The Missouri Tigers improved to 5-0 with a comfortable 78-64 non-conference win over visiting IUPUI Monday night at Mizzou Arena.
Jabari Brown led all scorers with 24 points, including 5-8 from behind the arc. Jordan Clarkson was close behind with 22.
Tim Fuller wrapped his fill-in work for the suspended Frank Haith with a perfect record. Haith will return to the bench on Thursday as the Tigers face Northwestern in Las Vegas.
The Tigers jumped out to a 13-4 early lead and never looked back on their way to a 22nd straight home victory, 77th in a row against non-conference foes at Mizzou Arena.
Ja’Rob McCallum scored 14 points and Ian Chiles added 12 for IUPUI (1-5).
Mike Scott Reporting
Veteran lands four-year contract, provides offensive upgrade at shortstop
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Still two weeks away from the Winter Meetings, the Cardinals weren’t expecting to have already checked the two biggest items off their offseason wish list — center field and shortstop.
The second piece of the puzzle that fit was shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who was signed to a four-year contract on Sunday.
“Much faster than we even anticipated,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said on Monday. “We were looking at sort of exhausting all of these different markets to make sure that we were going to make the right decisions.”
Financial terms were not revealed, but multiple reports said the deal is worth $52 million. Talks first began at the General Managers Meetings earlier this month, but accelerated to serious negotiations quickly on Friday night and Saturday morning.
St. Louis acquired center fielder Peter Bourjos from the Angels on Friday for third baseman David Freese.
“There are still some opportunities for us over the next six, seven weeks as we progress to the Winter Meetings,” Mozeliak said. “But, if the clock stopped today, we’d be pretty happy with our club.”
Peralta, 31, hit .303/.358/.457 for the Tigers last season, with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 107 games. Assuming he maintains his track record, he would be an offensive upgrade at the position the Cardinals have been seeking. The price is certainly steep, as there weren’t many right-handed-hitting, offensively strong shortstops available.
“We knew center field was very important, but the shortstop market on the other hand was one that was not deep in free agents,” Mozeliak said. “There were really two being bantered about us. For us, it was really focusing on someone who could hit from the right side, somebody that was a steady defensive player, someone that had experience and could fit right in. We certainly explored the trade market at many levels, trying to see what we could do there, but the acquisition costs seemed very preventative for us to move forward with that.”
Cardinals shortstops — led by Pete Kozma – had a batting line of .222/.280/.303 in 2013, with four homers and 54 RBIs. While Kozma is a stronger defensive option and Peralta is not known for defense, Mozeliak felt the signing was for the sum of the parts.
“Analytically, this may be surprising to you, he graded out pretty well — certainly along the lines of an average shortstop,” Mozeliak said of Peralta. “You combine that with his offensive skills, all of a sudden he becomes well above average at that position.”
However, Peralta had a controversial 2013 season, as he served a 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis, a clinic that allegedly furnished performance-enhancing drugs to some players. He returned just in time to help Detroit in the postseason — albeit as its left fielder — and batted .333 (11-for-33) during the playoffs.
“There are always concerns,” Mozeliak said. “When you think about what you’re trying to build, a lot of things factor into how you put a club together. Character and makeup are something that we weigh into our decision making. But I think in his case, he admitted what he did. He took responsibility for it. At this point in the game, there’s nothing that says he can’t go play or isn’t free to sign with some other club.”
Because Peralta wasn’t given a qualifying offer by Detroit, the Cardinals do not have to forfeit a first-round Draft pick as compensation. But the club did go somewhat out of character in committing to an older player like Peralta for such a long-term contract.
Why did St. Louis agree to four years?
“As you guys can imagine, this is a lot market driven,” Mozeliak said. “Two [years] would have made a lot more sense, but that wasn’t possible. You have to sometimes adjust to what’s going on. Fortunately for us, one of the resources we did have was payroll flexibility, and we decided to deploy it that way.”
Peralta is a .268 career hitter, with 156 home runs and a .755 OPS in 1,383 career games with the Indians (2003-10) and Tigers (2010-13).
With Freese traded, it’s expected that Matt Carpenter will move from second base to third base. Peralta would likely be paired with second baseman Kolten Wong in the Cardinals’ middle infield.
Besides time in the outfield, Peralta has also made 203 career starts at third base.
