By: Brett Howery
Griffon volleyball started off a four-game away stretch with a 3-0 loss to No. 3 Nebraska-Kearney but then rebounded to defeat Fort Hays, 3-0.
Nebraska-Kearney moves to 17-0, 8-0 in the conference with this win, while Western fell to 9-6, 2-4 in the MIAA..
The game score-wise wasn’t close, with Missouri Western’s highest point-total being 17 thanks to scores of 13 and 15 in the first two sets.
MWSU was held to a season-low 31 kills and did not have a service ace for the first time this season.
Junior Ali Tauchen had a team-high eight kills with three total blocks and 13 digs, while Sam Duncan and Allie Kerns each had seven kills. Lauren Murphy had a team-high 26 assists. Tiana Butler led the team with 21 digs.
Even with the loss, coach Marian Carbin found some positives about the team.
“This team is resilient,” Carbin said. “They never gave up, and they kept fighting; they were able to bounce back from what, on paper, looked like a really bad loss.”
Tauchen believes this team is on the right track.
“I think no matter what happened, we’re going in the right direction,” Tauchen said. “There’s still half a season left, and we’re in good standing.”
The Griffons were able to bounce back from the loss in a big way when they beat Fort Hays, 3-0.
Tauchen, after only gaining eight kills versus UNK, got 17 against FHSU.
Tauchen had the highest hitting percentage for the Griffons, scoring a .483 hitting percentage on the day.
Carbin sees the talent that the team has in Tauchen.
“She’s a great player,” Carbin said. “She definitely fell into her role last year and made the most of it, and is doing just as great this year.”
Butler recorded her 300th dig of the season in Saturday’s match, tallying her season total to 307. Butler also has 759 digs in her career as a Griffon. Murphy also recorded a match-high 37 assists.
Tauchen is confident in Murphy’s abilities, which helped her get all the kills she has.
“Lauren’s just really good at placing the ball everywhere we need it to be,” Tauchen said. “Every player needs a different bump and she’s great at knowing what to do and when.”
Tauchen knows that the team is on the right path, no matter the wins and losses.
“I think each team has their own journey or path,” Tauchen said. “This is the one we’re on, so we’re just gonna keep getting better and move on.”
The Griffons travel to Edmond, Oklahoma, to face the Bronchos (13-6, 5-4 MIAA) on Friday, Oct.18. On Oct. 19, the Griffons head to Newman University (0-18, 0-9 MIAA) to end their road stretch.