Grizzlies go into home opener with 3-5 record
WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team will use the next week and a half to prepare for its Sept. 14 season home opener against John A. Logan College, Carterville, Ill., at the West Plains Civic Center.
The Grizzlies, who received votes in this week’s National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I poll, will go into that contest with a 3-5 record after faltering at the Salt Lake Community College Invitational Tournament Friday and Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, in Salt Lake City, Utah. On Friday, the Grizzlies fell to Snow College, Ephraim, Utah, 24-26, 21-25, 25-15, 21-25 and 10th ranked Western Wyoming Community College, Rock Springs, 24-26, 22-25, 17-25. Saturday, they lost to seventh ranked College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls, 18-25, 13-25, 21-25 and the eighth ranked host Bruins 20-25, 19-25, 18-25.
Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said inconsistency and problems with passing and serving kept the team from developing a flow on its side of the net. “We just did not get into the flow of the game to where we felt like we were controlling the points. Our passing was a little off, as was our serving. Passing and serving are key to developing a flow. When it’s not there, hittters start feeling like they have to force it, and that creates errors. As a result, we weren’t able to use our middles as effectively as we had the previous weekend.
“We had some really good games, but we didn’t maintain our consistency. That created frustration, and we didn’t handle it well,” she continued. “Now they understand that consistency is the key. Consistency gives you confidence, not the scoreboard. It will dictate how you play on your side of the court.”
Wiedemann also said the Grizzlies learned how important it is to get off to a good start in the first game of a match. “In both matches on day one, we lost the first game 24-26. The week before, we were winning those close games. The girls now understand the importance of finishing out that first game. It put them back on their heels a little when that happened, and they couldn’t get back to feeling comfortable on the floor.”
Despite the losses and the national rankings of three of their four opponents, Wiedemann said the Grizzlies weren’t intimidated by their foes. “We played some very good teams, and I still feel like we have the ability to play with these teams. Physically, we can play with them, we just have to get that consistency,” she said.
Statistically, the Grizzlies were led by freshman outside attacker Helena Peric, who recorded 32 kills and an attacking percentage of .254 for the tournament. Freshman setter Sarah Stretch led the team in assists with 128, freshman middle/outside attacker Torika Baleilekutu led the team in blocks with 10.5 and in points earned with 36.5, and sophomore outside attacker Taylor Swayzer led the team in digs with 44. Peric, Stretch and freshman libero Victoria Williams each had two aces during the tournament.
With a week and a half before their next match, Wiedemann said the Grizzlies have a “good break” in which the players “can really focus on technique and getting more consistent with the ball, taking care of it. One thing this group is willing to do is work. That in itself will make them feel they are capable of doing anything. All the little things we do, they are going to value.”
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, including a copy of the 2012 schedule, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.
Filed Under: Volleyball