Mozeliak anticipated that Peralta could remain at shortstop for the life of the contract. He also put to rest any speculation Peralta was signed to play third base, which would leave Carpenter at second base and make Wong trade bait.
“I could not envision [Peralta] being our third baseman next year,” Mozeliak said. “Part of what we tried to do over the last four or five days was create an opportunity for Wong. We accomplished that. A lot is being written about possibility moving him. There is no truth to that.”
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS — For the second straight year, the Cardinals will host a gift drive at Busch Stadium to benefit the children of military families at nearby Scott Air Force Base.
The Cardinals are asking fans to drop off gift donations from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT on Friday, Dec. 6, in the Ballpark Village parking lot across the street from the stadium. Unwrapped toys for children under 12 and gift cards for those 13 and older will be accepted.
The first 250 people to make a donation will receive a cup of hot chocolate as well as a coupon for a free pizza from Papa John’s.
All donations will be delivered by Fredbird at Scott Air Force Base during a Breakfast With Santa event on Dec. 7.
For more information about the initiative, visit cardinals.com/community.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It’s Langosch, and follow her on Twitter@LangoschMLB.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
The Missouri State Lady Bears (1-3, 0-0 MVC) return to the friendly confines of JQH Arena this week for a 12:05 p.m. Tuesday game against Quinnipiac (2-3). Well over 1,000 local students are expected at Elementary Day as the Lady Bears take on the Bobcats in a rare afternoon tilt.
The schedule continues to be a stiff challenge as MSU’s next two opponents won a combined 59 games last season. QU went 30-3 in 2012-13, and the Lady Bears pay a visit to No. 3 Louisville on Dec. 3 in their next outing. MSU is in a stretch of eight consecutive contests against teams that played in either the NCAA Tournament, WNIT or Women’s Basketball Invitational in 2013.
After Tuesday’s game, Missouri State will not play at home again until Dec. 15, when Lamar visits to open a three-game homestand.
Missouri State and Quinnipiac have never met in women’s basketball. In fact, Tuesday’s game will be the first time the schools have ever competed in any team sport. MSU’s only previous meeting with a current Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school was a 97-89 home win over Canisius in December 2007.
Quinnipiac is 2-3 on the season with wins against North Carolina A&T and American and losses to Louisville, UT Martin and St. John’s. The Bobcats return four starters from a team that went 30-3 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bobcats have four players averaging at least 10.8 point per game through five contests, led by Jasmine Martin at 16.0.
As a team, Quinnipiac scores 78.0 points and allows 81.4 while shooting 41.5 percent overall, 31.1 percent on 3-pointers and 68.3 percent from the foul line.
New Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema said that he left Wisconsin and the Big 10 for Arkansas because he wanted to see how his coaching talents stood-up in the SEC, the top conference in the country. Well, so far the answer is not pretty.
The Hogs remained winless in the league with a 24-17 overtime loss to Mississippi State in Little Rock. The Bulldogs had never won in the stae of Arkansas, and the Hogs had never lost eight games in-a-row in the program’s history. Both those storylines changed today as the Razorbacks have not won a game since beating Southern Mississippi on September 14th.
Arkansas took a 10-0 lead, allowed the Bulldogs to tie it at 10-10, but then took a 17-10 advantage in the 3rd quarter on a 22 yard run by Julian Horton.
But Mississippi St. tied it in the 4th quarter on a Tyler Russell five-yard pass to Jameon Lewis and after missing a 42 yard game-winning field goal with 24 seconds left in regulation, took the lead on the first play of overtime on a 25-yard touchdown run by Damiam Williams. Arkansas failed to score on its overtime possession to match the Bulldogs as Brandon Allen threw an interception on 4th down to secure Mississippi State’s 24-17 overtime victory.
Joe Hickman Reporting
EVANSTON, Ill. -The Missouri State swimming & diving team each finished third overall in the TYR Invitational, hosted by Northwestern Sunday.
The men scored 876.5 points while the women had 583. The host Wildcats swept the team titles, scoring 1,054.5 and 1,066 points on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively.
Day 3 Recap
Missouri State won five events on the final day, including sophomore Isaac Springer claiming the 200-yard breaststroke in a school-record and NCAA consideration time of 1:58.44. Springer qualified for the championship final with an NCAA `B’ cut time of 1:59.60 and went on to set the school mark, which had been held by Cajun Skinnersince the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Championships.
