TYLER, Texas – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team showed some improvement at the Holiday Inn-South Broadway Tyler Junior College Invitational Tournament this past weekend in Tyler, Texas, even though they dropped all four of their games at the event.
On Friday, the Grizzlies (4-14) fell to No. 8 Hill College, Hillsboro, Texas, 16-25, 21-25, 25-22, 23-25, and No. 16 Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Iowa, 25-23, 16-25, 13-25, 25-22, 10-15. Saturday, they lost to Monroe College, New Rochelle, New York, 17-25, 19-25, 25-23, 19-25 and No. 5 Panola College, Carthage, Texas, 17-25, 25-23, 21-25, 20-25.
“We’re playing more aggressive, which is a good thing, but we have to be more efficient, too,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. “When things get tight, we can’t start holding back. If we want what we’re doing to pay off, we have to go about it with perseverance and determination. We can’t just throw in the towel because things aren’t going our way with wins and losses.”
The Grizzlies had their opportunities to be successful throughout the weekend, but they couldn’t capitalize. “We put ourselves in a position to come out on top, if we had taken better care of the ball,” the coach said. “Hill is the type of team that doesn’t give you a lot of room to just coast. You have to stay on top of things. You have to execute well against them to keep them from executing their game plan. Their middles are the key. If you can’t keep them out of system, they’re going to play well.”
Despite the loss, the Grizzlies learned a few things against Hill that they applied against Indian Hills, Wiedemann said. “Indian Hills was a very physical team. That first set was played well on both sides, but our ability to maintain was lacking. We just handed the second and third sets to Indian Hills. We did give ourselves an opportunity in the fifth set, but we can’t expect to just pull it out then. We needed to keep fighting earlier to keep pressure on them.”
Monroe is fairly new to the NJCAA Division 1 level, but “they’re doing the things they need to do to be a very good D1 team,” Wiedemann said. The program is scheduling trips to tournaments in Texas, Idaho and Iowa during the season to face some of the league’s top teams, “which is exactly what we do,” the coach added. “Monroe is a very dynamic team. They’re definitely a team to watch.
“Against Panola, I feel like we did some things better, but they’re No. 5 in the nation, so you need to do better things more consistently if you want to win,” Wiedemann added.
“Our focus is on building consistency and understanding we have to put more value in what’s in front of us,” she continued. “We can keep making progress, and it will be expected to keep moving forward to get better. That is a standard with any Grizzly team, regardless of when they played here.”
Leading the Grizzlies statistically were freshman right side hitter Tatjana Trifkovic, who had 39 kills and 42.5 points earned; freshman setter Miriam Cardoner Soler with 72 assists; freshman middle attacker Keziah Williams with 12.5 blocks including five solo blocks; Soler and redshirt freshman setter Kinli Simmons with three service aces each; and freshman libero Kamryn Artale with 65 digs.
The Grizzlies will next take the court Oct. 13-14 in the Grizzly Invitational Tournament sponsored by Colton’s Steakhouse and Grill and Lazy W Pallets. Joining the Grizzlies will be Tyler Junior College, Panola, Indian Hills, Hutchinson Community College from Hutchinson, Kansas, and Jefferson College from Hillsboro.
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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