griffons late in the sets. Coach Cory Frederick still sees youth as a major factor in these match-ups. “I still thinking they are putting way to much pressure on themselves,” Frederick said. “It’s kind of one of those humps to get over with youth and we’ve got to get past that. We’re still working on it, but it’s getting better.” Adjustments were needed after the loss to Northwest Missouri State on Sept. 11. There was more emphasis put on the player placement in practices leading up to the weekend, according to freshman Melissa Cairns, who finished the two games with a total of 18 kills. “We worked on our positional play, like where we’re standing,” Cairns said. "Rather than just working on where we should be, we need to be reading the game more to understand where we have to be.” Aside from the win against the Lions, the biggest thing to be happy about over the weekend was the outstanding athleticism that came from the freshman class. Between Cairns, Holly Pollock and Jessie Thorup, the three young players combined for 44 of the teams 77 kills over the weekend (22 kills both games). Fans can easily look forward to seeing this class get more comfortable and continue to grow in the future. “We’re a solid freshman class,” Pollock said. “We all work really hard and it shows on the court, and over the next few years we’ll keep improving.” A great student crowd, whose yells and cheers may or may not have assisted in the Lions surprisingly high of 14 serving errors, backed the team Friday. The crowd was much more thinned out, with 56 less fans the next night against the Hornets. It was obvious to everyone in attendance that there was pressure put on every Lions player as they served. “We should get them to come back as often as they can,” Frederick said. “They definitely helped us, that’s for sure.” On the negative side of the weekend, there was a scary moment when senior Lindsey Williams fell to the floor after an explosive jumpserve that resulted in an ace. She did not return after an apparent knee injury during her serve in the second set against Missouri Southern. There are still tests needing to be done before the team can verify if and when a possible return could be. It’s always hard to tell with those,” Frederick said. “It could be nothing and we could get her back in a week with some rehab. If it’s a minor tear to some cartilage it could be 10 days, but if you get into some ligament damage it could probably end her career.” The Griffons return to MWSU Fieldhouse to play Central Missouri at 7 p.m. on Sept 21, then Lindenwood at 1 p.m. on Sept. 22.

Volleyball loses home opener to Northwest Missouri State

Torey Lyman serving the ball to Northwest in the home opener on Tuesday Sept. 11.
[caption id="attachment_11453" align="alignnone" width="171"] Torey Lyman serving the ball to Northwest in the home opener on Tuesday Sept. 11.[/caption] The Griffons lose their first MIAA contest at home to rival Northwest Missouri State (25-16, 19-25, 21-25, 18-25) Sept. 11. The Griffons came back to St. Joseph hoping to start off conference play with a win, with a hot record of 6-2, the best start they’ve had since the beginning of the 2006 season where they started off 8-2. That great start took a painful turn in the heated rivalry game. Coach Cory Frederick saw many things that need to be changed and believes the team learned a lot in this loss. “The biggest thing was the momentum we had in game one was generated by Northwest missing some serves,” Frederick said. “That was a big thing we were talking about in the locker room, finding some ways to generate that on our side without waiting for the other team to make mistakes. It’s just growing pains with having a young team. We’ll get it figured out.” The Griffons got off to a great start, and owned the first set without any problems. The second set was a different story, with the two young gun teams fighting hard and staying just a couple points within each other. The momentum changed when a questionable call mid-set eventually overturned in the Bearcats' favor, putting them up 12-10. This led to a 4-point run that ultimately was too much ground for the Griffons to make up, losing the second and third set in similar fashion. Northwest quickly jumped out to a huge lead on a crushing 13-3 run in the fourth and final set. The Griffons showed signs of life later on bringing themselves back within five, but showed to be too much for the young squad. The first set charge was led by team leader Stephanie Hattey who had 4 kills, 10 on the night, and found help from the freshman Jessie Thorup, who also had 4 kills in the first set, with 8 on the night. The freshman showed no fear in her first MIAA battle against a rival at MWSU Fieldhouse. “I was nervous because it was my first home game, and we had a huge crowd,” Thorup said. “I respond well to nerves most of the time. When I’m nervous I usually put that energy into the game instead of my head.” Hattey noticed some things that occur often with young teams. “We’re so close to each other that it’s almost a disadvantage,” Hattey said. “We’re so afraid that we are going to make each other mad from saying the wrong thing, and we need get that mentality out. If that goes away then we’ll be fine.” Brooke Bartosh helped lead the way for Northwest with a great performance. Bartosh had 21 kills on the night, bringing her total to 107 so far in the Bearcats first 9 games. Hopefully the team can change their MIAA luck this weekend when they play the winless Missouri Southern on Friday, and Emporia State on Saturday.