Springer’s `B’ cut in the event was one of three on the day for the Bears. Other event wins came from junior Paul Lein the 50-yard backstroke as well as the 200 back. Le was victorious in the 200 back in an NCAA consideration time of 1:43.42, while winning the 50 in 22.42.
Senior Renata Sanderwon the women’s 200 breast in 2:15.01, a NCAA `B’ time and season best.
The last championship final win of meet for MSU came from sophomore Dora Kiss, who paced the field in the 200 butterfly in 2:01.44. Sophomore Ibby Simcox also won the consolation final (2:03.82) and junior Roni Balzam(2:06.42) finished third in the consolation final and 11th overall. All three posted season bests in the event.
Senior Yuri Garanito was fourth in the 200 back in a season-best time of 1:49.30, while sophomore Jack Snowcame up with a solid 23.50 to win the 50 back consolation final.
Sophomore Uvis Kalninsset a new personal best in the 200 breast of 2:01.72.
The Bears’ distance freestylers had strong showing on Sunday. Sophomore Suzanne Van Rensburgclocked a personal best in the 1,659 free in a time of 16:47.14 to finish second. Sophomore Miguel Davilawas second in the men’s race, as well, in an NCAA consideration time of 15:20.18, while freshmanNaresh Naik (15:43.91) and senior Jared Roberts(15:48.51) touched sixth and seventh respectively.
Divers, juniors Garrett Nevels, Elijah Swaim and Zach Wheelerwent 4-5-6 in the men’s platform event to combine for 42 points for the Bears. In a rare opportunity to compete in platform, as MSU does not have the event, Nevels led the squad with 225.23 points. Swaim had 190.35 and Wheeler 134.33.
Le was the meet’s second highest individual point producer with 92, behind Northwestern’s Andrew Jovanovic (95). Sander was the highest-scoring woman for the Bears, finishing third overall with 75 points. NU’s Lacey Locke (99) and Lauren Abruzzo (93) took top honors for the Wildcats.
Missouri State is off until mid-December when it travels to Jenks, Okla., to take on TCU in a two-day meet starting Dec. 14 at 4 p.m.
Day 2 Recap
Junior Paul Lebegan the day qualifying first overall for the 100 backstroke championship final in a NCAA `B’ time of 47.24, which at the time, was the second-best time in the nation this season. But the Moore, Okla., native went even lower in the finals.
He won the championship final in 47.09, and in the process, became the national leader in the event.
Sophomore Uvis Kalninsbested the 400-yard individual medley field by over six seconds and broke the Missouri State school record in 3:50.51. Vic Reffel set the previous mark of 3:51.79 at the 2009 Sun Belt Conference championships. Kalnins’ effort also put him under the `B’ standard for the event.
The Bears swept the men’s and women’s 100 breaststroke events in NCAA `B’ cut times from senior Renata Sander and Isaac Springer. Sander clocked in at a season-best 1:02.10 and Springer had a career-best 54.61.
Senior Anna Ahlinachieved the final `B’ cut for the Bears Saturday. She finished second in the women’s 100 backstroke in 54.93, lowering her `B’ time swum Friday in the 400-medley relay.
The Bears nearly set a Norris Aquatics Center and second school record of the day in the 200-medley relay. Missouri State finished under the 141.88 mark set by a Wisconsin relay team in 2009 as well as being clear of the school mark of 1:42.03 established last year, but an early takeoff on the last leg of the race disqualified the relay.
Nevertheless, the events of the first race of Saturday finals jumpstarted the Bears for a solid evening session.
Sophomore Dora posted a season best in the 400 IM of 4:25.45 to take fourth-place points in the event. Freshman CeCe Etter set a career best by nine seconds of 4:25.51 to finish sixth.
Freshmen Naresh Naik (4:01.62) and senior Colin Hill (4:05.29) were fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 400 IM championship final in season-best times for both.
Junior Roni Balzam swam a season-best 56.83 for sixth in the women’s 100 butterfly and classmate Matthew Wilson swam a career-best 48.98 in the men’s race for fifth place.
The Bears lead the fourth-place men’s team Illinois-Chicago, which has 251 points. Kenyon (214), North Dakota (177.5) and Truman State (97) round out the field.
On the women’s side, Missouri State leads Bowling Green (366), Illinois-Chicago (269), North Dakota (194), Truman State (138), Kenyon (138) and Northern Iowa (29).
