Most Missouri Western students have that one friend who goes to another college and always talks about how great their athletics program is even though their school is only good at one sport. The conversation, of course, ends up in a semi-serious argument to see who can one-up the other person. This fall, Western athletics have given students the upper hand in that argument. Obviously football is going to be involved in the debate, but it should be. Since 2000, our football program has a record of 122-55, which includes six Mineral Water Bowl appearances, four NCAA playoff berths and two MIAA championships. Those facts alone might win the argument, but why stop there? Volleyball had an incredible year with an overall record of 22-8. During their season, the Griffons compiled eight wins in-a-row, which is the longest win streak since 2002. The success led them to finish the season tied for No. 4 in the MIAA. Also, the team had the chance to witness libero Sarah Faubel break the career digs record, which was originally set with 1,565 digs but now stands at 1,799. Thanks to soccer’s historic season, Western students will be on the winning end of a one-sided dispute. While ending their season with a 9-9-1 record, the team broke a staggering 21 combined career and season records. Individually, forward Tara Russell now holds five Griffon soccer records, goalie Sarah Lyle holds four and head coach Chad Edwards holds one. During the historic season, Western amassed a five-game win streak and also made it to the MIAA tournament. The fall sports have made it easy for students to brag about Missouri Western’s wide spread athletic success. Going into winter break, students have nothing to fear when they engage their friends in the inevitable “whose school is better” argument. This is the perfect time to take pride in what Western athletics have accomplished.
The Griffons wrap up the regular season Friday, with an away match against No. 17 University of Central Missouri. Western struggled against Central Missouri during their first meeting of the year, which resulted in a three set sweep to open the regular season. Since that opening loss the Griffons have amassed an overall record of 22-7 and they find themselves in a three-way tie for third in the MIAA with a 16-5 conference record. The Jennies, however, have compiled a 21-8 overall record and are in a two-way tie for first in the MIAA conference with a record of 18-3. Also, Central Missouri is currently No. 17 nationally. Although the Jennies are a tough opponent, libero Holly Pollock believes that the Griffons have the advantage. "I think our team chemistry is an advantage we have over the majority of our opponents," Pollock said. "We are all great friends and I think that is hard to find in many programs. We are also going into this game as the underdog which is the position our team loves to be in." Central Missouri will rely on the offense of outside hitter Carly Sojka, who leads the team in kills with 397. They will also lean on the defense of middle blocker Haley Thompson, who leads the team in blocks with 41. Western will depend on the aggressiveness of right side hitter Jessie Thorup, who leads the team in kills with 377, as well as the stingy defense of libero Sarah Faubel, who leads the team in digs with 389. The last game of the year is being approached like any other game the Griffons have played, according to Pollock. "The team has been practicing and continuing to work just as hard as we have for the entire season," Pollock said. "This is only the last game for our four seniors; the rest of us will continue playing, so we are taking advantage of our time together to better ourselves and the program." Western will have the chance for vengeance when they take on Central Missouri Friday, Nov. 14.
After going 1-1 over the weekend, with a win against Missouri Southern and a loss to Central Oklahoma, Western bounced back with the sweep of Lindenwood University at home on Tuesday. The Griffons got off to a slow start in the first set, allowing the Lions to tie the set 10-10. Western quickly stepped up their play, pulling away from Lindenwood 22-14 before winning the set 25-18. In the second set, Western played tough, gaining a 10-4 lead before Lindenwood called a timeout to regroup. Once play resumed, the Griffons picked up where they left off which lead to a 25-19 set win. Western continued their aggressive attack in the third set, compiling their biggest lead of the match, while leading Lindenwood 21-9. The team put the match away after an attack error by the Lions gave them a 25-13 win. Head coach Marian Carbin had many reason why the Griffons played efficiently. "They played with the chemistry that we saw earlier in the season," Carbin said. "We had a lot of really good individual performances offensively and we just had fun." Right side hitter Kelsey Olion knows that they have to be able to come back from losses quickly in order to obtain their goals. "We know that we do not have time to sit around and lick our wounds," Olion said. "We have to get right back on if we want to go towards our ultimate goal." The win over Lindenwood improved Western's record to 19-5 overall and 13-3 in the MIAA conference. They are still behind Nebraska-Kearney and tied with Central Missouri in the MIAA standings. With six games left to play in the regular season, the Griffons will have plenty of opportunities to move up in the rankings. Although Western will have the chance to play both Nebraska-Kearney and Central Missouri in their upcoming matches, Carbin expects to the team to focus on one match at a time. "I think we need to play the way we have been playing; with focus on each match," Carbin said. "We also know that we still have our destiny in our hands and that we still get to play Nebraska-Kearney to get right back in the running with them." The Griffons are confident that they now have the key to success according to right side hitter Jessie Thorup. "We have really good chemistry and we are finally putting it together on and off the court," Thorup said. "We get along so well and I think that helps with our success on the court." Western is back on the road with a match against Southwest Baptist University on Friday, Oct. 31. With a on Friday the Griffons will tie the most conference wins in school history with 14.
