Grizzlies take over top spot in region with win over Jefferson
WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team stands alone at the top of Region 16 play today after defeating arch nemesis Jefferson College of Hillsboro, Mo., 25-19, 25-18, 25-21 Thursday night, Oct. 11, at the West Plains Civic Center arena.
The Grizzlies, 15-5 overall and ranked ninth nationally in this week’s National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll, are now 2-0 in region play, and Jefferson drops to 2-1. Mineral Area College (MAC) of Park Hills, Mo., has lost all three of its matches against region opponents so far this season, falling to the Grizzlies once and Jefferson twice, the most recent loss coming Wednesday night, Oct. 10, in a five-set thriller. The Grizzlies will see MAC one more time at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, in Park Hills.
“This was a big region win for us, especially against a region opponent with whom we have a long history,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann. “We played well defensively, but I didn’t feel like we played as well offensively as we had the last couple of weeks. Even so, I was really happy with this win.”
The Grizzlies recorded 42 kills, with freshman outside attacker Helen Peric scoring 14 of them, but they strugged with their efficiency, Wiedemann said. “As a team, we had more hitting errors than we’ve had in the past few weeks. But the players didn’t let that get them down. They maintained the rest of the game and played well enough to win.”
Defensively, the Grizzlies recorded their highest per set dig average of the season at 25.3. “That’s fantastic!,” the coach said. “That puts you in a position to stay in the match, especially if you’re not doing well offensively.”
Peric and freshman middle attacker Torika Baleileikutu led the team in digs with 17 apiece. Sophomore outside attacker Taylor Swayzer scored two aces, and freshman setter Sarah Stretch had 40 assists. Freshman libero Victoria Williams led the team in passing rating with 2.83, and sophomore middle attacker Magda Zietek recorded the Grizzlies lone block of the match.
“If we don’t score points on blocking and digging a lot of balls, then our blocks are doing a good job,” Wiedemann said. “That means they’re putting up a block that gives us a chance to get a good dig.”
The Grizzlies and Jefferson are two of the eight teams competing in this weekend’s Colton’s Steak House & Grill/Holiday Inn Express Grizzly Invitational Tournament, which got underway this morning at the civic center. The Grizzlies were scheduled to play Southeastern Community College, Burlington, Iowa, at 1 p.m. today and Seward County Community College, Liberal, Kan., at 5 p.m. today. They’ll face Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kan., at noon Saturday. The results of these pool matches will determine their final match time Saturday. The championship match, set for 4 p.m. Saturday, will pit the first place teams out of each pool.
Other teams competing in the tournament include Barton County College, Great Bend, Kan.; New Mexico Military Academy, Roswell; and Wallace State College, Hanceville, Ala.
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