COLUMBIA — Senior Vesna Trivunovic stood near the bench during the first set Thursday, mad at herself for starting slow and not getting the kills she normally does.
"She came out and she wasn’t ready; she was a little sluggish, and you’re not too good that you can’t be benched, so that’s where she went," Columbia College volleyball head coach Melinda Wrye-Washington said.
No. 1 seed Columbia College (35-2, 16-0 )
vs. No. 2 seed Missouri Baptist (34-4, 15-2)
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: The Arena of the Southwell Complex
After sitting on the bench for most of the first set, Trivunovic came back into the second set ready to go. She went on to record 13 kills as the Cougars beat William Woods University 25-15, 25-13, 25-11 in the semifinals of the American Midwest Conference tournament.
"Sometimes it's good to go to the bench, because (it's) time to refresh your mind and think what are your best options. I think she calmed down a little bit, put her mind in place, and then she came back strong," said setter Paula Ferriera, who is from Brazil.
The AMC championship game against Missouri Baptist could be the last of the season for the team and the last of Trivunovic's career at the Arena of the Southwell Complex.
"Make me so sad because I’m going to be here as a coach, but I’m not going to be here as a player. My crowd is not going to cheer for me, which makes me sad. Even if I’m going to be the assistant coach, I still want to get into the game and play because I’m that type of player," said Trivuonvic, who is a native of Serbia.
Saturday's match is set for 2 p.m, an advantage in Ferriera's mind.
"I like to play Saturday afternoons, wake up 9, 9:30, get something to eat at home, watch some TV; then we all have a brunch meal together," Ferriera said. "I think everybody gets more excited to play in the afternoon."
While Columbia College has gone to the conference championships for the past 24 years, the thrill is not lost.
"It's always exciting; every year, every match is exciting," Wrye-Washington said. "It's a big deal."