The meet wraps up with prelims at 9 a.m., Sunday followed by finals at 3 p.m.
Day 1 Recap
The Missouri State women earned a pair of event victories on the day, with senior Renata Sander winning the 50-yard breaststroke in 28.34, after qualifying for the championship final first overall in 28.65.
Sander teamed with classmate Anna Ahlin and juniors Roni Balzam and Shannon Myer to win the 400-yard medley relay in 3:46.42 against quality Big Ten competition in the host Wildcats and Michigan State. Ahlin, who had not swum in over a month due to injury, led off the race with a 54.94 100-backstroke split to make the NCAA `B’ cut.
Ahlin also posted a fourth-place finish in the 50 free championship final, swimming 23.75 to earn 15 points for the Bears. Sander was also fourth in the 200 IM in a season-best and conference-leading time of 2:05. 28.
Freshmen Lauren Pavel and Anna Bump came up big in the 50 breaststroke in 30.08 and 30.27, respectively, to garner seventh- and eighth-place points.
Sophomore Dora Kiss set a season best in the 500 free, going 4:56.11 to take fourth in the event with juniorSuzanne Van Rensburg (4:57.77) finishing seventh.
Sophomore Emily Chesser was 12th overall in the 200 IM in 2:06.66, the second-best time for MSU this season in the race, to pick up five points.
Overall, the Bears trail just Northwestern (288) after the first day of action. Bowling Green (195), Michigan State (193), Illinois-Chicago (122), North Dakota (108), Kenyon (66), Truman State (55) and Northern Iowa (21) round out the women’s field.
Junior Paul Le continued to impress for the men’s squad Friday. He broke the Missouri State school 50-free record in the prelims in 20.22 to qualify for the championship final second. Le and sophomore Uvis Kalninsthen went 1-2 in the 200 IM championship final in 1:47.41 and 1:47.51, respectively, putting them both under the NCAA `B’ standard.
Le had just four minutes between the 200-IM final and the 50-free final but was able to touch in 21.40 to finish seventh. Sophomore Jack Snow was third in the 50 free in a season-best time of 20.86.
Junior Garrett Nevels claimed the 1-meter dive with 331.5 points, topping a strong field by over 27 points.
Other quality swims came from sophomore Miguel Davila, who was fourth in the 500 free championship final in 4:28.81, while freshman Naresh Naik went 4:30.49 to place sixth.
Kalnins, Le, junior Vitalii Baryshok and Snow also combined for a second-place finish in the 200 free in 1:21.35.
Sophomore Isaac Springer (25.08) and junior Aaron Dennis (25.40) took second and third, respectively in the 50 breaststroke.
The men are just seven points behind Michigan State for second place in the team standings. NU (326) leads after the first day, while Illinois-Chicago (111), Kenyon (101), North Dakota (80) and Truman State (48) are fourth through seventh.
Willow Springs @ cabool
7th Grade scores: willow springs 43; cabool 6
Krysta Rader 12 points, Hannah Bradley 2, Madison Porter 12, Shiyanne Figley 8,
8th Grade scores: willow springs 36; cabool 17
Kianna Rothermich 16 points, Liliya Dudko 12, Olivia Darnell 8
Next game: Tuesday at home against Mountain Grove
(Ottumwa) – The Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team will go into the Thanksgiving holiday break with a 6-3 record after splitting its games at the Bowling RV Classic Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23, in Ottumwa, Iowa.
On Friday, the Grizzlies defeated Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College 89-80 for the second time in a week but fell to the No. 2 ranked Indian Hills Community College Warriors, the tournament’s hosts, 97-84 in a hard-fought contest.
“I am very proud of how our team competed against Indian Hills,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said. “We played well, outside of the turnovers.” The Grizzlies had 21 miscues in the contest, compared to the Warriors’ 10.
“We executed our game plan well for about 27 or 28 minutes. We were up at halftime and came out and scored the first basket of the second half,” Walker said. “Simply put, they are very explosive offensively. We did a great job on the offensive glass, and that helped keep the game within reach. We just didn’t absorb their second-half run.”
The Grizzlies went into the halftime break with a 45-37 advantage over the Warriors, but Indian Hills’ offense took over in the second half and gave them the advantage they needed to seal a victory.
