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Volleyball falls to Monmouth in MWC Tournament

Despite a solid start to the season, the Grinnell Women’s Volleyball Team failed to make gold on a consecutive trip to the MWC Tournament. In retrospect, this season has seen much growth and focus on personal development.

“I’m disappointed that we are not going, but I could never be disappointed in these women,” said Coach Jackie Hutchison. “They have played well this season and they have a lot to be proud of.”

Volleyball Grinnell v Lawrence
Claire Reeder ’11, center, anticipates a spike during the Pioneers’ game against Lawrence University on Oct. 9 - Ben Brewer

After devastating blows from William Penn (3-0), Viterbo (3-0), and Clarke (3-0), the Pioneers reorganized and shined at home with consecutive victories against St. Norbert (3-2) and blanking Lawrence (3-0).

Coach Hutchinson credits part of the success to the great home base. “We have amazing fans. Nobody holds anything on us. We have two players in my mind that really rise to that—Liz Davis [’11] and Gillian Dryjanski [’12]. They love to win.”

The Pioneers continued their stellar jaunt, shutting out Knox College (3-0). Bonnie Kircher ’12 led, with 11 kills, and Claire Reeder ’11 had six kills.

The team then entered more conference play with a 4-2 record and 10-11 overall record. Their next test against Ripon proved challenging in spite of 14 kills from Claire Reeder ’11. Though Olivia Wilks ’12 dished out 38 assists and Reeder scored two aces, the Pioneers buckled under Ripon (1-3) and then Iowa Wesleyan (1-3). Following the loss, the women rallied to a 1-all tie in all sets in their match against Carroll University, but the Green Knights delivered two wins to defeat the Pioneers.

On Tuesday, the Pioneers ended their league play after a contentious loss to Monmouth College (2-3). Reeder led the team with 18 kills, while Wilks had 40 assists and Michelle Briggs ’13  had five total blocks. Despite the outcome, the Pioneer team spirit shone and exemplified its character.

“Monmouth College was a good way to finish conference. We played. We fought. We had the spark.” Davis said.
Coach Hutchison shared those sentiments.

“Both Monmouth and Carroll are good teams, they have good programs—for me it shows our fight,” Hutchison said.
Reeder also acknowledged the growth in the team and program.

“[It has been] leaps and bounds in four years. This season has been about the journey and enjoying and knowing that we brought team to the higher level,” she said.

First-year team members Mekdes Kebede and Artemis Gogos have also been in the spotlight this season.

“They have grown a lot, when I look at Mekdes and Artemis, they are such better players. They are fortunate, because they get this modeled to them every day. We will have many successful seasons,” Hutchison said. “I don’t think that you’d see it in the scoreboard, but in the character of the team.”

The team is graduating three significant seniors—Erin Labasan, Liz Davis and Claire Reeder, who helped to revamp the program.

“Each of the three seniors are amazing. They are respected for their knowledge. In volleyball, we look up to them,” Kebede said. “As a freshman, my goal is to contribute the best to the team, and make it to conference then.”
Coach Hutchison is confident about next year’s season.

“We will again enjoy a lot of success. We have a lot of returning talent and we will have an amazing senior leadership,” Hutchison said. “These are women who, day in and day out, serve on the court as leaders…It will be an amazing opportunity for people below them to experience that.”

The Pioneers end the season on the road, traveling to Indianola on Saturday, Oct. 30, to meet Buena Vista University at 1 p.m. and Simpson College at 5 p.m.

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