Northwest Volleyball, Schleppenbach

Senior middle hitter Sofia Schleppenbach currently leads Northwest volleyball in service aces (25) and hitting percentage (.372), in addition to ranking second on the squad in blocks (43).

Northwest volleyball added two more conference victories to its total with wins over Missouri Southern and Southwest Baptist Sept. 21 and 22.

The Bearcats made the 243-mile bus ride to Joplin to take on conference rival Missouri Southern Sept. 21. Northwest (13-3) proved to be too much for the Lions, beating them in three straight sets (25-11, 25-23, 26-44) and gaining its 12th win of the season and fourth MIAA conference win.

Seniors Maddy Bruder and Sophia Schleppenbach both posted double-figure kills, and sophomore Maddy Ahrens led the team in assists with 38. This win marked the seventh in a row and was tied for ninth longest in program history.

After a quick turn around, the Bearcats traveled to Bolivar looking for their fifth conference win against the other Bearcats of the MIAA in Southwest Baptist. This match proved to be a little tougher than what Northwest imagined, dropping its first set since the loss to Rockhurst University Sept. 1.

Ultimately, the Bearcats in green went on to win the match in four sets (25-21, 25-15, 19-25, 25-17). This was the eighth straight victory by Northwest on the season and the win streak is tied for sixth longest in Bearcat volleyball history.

While the Bearcats came back to Maryville with two more conference victories, coach Amy Woerth wasn’t 100 percent satisfied.

“We just didn’t feel like all of our offense and defense and team chemistry was hitting on all cylinders throughout the weekend,” Woerth said. “I think our expectation and the response from our players is just that we can do better.”

Even with the hot start that Northwest has had, c Woerth has stressed that there are still areas for the team to improve and this should get Bearcat fans excited.

“It’s about us bringing our best to every game we play,” Woerth said. “Whether that’s serving and passing at a high level or our kills even, we need all of those aspects to click at the same time and at that point, we could be dangerous.”

Looking ahead, the Bearcats have a home match with Fort Hays State Sept. 28 before facing arguably their toughest opponent of the season to date. Sept. 29, Northwest plays host to Nebraska-Kearney. The Lopers are No. 4 in the AVCA coaches poll and have a 16-1 record overall. Like the Bearcats, Kearney is undefeated in MIAA play with a 5-0 record.

“We are going to hope to go into Bearcat Arena and play the game like we know we can play and play as a team,” senior Sofia Schleppenbach said. “It’s critical to have that respect for knowing that they are so successful and bringing our A game, but not letting it overwhelm us in the end.”

Schleppenbach has worked hard this season to both help the Bearcats win games, but to also create a legacy at Northwest that will be remembered.

“I want my legacy to be remembered on and off the court,” Schleppenbach said. “I want to be remembered for doing everything that I could to help accomplish the team goals of winning conference and beyond. But then off the court, being the teammate that someone wants to play with and can lean on during difficult times as a friend. I want to mean more than just having the skill of playing collegiate volleyball.”

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