On the boards, the Grizzlies were two grabs short of the Warriors, 48 to 50, but they had more rebounds off the offensive glass, 14 compared to the Warriors’ 12. Overall, the Grizzlies shot 41.7 percent from the field, hitting 25 of their 60 attempts; connected on five of 13 shots from 3-point range for 38.5 percent; and were 29 of 42 from the free throw line for 69 percent.
Sophomore guard Devaugntah Williams led the Grizzlies in scoring with 23 points, followed by fellow sophomore guards Jonathan Tshibuy with 19 and Arroyo Edwards with 15. Tshibuy also led the team in rebounding with eight grabs, including three offensive rebounds.
Indian Hills was led on the scoreboard by Roderick Bobbitt with 30 points, Lester Medford 16, and Marcus Posey and Quevyn Winter each with 13. Overall, the Warriors hit 32 of 70 shots from the field for 45.7 percent, four of 19 from 3-point range for 21.1 percent and 29 of 40 from the free throw line for 72.5 percent.
“What we did prove in this game is that we can play with anyone in the nation,” Walker said. “What we have to keep working towards is being able to beat everyone in the nation. It is a process and it isn’t easy. That is the challenge we have in front of us.
“But we can’t take anything away from Indian Hills,” the coach added. “They are a good team, and they have blown out at least one top 25 team. They average 111 points per game, and their opponents average 90. We took the fight to a good team,” Walker said.
Against Marshalltown, the Grizzlies’ size and ability to score in the paint made the difference, Walker said. “We also did a better job on their shooters and held them to 13 percent from the three,” he added.
“What it came down to was our play-making ability,” the coach said. “We got to the rim off of penetration pretty regularly and shot pretty well from the free throw line, especially late in the game. We just have to continue to learn how to finish teams off and keep the lead in double digits.”
The Grizzlies hit 33 of 60 shots from the field for 55 percent, four of 13 3-pointers for 30.8 percent and 19 of 30 attempts at the charity stripe for 63.3 percent. Leading scorers were Williams with 31 points, Edwards with 15 and redshirt freshman forward Ed Seay, Jr., with 12.
Marshalltown was 31 of 65 from the field for 47.7 percent and two of 15 from the three for 13.3 percent. Leading scorers were Tyrese Hoxter with 22 points, Triodell Carter 18, Raheim Holloway 14 and Jamal Gatali 11.
The Grizzlies will take the court next weekend, Nov. 29 and 30, at the PARC Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Region 16 rival Three Rivers College at the Gene Bess Activity Center in Poplar Bluff, Mo. They will play ABCD Prep from Dallas, Texas, Nov. 29 and Quakerdale Prep from New Providence, Iowa, Nov. 30.
After a trip to Coffeyville, Kan., Dec. 5-7, to compete in the Coffeyville Resources Juco Elite 8 Tournament hosted by Coffeyville Community College, the Grizzlies will return home to host their own Grizzly Holiday Classic Dec. 13 and 14 in the Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center. The Grizzlies will play Quakerdale Prep at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and New Mexico Junior College of Hobbs at 7 p.m. Dec. 14. The tournament is being sponsored by CenturyLink.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, including complete statistics from the games, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb/.
(Casper, WY) – The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championship Tournament came to a heartbreaking end this afternoon for the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzlies.
The 12th seeded Grizzlies (23-14) fell to 13th seeded New Mexico Military Institute of Roswell (24-17) 20-25, 29-31, 20-25 in second-round action in the tournament’s consolation bracket. The loss puts the Grizzlies out of the tournament for this year.
Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said she was pleased with the effort her team put forth on the court today. “It was a good match. We dug the ball well, we did well with our passing and defense, and we had a lot of good swings. It just wasn’t enough,” she said.
The Grizzlies dug 66 balls in three games and matched New Mexico in nearly every other statistical area except hitting errors, and that’s what made a huge difference in the outcome, Wiedemann said.
“There was just a 12 point difference in the entire game, and they had 10 fewer hitting errors, so there’s the majority of your points,” she said. “We had done so well over the last month being patient, taking good swings, not giving up points, but it’s the little things that make the difference – taking care of the ball and not making errors. I really feel badly for the girls because they played hard today.”
The Grizzlies were up by 7 points in the first game before New Mexico began making a run and eventually took the first set. New Mexico maintained that momentum through the first half of the second set, but the Grizzlies came back and forced Broncos to six game points before the Broncos finally closed out the game. The Grizzlies and Broncos battled back and forth in the third game until the Broncos started pulling away from an 18-18 tie to win the match.
