The Missouri State University-West Plains Lady Grizzly volleyball team raised its season record to 7-1 Aug. 29 with a 30-18, 30-17, 30-28 win over Region 16 rival State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Mo.
"State Fair has a nice team," Lady Grizzly Head Coach Trish Kissiar-Knight said. "They are tall, athletic and don't give up. They will give people a run for their money."
The Lady Roadrunners proved Knight's statement in the match's third game when they kept pace with Missouri State-West Plains until the end.
"They hung in there, but we managed to pull it out. We didn't run out of gas because we have a lot of depth. We just didn't execute very well early in the game," Knight explained. "We're pretty strong all the way around, and for the most part, everybody played pretty well."
Sophomore middle attacker Patricia Gandolfo led the Lady Grizzlies offensively with 17 kills and an attacking percentage of .577.
Fellow sophomore middle attacker Brittney Herzog wasn't far behind with 12 kills and an attacking percentage of .556.
"They both played well," Knight said. "And our setter, Amanda Kuhn, also played pretty well. She is still learning to play with her hitters, but for the most part, she is doing a pretty good job." The freshman from Porto Alegre, Brazil, had 31 assists.
Defensively, the Lady Grizzlies were led by sophomore libero Rachel Warrington, who had a team-leading 16 digs.
Herzog and Kuhn added 11 apiece. Herzog also had two service aces.
The Lady Grizzlies recently learned they had been ranked No. 2 by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in its Division I Women's preseason poll.
Sitting atop the poll is last year's national tournament winner, Iowa Western Community College of Council Bluffs. Frank Phillips College of Borger, Texas, was third on the list, followed by No. 4 Salt Lake Community College of Salt Lake City, Utah, and No. 5 Western Nebraska Community College of Scottsbluff.
Region 16 arch rival Jefferson College of Hillsboro, Mo., is No. 8.
The complete poll can be viewed at the NJCAA's Web site, www.njcaa.org.
The Lady Grizzlies took part in the Sterling Invitational Tournament Sept. 7-8 at Las Vegas, Nev.
Hosted by Salt Lake Community College, the two-day event featured 12 teams representing the NJCAA, the Community College League of California (CCLA) and the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC).
The Lady Grizzlies' first home match will be Sept. 13 against Jefferson College. Match time is 6 p.m. at the West Plains Civic Center arena.