The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team dropped an important home game Wednesday evening.
The Grizzlies (6-11) lost to No. 14 Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs, 26-28, 23-25, 25-16, 23-25 at the West Plains Civic Center.
"It was so hard to watch," Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. "It's not like we played horrible, but we didn't do the things we needed to win. The pieces are there, but we gave it away.
"Our issues are not talent based. It's trust, confidence and everyone understanding what the team needs," the coach added. "We're not missing the ability to play. Right now, we're missing having them care enough about what 'I' have to do for my team to be better. If it matters, you will find a way."
More players also need to step up and be leaders on the floor, Wiedemann said. "Leadership has to come from certain people. It can't fall on just one person's shoulders. We need our players to be present and be responsible."
More balanced offense
One positive from the evening came from the Grizzlies' offense. Moving sophomore Camilly Cristiny from outside attacker to the middle resulted in a more balanced output.
Cristiny led the team in kills with 12, followed by freshman outside attacker Maju Loureiro with 11, sophomore outside attacker Kelly Wiedemann 10 and sophomore outside attacker/setter Julia Dunning 9.
"We're spreading some things out, which makes a difference," the coach said.
Cristiny also recorded a team-leading .526 attacking percentage and 16 points earned, and freshman setter Julieta Campana led the team in assists with 43.
Defensively, freshman middle blocker Najla Bray had a team-leading 4.5 blocks, and Campana had a team best 16 digs for the night.
Immediately following the game, Coach Wiedemann said the team had to hear some hard things, do some hard things and ultimately talk through some hard things to get anywhere moving forward.
"Changes have to be made if this group is going to get things done together," she said. "Each player has to decide if they care enough to make those changes selflessly for the team because that's what the team needs from them. If you want something different, then you have to do something different. It's not easy, but it will be worth it."
The Grizzlies will see if they can make those changes this weekend when they compete in the Holiday Inn-South Broadway TJC Volleyball Invitational at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas.
On Friday, they will face Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College at 11 a.m. and Panola College, Carthage, Texas, at 3 p.m. Saturday, they will play the host team at noon.
They will return home for 6:30 p.m. game Wednesday, Oct. 2, against Region 16 rival Mineral Area College, Park Hills.
Coach Wiedemann said the team would like to thank Don's Auto Service "for their continued support of Grizzly Volleyball and all they do to help bring great teams to our home court. Also, a big thank you to our awesome crowd! We have the best fans and student section, and we love the noise and energy they support us with."
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, including the full schedule, visit its website at https://www.msuwpgrizzlies.com/sports/wvball/index.