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            WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team picked up a key Region 16 victory Friday night, Sept. 6, when they defeated the Jefferson College Vikings, Hillsboro, Mo., 25-19, 25-17, 15-25, 25-10 in their season home opener at Joe Paul Evans Arena in the West Plains Civic Center.
            The win ups the Grizzlies’ season record to 3-6.
            “I was really happy with the win,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said.  “It was a region win, which puts us in a great position moving forward during the regular season.  You have to win the region to advance in post-season play, so this is a good start to what we want to do.”
            For the most part, the Grizzlies dominated the match, but continued to struggle with efficient movement on offense, which created errors in the third and fourth sets and left the team with lingering frustrations.  “I was happy with how we passed and dug the ball, and we looked great offensively at times.  We had some big kills and big swings to put the ball away, but we still gave away too many points.  When you play the teams we have been playing, those types of errors make a huge difference,” Wiedemann said.
            The errors kept the Grizzlies from taking the match in three straight sets, and they also accounted for seven of the Vikings’ 10 points in the final set.  “We did good things in the fourth set, but we still had too many mistakes,” the coach said.  “We’re still having issues with movement.  We’re doing a very solid job defensively, but offensively, we need to step up, take better care of the ball and take good swings.”
            Statistical leaders for the Grizzlies included sophomore outside attacker Helena Peric, who led the team in kills with 20, attacking percentage with .361 and in points earned with 22.  Freshman setter Brianna Zebert led the team in assists with 40, freshman defensive specialist/libero Alyssa Aldag led the team in digs with 20, and freshman middle attacker Leondra Barrett led the team in blocks with four, including two solos.  Peric and sophomore outside/right side attacker Nella Ioramo each had two service aces.
            Wiedemann said she would like to thank Hirsch Feed and Farm Supply for sponsoring the match.  “They do such a great job of supporting us year in and year out, and we appreciate all they do for Grizzly Volleyball,” she said.
            The coach also praised the “phenomenal” crowd.  “They were high energy.  The cheer team did a great job, and the student section was fun to watch.  They got the rest of the crowd going.  There was a lot of involvement by everyone.  The crowd was really into the match.  It was great for our first home appearance of the season.”
            The Grizzlies return to the road this weekend for the Miami Dade College Invitational in Miami, Fla.  They will play No. 7 Miami Dade College at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, followed by a 6 p.m. match with No. 5 College of Central Florida of Ocala.  On Saturday, they will face No. 3 College of Southern Idaho from Twin Falls at 10 a.m. and Polk State College of Winter Haven, Fla., at 12:30 p.m.
            For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/.
Caption for Photo:
            SOPHOMORE MIDDLE ATTACKER Torika Balielekutu (No. 12) tips the ball over the net Friday, Sept. 6, during the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team’s season home opener against Region 16 rival Jefferson College, Hillsboro, Mo., in Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.  Looking on is freshman defensive specialist/libero Alyssa Aldag (No. 15).
 
Media release prepared by University Communications 

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