After sweeping the season series against Washburn on Saturday, Western dives back into conference play with a home game against Missouri Southern State University. Last weekend, against the Ichabods, the Griffons got off to a slow start causing the team to drop the first set 25-20 and set two 26-24. Western went on to win the next three sets in a row, after making quick adjustments, to defeat the No. 5 rank team in the nation for the second time this season. The weekend win marks the first time that the Griffons have swept a season series against the Ichabods since 2000. Although the Western had their problems, on the way to a win against Washburn, head coach Marian Carbin is proud of the way her team never gives up. “I really love the way the team is fighting right now,” Carbin said. “They believe in themselves and they believe that they can win no matter the circumstances.” Western returns home to begin a three-game home stand against Missouri Southern, after playing the last four out of five games on the road. The Lions have had their fair share of struggles this season, leading to a record of just 5-16, and will be coming to the Fieldhouse hoping to halt their three match losing streak. While Southern may not have an impressive record, Carbin will not overlook the Lions. “Southern gave Central Missouri some trouble last week by taking their match to the fifth set, so obviously they have some talented players,” Carbin said. “We will have to be sharp on Friday.” Junior libero Holly Pollock has also stressed that no team in the MIAA can be taken lightly. "In our conference, no team can be overlooked even if they have not been winning. Every team is going to fight as hard as they can to win each time they step on the court," Polluck said. "We take each opponent just as serious as the next and go into every game playing to win." The Lions will rely heavily on their only senior, Katie Politte, when they face the Griffons. Politte currently leads her team in three individual stat categories, including kills with 252. The Griffons possess an overall record of 17-4 and a conference record of 11-2. After the weekend, Western is still at the top of the MIAA and in a three-way tie for first with Nebraska-Kearney and Central Missouri. With the win over Washburn, Western is now off to its best start since 1987 and has begun receiving votes to become nationally ranked. Western will be aiming to quickly get passed Southern on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. and improve their chances at becoming the lone No. 1 ranked team in the MIAA conference.
Sarah Faubel was born and raised into a Christian family, in Lincoln, Neb. She has allowed her faith to be her guide through life on and off the volleyball court. “Faith has been important to my family and me for a really long time,” Faubel said. “It is what drives our life.” Faubel began developing a love for volleyball in the second grade. As she progressed through different levels of the sport, Faubel became drawn toward the team chemistry and overall exciting atmosphere of volleyball. The experience that she gained while playing at a young age quickly made her a standout player once she entered high school. In four years as a varsity letter winner for the Lincoln Southwest Silver Hawks, Faubel received many accolades including, All-Conference and All-State Honorable Mention, as well as Second Team All-State. Faubel has also left a mark on her alma mater by becoming second in school history in kills and serve receive percentage. Although she accomplished many athletic achievements, Faubel has always been led by her faith. “My faith involves grace over performance,” Faubel said. “It can make the game seem a little more lighthearted.” After high school, Faubel brought her faith-driven style of play to Missouri Western where she quickly became an asset to the team, according to head coach Marian Carbin. “She is the ultimate team player,” Carbin said. “She is a constant encourager and she has a positive attitude when it comes to the game.” In 2011, as a freshman, Faubel appeared in 31 matches and finished second on the team in set-assists and led the team in receipt-assists. During Faubel’s sophomore year she led the team in digs, while appearing in 31 matches. She also made an impact with her academics by receiving the MIAA Academic Excellence Award and was named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll. In 2013, Faubel had completed her best year as a Griffon, compiling 527 digs. That number marks just the second time since 1983 that a Griffon had over 500 digs in a season. The 2014 season has already become Faubel’s most prestigious season, as she found her place in Missouri Western history during the Griffon’s match against the Southwest Baptist Bearcats. During the game, Faubel recorded 11 digs, which was enough to break the all-time digs record originally set by Sarah Ekdahl during her time as a Griffon athlete form 1997-2000. “I was in disbelief,” Faubel said. “I felt humble about the whole experience and just being there with all my teammates is something I will never forget.” The team’s reaction to the broken record shows the respect they have for Faubel, according to Carbin. “Everyone was super proud of her and I think that goes back to how the team respects the way she plays and lives her life,” Carbin said. Faubel will continue to contribute to the team’s success as the Griffons build upon their 14-4 record. Western progresses through MIAA play with an away game against the Emporia State Hornets on Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.