Last weekend the Truman State volleyball team played a double-header against William Jewell College and Rockhurst University. The Bulldogs began the weekend with an opportunity to qualify for the GLVC Tournament, and started a run against William Jewell Friday by winning 3-0. However, the Bulldogs’ season ended with their 0-3 loss against Rockhurst Saturday.
With the season coming to a close, the Bulldogs will graduate five seniors — hitters Sadie Pafford, Ali Patterson, Emilee Walters, Abby Heise and Kassi Schroeder. Head Coach Ben Briney says though losing seniors is always hard, this is something the team has to deal with every year. Briney says when seniors leave during the spring, the team starts to figure out its identity going into the next year. He says through this process, the team will start to evolve, and from there players will work to fill the seniors’ shoes.
Briney says he was proud of how the Bulldogs played through the loss against seventh-ranked Rockhurst. He says the team never gave up and continued fighting even through the last point. Briney says that mindset is exactly what he thinks the team needs to pull through a long season of volleyball.
“No team plays perfectly every game,” Briney says. “The team would have that mindset one week, and then after another week it would die down a bit, so what I think could really help us in the long run next year is a little more consistency in that regard.”
Briney says the team has big shoes to fill. During the seniors’ freshman year, they participated in the NCAA tournament against some of the best teams in the country. During their sophomore year, the same group of players won the conference championship and earned another spot in the NCAA Tournament. During their junior year, they finished with another NCAA Tournament berth. Briney says this group of seniors left a mark on the Truman volleyball program.
After the loss against Rockhurst, the Bulldogs were tied for the eighth-place seed in the GLVC standings. Because of the Bulldogs’ loss against the University of Southern Indiana during September, Southern Indiana won the tie-breaker and took the final spot in the conference tournament over Truman.
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