(West Plains) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team finished its regular season on a high note, defeating the Indian Hills Community College Warriors in three straight sets.
The 25-11, 25-19, 25-20 victory ups the Grizzlies’ season record to 21-12 and gives them a 12-game winning streak going into this weekend’s National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 16 Championship Tournament Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2, in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.
The Grizzlies, seeded first in the tournament, will meet the winner of Friday’s 5 p.m. semifinal match between No. 2 seed Jefferson College, Hillsboro, Mo., and No. 3 seed Mineral Area College, Park Hills, Mo., in the championship match at noon Saturday.
Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said Monday night’s win over Indian Hills was “an excellent way to finish up the regular season. We had a fantastic crowd, the atmosphere was wonderful, and the ‘Dig for a Cure Night’ was a great event. The girls were focused and ready to play, and they didn’t get caught up in the distractions around them.”
That was evident in the first set of the game when the Grizzlies put the Warriors on their heels early. “Indian Hills seemed really out of sync, and we just pounded the ball, which is what we needed to do. In fact, we pounded the ball the whole game. They did make runs here and there, but we always try to put ourselves in a situation where we don’t get down in the middle of the game, and we did that,” Wiedemann said.
The Warriors made a lineup adjustment in the second set, which helped them create a better and more diverse offense, but the Grizzlies’ firepower proved just too much for the Warriors to contain.
Sophomore outside/middle attacker Nella Ioramo and sophomore outside attacker Helena Peric led the offensive charge with 15 and 12 kills, respectively. Both also were very efficient with the ball, keeping the errors to a minimum and hitting .483 and .667, respectively.
“Nella and Helena took very good care of the ball, and when you get that kind of production out of a couple of players, it’s hard for another team to bring it back,” Wiedemann said. Ioramo also led the team in service aces with three, in points earned with 19 and in passing rating with 2.71.
Defensively, freshman libero Alyssa Aldag paced the Grizzlies with a team-leading 11 digs. Ioramo and freshman setter Brianna Zebert each had one block, and Zebert led the team in assists with 32. Complete statistics for all Grizzly matches can be found at http://stats.njcaa.org/sports/wvball/2013-14/div1/teams/MissouriStateUniversityWestPlains.
“We’d like to give a huge ‘thank you’ to the crowd and to Physical Therapy Specialists Clinic for their continued support of Grizzly Volleyball and the ‘Dig for the Cure’ event,” Wiedemann said. “Everyone looks forward to ‘Dig for the Cure’ each year, and we’re happy we can be a part of it.”
Saturday’s region championship game will be the last time area residents have the opportunity to see this year’s Grizzly Volleyball team in action at home. This year’s NJCAA District N match will be held at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Md., and the NJCAA Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championship Tournament, which had been held in West Plains for the past three years, has moved to Casper, Wyo., for the next three seasons.
“We really hope everyone comes out to the game. We love the energy of our home crowd,” Wiedemann.
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.