King’s Court: Makings of a Rivalry

Alex King
Alex King / The Galaxy general manager

Rivalries make sports great, add excitement for the fans and give teams an added drive to win.
Rivalries are created by two factors. The first is location. This is a big reason why Webster University and Fontbonne University are rivals. They are located only a few miles from each other, and both schools know one another well.
The other factor is great competition between two teams. Each time the rival teams face off, it’s a grind just to win. This factor is what makes Greenville College a big rival of Webster’s in volleyball.
The Webster-Greenville rivalry has been heating up over the last few seasons.
In 2008 and 2009, the Gorloks went undefeated in the conference and easily won the SLIAC tournament. In that two-year timespan, however, Greenville was slowly building as a program.
In 2008, the Gorloks defeated the Panthers in the first round of the conference tournament. The next year, Webster defeated Greenville in the conference tournament championship game. The rivalry really gained steam last year.
The Gorloks’ domination was reaching great heights as the team had won 39 SLIAC contests in a row.
But Webster lost four conference matches in 2010, and three of those four losses came at the hands of Greenville.
The first loss to Greenville came off a loss to Spalding University, Webster’s first SLIAC loss since 2007. One would think the Gorloks would have come out ready to start a new streak, but Greenville had different plans. The Panthers beat the Gorloks 3-1 to give Webster a two-match conference losing streak.
The second loss to Greenville came after the Gorloks had posted four straight conference wins. Even bigger, the Gorloks won each match 3-0, looking primed for another run.
However, Greenville came to Grant Gymnasium and beat the Gorloks 3-0. The Gorloks had lost two conference matches to the same team in one season.
Webster did recover from that loss to Greenville, as the Gorloks got back to the SLIAC tournament championship. In the final, Greenville was naturally the team waiting for Webster.
The championship match is what made this a true rivalry. The Panthers went on to dethrone the three-time defending SLIAC champs by winning 3-0 and became the new team to beat.
Heading into this season, it was obvious that the Gorloks had a score to settle with the Panthers. In the first match of the season between the two teams, Greenville won its fourth straight match over Webster.
It was a close 3-2 loss, making it harder to swallow. Losing to a team multiple times in a row can do one of two things: it can demoralize a team, or it can give the team an added drive to win.
The second matchup of the 2011 season between Webster and Greenville showed that the Gorloks have no plans of becoming the SLIAC’s second fiddle. Webster traveled to Greenville and won 3-2 in front of a rowdy crowd.
The Gorloks are now on another run and look like one of the favorites to win the SLIAC. Don’t be surprised if Greenville is the team sitting in Webster’s way in the SLIAC tournament.
Webster and Greenville are making their rivalry better and more intense with each match they play. This is becoming a fantastic rivalry and should be exciting to watch for years to come.

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