Area residents can get their first look at the 2018 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team in action at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, with the annual Grizzly Alumni Volleyball Game at the West Plains Civic Center arena.
The annual alumni game will pit the 2018 Grizzlies against players from previous squads. The game is being held in conjunction with the university's Move-In Weekend activities and will be free.
"This is always a fun event for us and our fans," Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. "It's a chance to see this year's team for the first time and some familiar faces from the past."
Wiedemann said she hears from alumni who plan to attend, but pointed out there are always surprises. "You never know who will show up for the game. Something we have to contend with is the fact that so many of our former players are coaches themselves, and they are in the middle of their preseasons, as well," she explained. "Even so, we hope to have a good group here to play and, as always, it is great to reconnect with our alumni and have our current players meet those who built the culture of our program. Our alumni created an atmosphere of excellence and it's important to not take it for granted."
The alumni will take on a Grizzly team that returns four players from last year's squad – Keziah Williams, a 6-foot, 2-inch middle attacker from Branson; Kamryn Artale, a 5-foot, 7-inch defensive specialist from Springfield; Tatjana Trikovic, a 6-foot right side attacker from Belgrade, Serbia; and Yileen Ng He, a 5-foot, 11-inch middle/right side attacker from Colon, Panama.
They will be joined by nine incoming freshmen – Gabriela Boneva, a 6-foot, 1-inch lefty right side attacker from Sofia, Bulgaria; Kelly Wiedemann, a 5-foot, 9-inch outside attacker from West Plains; Ella Akkerman, a 5-foot, 10-inch outside attacker from Otumoetai, New Zealand; Kaliegh Breathitt, a 5-foot, 4-inch defensive specialist from Springdale, Arkansas; Julia Dunning, a 5-foot, 10-inch setter from Queensland, Australia; Monika Leon, a 5-foot, 9-inch middle attacker from Hayward, California; Camilly Cristiny, a 5-foot, 9-inch outside attacker from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jahcey Farmer, a 5-foot, 11-inch right side/outside attacker from Springfield; and Emily Moore, a 5-foot, 8-inch defensive specialist/outside attacker from Aurora.
"It's always great to see our alumni, and there are so many people who enjoy the event – the players, alumni, coaches, former host families, and campus and community fans who were involved with the alumni when they were at Missouri State-West Plains as student athletes," Wiedemann said. "We invite everyone to come out, watch this year's alumni match and meet the 2017 Grizzlies!"
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit its website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.
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