Trio of wins helps volleyball move up

Missouri Western volleyball coach Cory Frederick said he had to attend over five games to see how good Shelby Corkill really was. Against Pittsburg State Friday night, the freshman reminded him why she was recruited here. Western defeated Pittsburg 3-2 Friday at the Looney Complex, which improved its record to 11-11. Corkill had 26 kills, the most since 2003 for a Griffon. "That's a great stat to hear," Frederick said. "It's not the best stat in the world because it also means we had to play five games. We'd prefer not to go five games." Western took the first game 28-26 after seniors Tahler Johnston and Alex Behnke closed the game out with a kill and a block, respectively. The second game went to the Gorillas, but it was close, as they won 25-22. The all-important third game was settled late, when Western's Corkill, up 22-18, killed three scores for her team to take the 2-1 advantage. "She doesn't even really seem to notice when she's playing that well," Frederick said. That's when drama occurred. Up 2-1, Western nearly ended Pittsburg's night. It took a 20-10 lead behind five straight Sarah Faubel points off aces. But Western wouldn't hold. Christa McCaw added her own four-kill streak, followed two Kristen Erikson attacks as the Gorillas mounted a 17-5 run to tie the game. "We've got a very young team, and when things like that happen, it doesn't continue to slide down hill," Frederick said. "To not have those mental letdowns when we do struggle in a game like that — to be able to pick it back up — that speaks well in the future." In the end, it wouldn't matter, as Western survived the outing, winning game five 15-9. Stephanie Hattey totaled 60 assists in route to the victory. Corkill said she is finally more comfortable playing college volleyball, and she showed it, hitting over .300 percentage in the win. Frederick said that is very encouraging. The Griffons didn't stop their weekend victories there, as they continued to improve their record. Western holds a 12-11 record and are 5-5 in the conference, good for fifth place, after it defeated Southwest Baptist Saturday at the Looney Complex. The Griffons controlled the game late, after falling behind 1-0. "[The girls] relaxed a little more," said Frederick, before he said it should continue the rest of the season. "They look more focused." Western went on to win the next three games. The second game was close, but the Griffons took the game by two, tying the contest at one game a piece. The Griffons had to score over 30 points to win the third game, and they did just that, taking a 2-1 lead with a 31-29 game. The Bearcats were too tired to win the fourth game, as Western ended their night with a deciding game four win, 25-8. Corkill led the team in kills again, this time with 16. The freshman also had 18 digs. Last Tuesday night, Western went on the road to defeat Missouri Southern State. It won 25-13, 25-21 and 25-12. The three-game win streak Western currently has comes after it fell four straight games in the past two weeks. Both Hattey and Johnston have suffered mild injuries. However, Frederick said it hasn't affected either player. Western has eight more games left in the regular season, with five at home.

