Players prepared for MIAA tourney, postseason run

Focus Senior Tessa Jones prepares mentally prior to the first serve of the game against Southwest Baptist Friday. The Lady Blues hope to have similar focus in the MIAA conference tournament this week.

Eric Smith

The Lady Blues volleyball team has had a record season dominating the MIAA conference. They will try to defend their regular season title in the first round of the postseason conference tournament 7 p.m. tomorrow in Lee Arena, where the women are undefeated.

The top seeded team in the MIAA West Division, the Lady Blues will take on Missouri Western, the fourth-seeded team in the East.

“We’re pretty excited about it having our first game at home,” said freshman Anna Simpson-Mills.

Junior Monica Miesner is also looking forward to playing at home.

“The first place seed gives you the home court advantage with the benefit of having your fans to cheer you on,” said Miesner.

The top four seeds from the East and West divisions play each other. The No. 1 seed from the West plays the No. 4 team from the East and vice versa. Then the No. 2 and 3 seeds from each play as well. Finally, the winners advance to the final four site at Truman State, who was the East division winner this year. The host of the semifinals site rotates between the division champs in the East and West every year. The champion of the tournament has to win three games.

“The conference tournament is basically just for rankings,” said senior Tessa Jones. “If we were to win the tournament, then we would definitely host regionals, which would be great. If we lose in the tournament, we’re not done with the season. So there’s not as much pressure for this tournament because it’s not single elimination.”

The team is very passionate about never overlooking an opponent and being prepared for every game.

“We always take it one game at a time,” said Miesner.

Miesner mentioned the team would sit down and watch film today, something the coach takes very seriously.

“It’s the coach’s job to make sure the team is ready to play every game,” said coach Chris Herron. “I’ll be my usual intense self and do my best to get them ready.”

Herron has had a record season as Washburn makes its way into the postseason for another year.

“We just got to make sure we play with a lot of confidence. I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Herron. “We can’t play with any fear, and we got to play to win. We can’t worry about waiting for the other to team to make mistakes. We have to create our own success.”