Volleyball hosts Missouri Western


Willie Brown / The Chart

Ashlee Russell jumps to block a ball against Drury University last Saturday Sept. 18. The Lions shutout Drury, winning 25-20, 25-16 and 25-23.

Jeff Pinnell / Staff Writer

After a tough 3-0 loss to open conference play last Wednesday, Sept. 15, at Nebraska-Omaha, the Missouri Southern women’s volleyball team [7-3, 0-1 MIAA ] rebounded nicely with a 3-0 shutout win over Drury last Saturday.

“We ran into a buzz-saw up there,” Head Coach Chris Willis said of the Nebraska-Omaha loss. “I think they played about as good as they could play. They dominated us in doing the little things that don’t always show up on the scoreboard. It was probably our worst night of the season for our outside hitters. They have been rock solid, but they didn’t play well against Nebraska-Omaha.”

Not wanting to start a losing streak, the Lions came out Saturday and turned things around rather quickly. Southern dominated the match against Drury by scores of 25-20, 25-16, and 25-23 in their home opener and escaping a two-match losing streak.

“I was excited about the balanced attack with four players with double digit kills and all of them hitting over .300 were impressive,” Willis said of Amelia Judge, Rachel Olinyk, Renee Rheinecker and Ashlee Russell.  Judge led the team with 12 kills and a .667 average while the rest of the group finished with 11 kills apiece.

“The other thing was the energy that the girls brought to the court,” Willis added. “There is great chemistry on the court. We talked about bringing the three C’s of communication, coverage, and cheering. When you can do all those things that you control, you bring those to the court and you really create a great energy on the court for competition.”

The Lions plan to bring the energy tonight as they host the Truman State University Bulldogs [9-2, 2-1 MIAA] in their second MIAA match of the season. Truman is coming off an upset of Washburn, who was ranked No. 6 in the preseason polls, and is currently playing strong volleyball.

“We have a lot of respect for Truman,” Willis said of today’s opponent. “Our girls have the confidence with us beating them last year. They know they can win, but we just have to put that out on the floor. We need to come out there with confidence, swagger, and the ability to execute. If we do that we should be able to take care of business.”

The Lions will conclude this weekend with another tough match tomorrow night as the Missouri Western State Griffons [5-6, 1-2 MIAA as of Monday] visit Joplin.

Last season the Lions swept the Griffons by scores of 3-2 in St. Joseph and followed it up with a 3-0 Halloween victory at home.