WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team will face Region 16/Missouri Community College Athletic Conference (MCCAC) foe Jefferson College at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, in Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.
The Grizzlies will enter the contest, which is being sponsored by Don’s Auto Service, with a 3-5 record after falling to No. 2 Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs, 12-25, 12-25, 20-25 in their season home opener Friday, Sept. 8, at the civic center and defeating MCCAC opponent St. Louis Community College 25-13, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23 Wednesday, Sept. 6, in St. Louis.
THOUGHTS ON IOWA WESTERN
“Iowa Western is a very good team,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. “They’ve been blowing teams out of the water this season. Their size, their calmness, their ability to play through points is very impressive. They’re about as good a team as I’ve seen in a very long time.”
The Reivers have yet to lose a game this season and have only dropped three sets out of the 33 they’ve played. Their only real test so far was Western Nebraska Community College from Scotts Bluff in their second game of the season, in which they prevailed in a five-set win on their home court in Council Bluffs.
“They have literally been playing through people,” Wiedemann said. “When you face a team that plays the way they do, you have to fight through long points. We’ve done that at times, but not enough. From where we were earlier in the week, I feel we did some things better, and we can keep adding to those pieces. When we talk about the things that need to be in place for a team to be great, right now Iowa Western has those pieces.”
Even so, Wiedemann said she saw some positives from Friday’s loss. “You want to see how your team reacts when they have something difficult in front of them, and we reacted better than we have been,” she explained. “These are the kinds of games we need to build on.”
Statistically, the Grizzlies were led on offense by freshman middle attackers Keziah Williams and Grace Stumbaugh and right side attacker Tatjana Trifkovic, who had six, five and five kills, respectively. Stumbaugh led the team in attacking percentage with .417 and in blocks with three, all of which were solos, while redshirt freshman setter Kinli Simmons led the team in assists with 13. Freshman libero Kamryn Artale led the team in passing rating with a 2.80 and in digs with 14. Williams led the team in points earned with 8.5.
“Keziah and Grace played pretty strong. That’s important. We want to continue to get stronger and make things happen instead of letting things happen to us,” Wiedemann said. “We moved Kamryn to middle back instead of left back because we felt it would help us. She is really good, and we want her to touch as many balls as she can. With one practice in, she did really well. What we’re going to gain with her playing that position, we’ll be better defensively.”
Wiedemann said she would like to thank Friday’s game sponsor, Hirsch Feed and Farm Supply, for their support, and the fans for providing a great atmosphere in which to play. “The crowd was awesome. The students got into it. Iowa Western’s coach said they always like playing here because of the great atmosphere,” Wiedemann said.
STATS FROM SLCC GAME
Statistical leaders in the St. Louis game were freshman middle attacker Yileen Ng He and Trifkovic with 12 and 11 kills, respectively; Simmons with 24 assists; freshman middle attacker Koty Cooper with a 2.65 passing rating and 11 digs; Stumbaugh with two blocks; and Williams with four service aces.
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit www.wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/. For complete statistics of the Grizzlies’ games, visit http://www.njcaa.org/sports/wvball/2017-18/div1/teams/missouristateuniversitywestplains.
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