A serious slapdash

One quick note: During this process, if random names drop in, that isn’t a bad thing. It's supposed to be that way. Random references are great, unless you’re Pat Forde, then it’s just annoying. Matt Gleaves knows what I’m talking about. So, just remember, random names — as well as regular names (if that makes sense) — will appear. Soccer, future looks kind of bright  What about this year’s soccer team? Kyle Inman sure thinks highly of them. And why not? The freshman are playing above expectations, and Missouri Western will see most of this team for the next few years. On Thursday they played against Northwest Missouri State. They lost 5-1, as Northwest ran up the score like it were in the BCS, trying to leap frog somebody into National Championship contention. Of course the game was tied at the half; it wouldn't be a Western soccer game if that had not occurred. Next up was coach Chad Edwards' alma matter — Missouri Southern State. Western lost this game as well, putting the MIAA tournament in doubt. K.C. Ramsell hasn’t scored since the fifth game, but she is still finding ways to put the ball in position; the freshman just isn’t hitting the shot on goal as much. If Ramsell, Erin Widrig and a few other key players can score, and Kelly Voigts can continue to stand pat as goalie, the final two weeks of the regular season can see improvement. Western plays Fort Hays State, Washburn and Emporia State next. The Griffons defeated those last two teams on the road, now they have them at home. It’s simple: Western wins the three games, it makes the tournament. If not, better luck next year. Volleyball, never sub in until you have to After losing three straight, the losses continued. The Griffons fell 3-1 to Hays on Friday. Then another road game occurred when the Griffons went to Joplin to play Southern. The Griffons finally snapped the loss streak, winning 3-0 against the Lions. Before further analysis can occur, people must take a second and look at what Frederick has been able to do over the past three years he has been at the helm for the Griffons. After the 2010 team finished the season with an 12-17 record, the Griffons saw three seniors graduate. Coach Cory Frederick said he would recruit hard and hard enough he did. Sarah Fauble is making her presence known. She is like Todd Fuller to the Griffon News: very underrated. This team also has great chemistry. Tahler Johnston is a great player. Alex Behnke is too, but both will graduate after the season. They’ll be alright. Considering Stephanie Hattey is only going to be a better player in the next couple years, as well as Shelby Corkill and Sarah Fauble, leadership and skill shouldn’t be a problem. If only this team can take advantage of the rest of this year’s schedule, people will realize the talent they have. They also have terrific coaching, including Cory Gove, stat keeper. Another football column  I think I’ve written a few too many columns about Western football already this season. The players and coaches probably agree. But does it really matter? It’s not like we’ve overwhelmed them with columns in the past. Regarding Western’s three-game win streak, it will continue. Am I guaranteeing it? No. Am I saying it? Yes (Dwayne Bowe). Come on, if the Griffons blow a chance at improving their record to 7-2 before Halloween, it will be a monumental upset. It should make SportsCenter’s Not Top 10 list. Despite losing to the teams they were supposed to lose to and beating the teams they were supposed to beat, the Griffons won somewhat toss-up games against Southern and Emporia. That has to be encouraging to Jerry Partridge and his staff, considering there was always “that one game” where Western would lose and jeopardize a post-season appearance. Saturday, Western traveled to Emporia and held on to a hard-fought 22-16 victory. Western had to earn the win, and, in all seriousness, it knew that going into Emporia, because the Hornets do not lay down for any opponent. Homecoming is next. Befriending the Enemy  I work for the Griffon News, this is obvious. But, I also take part in the newspaper from across the town: The St. Joseph News-Press. As an employee there, I can’t work for the Griffon News 24/7. I can only work for them 16/4 and 24/3. The other 8/4 I am a News-Press employee. Confused? Now you know how I feel. I befriend the enemy. I play both sides. I’m like Ashton Kutcher cheating on his wife. Except, I don’t know who Demi Moore is in this situation. I’m put in positions many times where I have to work downtown and cannot attend games. Thanks goes to my Editor-In-Chief (Dave Hon) and my boss Ross Martin (Western alum, ‘05), who understand this. Anyway, it’s rough. Last Thursday, when Western played rival Northwest, I was unable to work for the Griffon News. I had to attend the game on behalf of the News-Press. I had to cover Northwest for the most part, especially since it won and forward Victoria Von Mende scored a team record 10 goals this season. I still talked to the Griffon News staff who attended, including the Break Away guy, Jason Brown. I couldn’t tweet the game to the GriffonNewsCom followers, but instead, NPSportsNow followers received the game updates. Last Saturday, this is even better, I had to attend a state quarterfinal softball game, and could not make a trip to Emporia. I then sent a tweet out to GriffonNewsCom followers to follow NPSportsNow for updates. Oh, it’s worse: This Saturday, when everybody is attending Homecoming events and the football game, I will be at District Cross Country, covering local high school Central trying to pave its way to state. They may, because they have those Bachman twins. But anyway, scheduling conflicts again occur. A Little Inside Info I don’t wear glasses. Many people know this, but I needed a pair in order to take my picture. This isn’t the News-Press, where, when they write a column, they are submitted into the paper with a full body length photo of them looking up, so that their shoes are the size of pebbles. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. But here we have to use a real mug shot (and not a Dave Williams type of mug shot, where you actually have a reason to look eccentric). So instead of my picture focusing on my face and who I am, I needed an object to distract the reader. Insert Prof. Bob Bergland’s glasses. Instantly, my face became a hit. Not two hours after print people were asking me about the photo. Since I am unable to grow a beard at this point in my life, and Bergland will not let me barrow his goatee, I need a new disguise. Any help? One last note: My computer at the Griffon News in use, so I am taking this opportunity to type from Blair Stalder’s. The only reason why I mention this: Stalder needs a reference every now and then. Everyone knows Stalder doesn’t receive enough credit. “Stadler” on the other hand ...

