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(West Plains) – Area residents can get their first look at the 2013 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team in action at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, during the annual Grizzly Alumni Volleyball Match at the West Plains Civic Center arena.

The contest, which is being held in conjunction with the university’s annual Welcome Week activities, will be free and will pit the 2013 Grizzlies against players from previous squads.

“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, hopefully, some faces from the past.”

Wiedemann said she works to obtain confirmations 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 expect 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 paved the way for them.”

The alumni will take on a Grizzly team that returns six players from last year’s squad – sophomores Victoria Williams, a 5-foot, 2-inch defensive player from Houston, Texas; Nella Ioramo, a 6-foot, 2-inch middle attacker from Union City, Calif; Torika Baleilekutu, a 5-foot, 11-inch middle/right-side attacker from Palo Alto, Calif.; Helena Peric, a 6-foot, 1-inch outside attacker from Smederevo, Serbia; and Laiz Novaes, a 5-foot, 8-inch attacker from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and redshirt freshman Grace Kiely, a 5-foot, 7-inch defensive player from Wildwood, Mo.

Joining the returners will be freshmen Leondra “Lee Lee” Barrett, a 6-foot, 2-inch middle attacker from Ooltewah Tenn.; Kaili Simmons, a 5-foot, 10-inch outside attacker from El Dorado Springs, Mo.; Ashley Bishton, a 6-foot, 2-inch middle/right side attacker from Liberty, Mo.; Brianna Zebert, a 5-foot, 9-inch setter from Pierce City, Mo.; Shalice Goss, a 5-foot, 7-inch setter from Houston, Texas; Alyssa Aldag, a 5-foot, 5-inch defensive specialist from Fort Worth, Texas; Adriajana Mazulovic, a 6-foot setter from Belgrade, Serbia; and Paris Witte, a 5-foot, 7-inch defensive specialist from West Plains.

“It’s always great to see our alumni, and there are so many people who enjoy the event – from the players, alumni, coaches, host families and former instructors and staff 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 2013 Grizzlies!”

For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit its website at

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