Lady Blues look to regain swagger

Stephanie Lockhart

The Lady Blues started last week off in the right direction with Mandi Cox being named MIAA Player of the Week as hitter.

Cox’s career-high effort against Rockhurst and strong finish in the regular season against Newman allowed her to be the sixth Lady Blue to earn the honor.

The Lady Blues received more honors from the MIAA with the announcement of the All-MIAA teams Thursday.

Erica Cowhick, libero, Tessa Jones, right side hitter, and Monica Miesner, outside hitter, were named to the MIAA first team.

Cowhick set a new school record and a career-high for most digs in a single match with 43 against CMSU which earned her MIAA Specialist of the Week Sept. 27. She broke the 16 year old school record of most digs in a single season with 637 Thursday night against Emporia State and then improved it to 674 Saturday against Truman State. She is second in the MIAA with 5.35 digs per game.

Jones was named MVP at the MSSU Invitational and Colorado School of Mines Tournament earlier this season and was named MIAA Hitter of the Week Aug. 29. In the MIAA she is seventh with 4.40 points per game, eighth with a .291 hitting percentage, eighth with 3.55 kills per game and ninth with .34 service aces per game.

Miesner was named MIAA Hitter of the Week Oct. 24. In the MIAA she is sixth with 4.45 points per game, second with 3.87 kills per game, eighth with .34 service aces per game and ninth with 4.05 digs per game. She also leads the Lady Blues with 483 kills and 553.5 points.

Andi Moran, setter, was named a second team selection. She was named to the all-tournament teams at the MSSU Invitational and the Colorado School of Mines Tournament. She is the only Lady Blue to be named MIAA Player of the Week twice. In the MIAA she is third with 12.03 assists per game and second with .46 service aces per game.

Cox was named as an honorable mention selection. She leads the team and the MIAA and is 21st in NCAA DII rankings with a .368 hitting percentage.

Chris Herron, head coach, was named MIAA Coach of the Year. Herron is in his fourth season as head coach for the Lady Blues. He has guided the Lady Blues to their second MIAA title in school history. The Lady Blues have earned their third NCAA Tournament berth in four seasons under Herron after never making it to the NCAA postseason prior to his appointment.

“It is nice (to be named Coach of the Year) but it is just a reflection of the team,” said Herron.

Thursday night in the second round of the MIAA tournament the Lady Blues hosted Emporia State. In the first game the Lady Blues had a couple small runs that made the difference. Jones finished off the game for the Lady Blues with two solo blocks which allowed them to win 30-24.

In game two ESU held the Lady Blues to a .167 hitting percentage but that was not enough. The 19 errors the Lady Hornets made cost them in the end and allowed the Lady Blues to win 30-28.

The Lady Blues hit their stride in game three with 22 kills and a .340 hitting percentage. Byers and Jones ended the game with a big block to win 30-23 and take the match 3-0.

“We were able to get the runs in each game to win,” said Herron. “We don’t want to be predictable. We want to give teams a different look,” said Herron on the changes the team has made in the way they run their offense.

Saturday the Lady Blues hosted Truman State for the MIAA Tournament championship match.

The Lady Blues out hit, dug and scored Truman in game one but the six unforced errors the Lady Blues made set them back. Truman won game one 31-29 after scoring the last two points of the game.

In game two the Lady Blues held Truman to a .226 hitting percentage to win the game 30-27 and put the match at one all.

In game three the Lady Blues started to crumble. They only managed to score 16 points for themselves and could not break down Truman’s defense. Truman held the Lady Blues to a .151 hitting percentage to win the game 30-22.

Game four saw the demise of the Lady Blues and their school record 20 game winning streak. Truman held the Lady Blues to a .054 hitting percentage to take the game 30-27.

After 46 tied scores, 23 lead changes and a dismal performance by the Lady Blues, Truman State won the MIAA Tournament.

“They had no emotion. They made some of the most bone-headed plays of the year,” said Herron.