Grizzlies fall in home opener, but win on the road

SOPHOMORE LIBERO EMILY MOORE serves the ball during Tuesday’s Grizzly Volleyball season home opener against Indian Hills Community College at the West Plains Civic Center. (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)
SOPHOMORE LIBERO EMILY MOORE serves the ball during Tuesday’s Grizzly Volleyball season home opener against Indian Hills Community College at the West Plains Civic Center. (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team is now 4-7 after dropping its season home opener Tuesday night then bouncing back Wednesday evening to win on the road.

Tuesday, the Grizzlies lost to No. 13 Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Iowa, 16-25, 25-23, 10-25, 20-25. Wednesday, they defeated St. Louis Community College 25-16, 25-13, 25-11 in St. Louis in a Missouri Community College Athletic Conference (MCCAC) contest.

The distractions of playing at home for the first time this season played a factor in Tuesday's loss to Indian Hills, Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said.

"When you're on the road, volleyball is your focus. When you're at home, you have to manage everything else that goes with it. Your day is full, but that's life. You have to learn how to deal with having a lot going on," she explained.

"Some of our players seemed distracted, even in our serve and pass that afternoon before the game. As a result, we were up and down against Indian Hills," she said. "We have a lot to learn about staying present when there is a lot going on around us and being able to match the intensity necessary to compete."

Promising signs

The Grizzlies had several moments against the Warriors that showed how good they could be, but miscues and unforced errors, especially in the third set, kept them from developing a consistent flow through the game.

"We cannot afford to be on a roller coaster mentality," Wiedemann said. "There is nothing more frustrating than having a group who can play so well together when everyone is present and so poorly when some decide to check out.

"The ability is there, but we have to develop more maturity to consistently put things together time and time again," the coach said.

"We have a lot of growing up to do," she added. "Our ability to become a better team is something our players have to prioritize. They have to realize that they're not here to just play a game, they're  here to compete. We need more of our kids to step up and be competitive instead of relying on just a few to do the job. Everyone has a job to do, and there is an expectation of getting that job done."

Statistical leaders for the Grizzlies include sophomore outside hitter Kelly Wiedemann who had 13 kills, 13 digs and 14.5 points earned; freshman setter Julieta Campana with 30 assists; sophomore libero Emily Moore with a passing rating of 2.26; and freshman middle blockers Najla Bray and Nayla Watkins each with two total blocks.

Thanks to sponsors

Coach Wiedemann said she would like to thank Hirsch Feed and Farm Supply for sponsoring Tuesday's game and Southern Bank for sponsoring the Grizzly Booster Club's Fall Picnic, which took place just prior to the game in the civic center's exhibit hall.

"The support we receive from our sponsors is second to none. Hirsch Feed and Farm Supply has been involved since the beginning of Grizzly Athletics, and their support has been instrumental in what we do as a program," she said.

"Southern Bank has been so good to work with, and for them to jump in to help create a great atmosphere by providing the meal for the Grizzly Booster Club picnic before the game was great," she added. "We appreciate everything they do for Grizzly Athletics and Grizzly Volleyball."

Road win

Wednesday, the Grizzlies played better against the Archers. "Our players knew what they had to do, and they did it. We took advantage of capitalizing on their mistakes and dominated the game from start to finish," Coach Wiedemann said.

Statistical leaders in the contest were Kelly Wiedemann with nine kills, three service aces, 15 digs and 12.5 points earned; Campana with 24 assists; sophomore outside attacker Camilly Cristiny with a .556 attacking percentage and 2.50 passing rating; and Bray with three blocks.

Next up for the Grizzlies is a 6:30 p.m. contest at home Tuesday, Sept. 17, against Region 16/MCCAC rival Jefferson College from Hillsboro. The game will take place at the West Plains Civic Center. Lazy W. Pallets is the game sponsor.

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, including the full schedule, visit its website at https://www.msuwpgrizzlies.com/sports/wvball/index.