“Game two was a great game,” Wiedemann said. “They went after us, and we went after them. Neither team backed off. There was some good volleyball played in that game. But what it boiled down to was patience, and that’s where it became frustrating.”
Sophomore middle/outside attacker Nella Ioramo led the team offensively with 15 kills, followed by fellow sophomore outside attacker Helena Peric with 10. Freshman setter Brianna Zebert recorded 33 assists, and Ioramo and sophomore middle attacker Torika Baleilekutu each had two service aces.
Defensively, Zebert led the team in digs with 18, followed by freshman libero Alyssa Aldag with 13 and redshirt freshman defensive specialist Grace Kiely with 10. Baleilekutu recorded three blocks.
Despite the early exit from the tournament, Wiedemann said she has been very happy with her team and the support the players have received from the fans and the community. “This year has been great. We really appreciate the support we receive from the university and the community. Our main goal is to be a good representative of Missouri State-West Plains and the West Plains community, and I hope we’ve accomplished that goal,” Wiedemann said.
“I’ve really enjoyed coaching this team,” she added. “They’ve come a long way in two-and-a-half months.”
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/. For more information about the national tournament, visit http://tbirds.info/.
(Casper, WY) – Dreams of a national championship will have to wait one more year for the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team.
The Grizzlies (23-13) lost to Hillsborough Community College of Tampa, Fla., 23-25, 13-25, 20-25 Thursday, Nov. 21, in the first round of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championship Tournament in Casper, Wyo.
With the Grizzlies, seeded 12th in the tournament, move to the consolation bracket where they will meet 13th seeded New Mexico Military Institute of Roswell (23-17) at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) today. The highest the Grizzlies can place in this year’s tournament, which continues through Saturday, Nov. 23, is ninth.
This was the second year in a row the Grizzlies, who are making their 13th national tournament appearance, met the fifth-seeded Hawks in the opening round, and unfortunately, the results were the same as the previous year.
“They’re a very efficient team and well coached,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said this morning. “We just didn’t execute our game plan to put ourselves in a position to win.”
The Grizzlies had their opportunities in the first game to set the tone for the match, going up by as much as 7 points midway through the set. But adjustments by the Hawks and a lack of aggressiveness by the Grizzlies let the Hawks come back to take the game.
“Losing game one was huge,” Wiedemann said. “We were in a position to win it, and we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be at the end, and that shifted momentum to them.”
The Hawks took off with that momentum in the second set and kept the Grizzlies at bay. “One of the things that we’ve done so well all season, and that we did in game one, was serving. But in the second set, we didn’t serve effectively enough to get them out of their offense. Their middles played fantastic, and we started making adjustments to compensate, but by that time, it was too late,” the coach explained.
Wiedemann said the flow of Hillsborough’s offense created problems in the Grizzlies’ defense. “Your instinct is to go with the flow of their offense when really you should go against it. If we could have done that better, it would have put us in a position to create better offense for us,” she said.
One major bright spot for the Grizzlies was the play of sophomore outside hitter Nella Ioramo, who had 19 kills on 38 attempts with six errors for an attacking percentage of .342. She also had seven digs.
“Nella had a phenomenal game,” Wiedemann said. “She was everywhere. Even some of her errors were good errors. She was taking good swings, pounding the ball, and she wasn’t sending the ball all over the gym. Her misses were just by inches, and she didn’t have an error in the last game.”
Wiedemann pointed out Hillsborough’s coach, Gary Larkin, even commented on Ioramo’s play after the match was over, saying “she was the best player on the court.”
Wiedemann also praised sophomore middle attacker Torika Baleilekutu and sophomore outside attacker Laiz Novaes. “Torika played very hard and showed great effort,” Wiedemann said. “Laiz played very well, too. She took care of the ball, got a couple of good kills and had other good swings without any errors.”
Today’s meeting against New Mexico will be the third meeting this season between the two teams. The teams split their earlier meetings, and Wiedemann said she expects another tough match.
Area residents who would like to watch the Grizzlies or any of the teams in action can do so locally by free live streaming video at http://www.njcaatv.com/volleyballchamp/. Times listed are MST, so area residents will need to add one hour to the listed time in order to tune in at the right time locally.
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/. For more information about the national tournament, visit http://tbirds.info/.