Athlete of the Week

Name: Stephanie Hattey Sport: Volleyball Year: Sophomore Position: Setter and Right-Side Hitter Stats this week: Assists — 93; Digs — 33 Hattey helped keep the Griffons in both road games this week with her setting and ability to keep the volleyball in play. She led the team in digs in both games as well as maintaining her job as the setter. Hattey had all but four of her teams assists between the two games.

Volleyball drops two straight as season continues

The Griffon Volleyball team was unable to take the momentum that it built after a home win over rival Northwest Missouri Tuesday into the weekend road trip. Western traveled to Warrensburg Friday to take on No. 8 ranked Central Missouri and was defeated 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-22). “They are really good this year. They don't make any mistakes; on the season they are hitting almost .350,” coach Cory Frederick said. “We are going to have to get more consistent if we are going to play with them later in the season because they just don't make any errors.” Alex Behnke led the way for the Griffons with 11 kills. Shelby Corkill had seven, and Tahler Johnston added six. Stephanie Hattey had 35 assists and 13 digs, leading the team in both. Saturday the Griffons made the trip to Kirskville to take on the Truman State Bulldogs. The match was a five set battle that ended in a victory for the Bulldogs 3-2 (19-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 12-15) “I give Truman credit,” Frederick said. “They played much better than I've see them play this season. Their crowd was phenomenal, and I think that had to do with the fifth game that we lost.” With the match tied up at 2-2, it all came down to the crucial game five. The Griffons pulled out to a quick 4-1 lead but allowed Truman to get back in it and take the lead 7-6. The Bulldogs never looked back and went on to win the fifth set 15-12. Behnke led the Griffons in kills with 15, followed by Johnston with 14 and Hannah Zimmerman added 12. Corkill and Meredith McCormick chipped in with 11 kills each. Hattey had 58 assists and 20 digs on the day. “I thought it was a match we should have won, we just, for some reason, could not put everything together,” Frederick said. “As soon as we would fix something, two other things would fall a part. We were having a lot of trouble with our rotations.” According to Frederick, a win at Truman would have been helped the Griffons substantially, as it would have allowed them to move into fourth place in the MIAA conference. “It was a rough weekend, but I think we got some good things, and we will recover,” Frederick said. “We need to get that killer mentality. Right now we are playing a little bit scared, so we are going to try and get over that. The next stretch of games are important for us, and they are all winnable."

Northwest: Beat it

Tahler Johnston kills the ball in the third set of Western’s second conference home game. The Griffons defeated the Bearcats in split games Tuesday night.
[caption id="attachment_6486" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Tahler Johnston kills the ball in the third set of Western’s second conference home game. The Griffons defeated the Bearcats in split games Tuesday night."][/caption] Before the fifth game ended, Missouri Western looked flustered. Down by four, the Griffons needed a spark in order to defeat their MIAA rival Northwest Missouri State. But instead of one player in particular garnering the change, a team effort for Western was all it needed. Western defeated Northwest in a five-game set Tuesday in the Looney Complex. With the victory, the Griffons improved to .500 in the conference and 9-7 overall. "The energy that we brought here was better [than last week's]," coach Frederick said. "The carry over from Texas was we still had a little bit of ball control issues. That's something we've got to get under control." Although the Griffons won the first game, the following game didn't look like the same team. Western showed little energy, in contrast to its opponent. "It's really common to see, where you get up 1-0, and you kind of relax a little bit," said Frederick, who is in his third season as the coach. "I'm happy to see towards the end of the game they'll stick with it and finish out the match." Western finished Northwest in the final game, though it had trouble early. With his team down 8-5, Frederick called a timeout and the team rallied around each other to finish out the game on a 10-4 run and win 15-12. Western won each of its other two games 25-19. It lost the second game 25-18 and the fourth 25-14. Torey Lyman led the team in digs with 14. Steadily behind her with 12 was freshman Sarah Faublel. "It's such a big deal since they're our rivals, and we're glad that we got it accomplished," Faubel said. She also gave credit to senior Tahler Johnston, who tied Shelby Corkill with 14 kills, which led the game. "She's such a star player and she brings so much energy and team leadership to our team." Johnston was one of four players who had double-digit digs. Besides the aforementioned Faubel, Lyman and Johnston, Stephanie Hattey had 10 digs herself. The 2010 MIAA Freshman of the Year had 48 assists to help Western win and secure its third straight home win over the Bearcats.