Volleyball season ends

Cory Frederick said his team resembles that of the Kansas City Chiefs. Just when they give people hope, they fall flat. Missouri Western showed that in its final two games of the year, as it fell on the road to Pittsburg State and Southwest Baptist. Both losses came after the Griffons defeated Truman State in five sets and beat Missouri Southern in four. Frederick said he didn't have an answer as to why his team played the way it did, and that it will take months for him to come up with one. "[We] got a big win against Truman State and then just fizzled at the end," Frederick said. "If I stood up here and gave you the typical coaching spiel of 'yeah, we're happy with the season,' it would be a lie overall. We were really disappointed with how things ended because I think we should have ended a lot higher than we did; we should have finished  a lot stronger." Western finishes Frederick's third season as coach with a 14-17 record, his most wins since taking over. In conference, Western finished 7-11 (sixth in the conference), but there was not an MIAA tournament this season. The Griffons graduate only three seniors — Tahler Johnston, Alex Behnke and Hannah Zimmerman — and return most of its nucleus next fall. Three freshman proved to Frederick that they could play in the MIAA and received plenty of playing time over the course of the season. Libero Sarah Faubel and outside hitter Shelby Corkill both were slated into starters at the beginning of the year. Corkill finished the season with 293 kills, including two games in the middle of the season — Central Missouri and Pittsburg — where she not only led the team in kills, but against the Mules she posted the most kills in a game in over eight seasons for the Griffons. Another freshman came on late to provide solid hitting. Amanda Boender ended the season with 116 kills and will be counted on more next season. Stephanie Hattey improved from a year ago, where she was named MIAA Freshman of the Year, and will more than likely keep playing as the top setter for the next two seasons. Western has already began its recruiting as it has signed three players to come on and replace those leaving. Holly Polluck, Jessie Thorup and Jordan Chohon have all verbally agreed to come to St. Joseph and play for the Griffons. "When we look back at the season here in a couple weeks and go over eveything, I think we'll be pretty pleased with where some of our young players are at and what we have to look forward to in the future," Frederick said. "We've got some good recruits that have submitted here this week, and I think we'll be in good shape as we move forward."

Soccer season ends, volleyball entering final stretch

Soccer season ends Coach Chad Edwards took over a team that had just six days to prepare for its first match in August. After a full two months of engagement soccer, the season wrapped up over Halloween weekend. Western finished with a 4-10 record, doubling its win total from a season ago. Though the team missed out on another MIAA tournament appearance, and placed last in the division, the Griffons battled through adversity with so many freshman playing and a new coach. Throughout the first 10 games, the Griffons saw a 3-7 record, where at the half they were either tied or in the lead in every game. Edwards believes with recruiting well by adding forwards, his team will be in better shape for a post-season run next year. He also said this season will help out the future. "I'm really proud of the way they competed," Edwards said. "We got the culture established. I got what I'm trying to accomplish established." Among the seniors that played their last game in a Griffon uniform is Audrey Henderson. She leaves the program as the all-time leader in goals made with nine. "I want to thank the four seniors especially," Edwards said. "I'm really proud of the way they handled [this season]." Volleyball entering final push Coach Cory Frederick said he believes his team is playing the best volleyball they played all season. Two straight losses could contradict that, but he said that didn't exactly matter. Western dropped three sets to undefeated Washburn last Saturday, one day after losing a 3-2 split set game to Emporia State. The two losses didn't do anything to the Griffons in the conference, as they are still slated at fifth place with a 5-7 MIAA record and 12-13 overall. "We struggled a bit last week," Frederick said, "but we're playing some good volleyball. Win five out of six is our goal." Frederick pointed to freshman Amanda Boender, who hit .667 and added 10 kills Friday nights against Emporia, as somebody who might step in and help the team over the next two weeks. Basketball tip-off Thursday night, both basketball teams will scrimmage for the first time at the Looney Complex, at least the first time against an opponent. Livin' the Dream, a pro-am basketball team out of Kansas City, Mo., will bring their talents to Western to play the Griffons. The women's team will tip off at 5:30 p.m. followed shortly by the men, who are scheduled to play around 7 p.m. Tom Smith, who is one win shy of 600 total for his coaching career, is excited to see his team at home in this exhibition game. "I've never had any group work harder than this group has worked," Smith said. "I have three freshman for the first time. I can't wait till they're juniors. Hopefully I'm here when they're juniors," said Smith, who not only joked about that, but also about how he hopes to survive a sixth athletic director.

Athlete of the Week

Shelby Corkill
Name: Shelby Corkill Sport: Volleyball Year: Freshman Position: Outside Hitter Stats this week: Kills — 47; Digs — 41; Hitting Percentage — .242 Corkill helped the Griffon volleyball team secure three straight wins en route to their fifth place ranking in the conference. Corkill led the team in kills in two of the three games, including Friday night, when the team defeated Pittsburg State 3-2. The freshman tallied 26 kills then, which is the most kills in a game since Lindsay Fuller knocked down 28 against Central Missouri in 2003.