Gorillas bounce back

Tyler Smith | Sports Reporter

The Pitt State volleyball team came into Wednesday’s match against Missouri Southern State University riding a four-game losing streak, yet showed no signs of backing down. The team pounded the Lions in all three sets, winning 25-17, 25-19 and 17-15 in front of a packed house of 1,139 fans.

The night was highlighted by PSU newcomer from Pila, Poland, Paula Okrutna as well as senior Brooke Fay for their team-leading performances. Okrutna finished the night with a team-high six service aces and nine digs with only two errors.

“That’s definitely a good feeling to come back after last weekend and win in three sets,” Okrutna said. “That was my goal to drive my serve and I think I did my job, so I’m happy about that.”

Crystal Whitten, freshman outside hitter, spikes the ball over MSSU's defender Nai Montano.  The Gorillas beat the Lions in three sets.

Crystal Whitten, freshman outside hitter, spikes the ball over MSSU’s defender Nai Montano. The Gorillas beat the Lions in three sets.

On the annual “Light up the Weede” night the PSU faithful packed the stands to support their team. Fay said that the extra boost in attendance helps tremendously when playing at home.

“It is a huge factor and it does make it a lot more exciting when the crowd gets into it,” Fay said. “It’s good to have everyone come out and support us, especially now that we have the new arena.”

Haylee Gregory had five kills in five attempts to top a great night for the Gorillas while Becca Pearson led the team in assists with 26. Nicole Rockhold led the Gorillas in digs with 11 while Jordan Rehm added eight.

“It was definitely a great feeling,” Fay said on getting the win. “Definitely getting this win tonight with all the crowd here tonight supporting us was great.”

On his team’s recent losses, head coach Ibraheem Suberu said that it was odd to see his team struggle when they knew they had all the ingredients for success.

“Over the last four matches, the things that we observed in those matches were our own forced errors,” Suberu said. “And it went through the whole team, not just one person, the whole team. And we were wondering … how did this switch went off when we knew that we were on the right track.”

Suberu said that upon further review, he eventually asked his players to “recommit,” and the results were another tally in the win column for the team.

Intensive English Program student from Saudi Arabia help cheer on the Gorilla volleyball team to a victory over the MSSU Lions on the second annual Pake the Weede night on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Intensive English Program student from Saudi Arabia help cheer on the Gorilla volleyball team to a victory over the MSSU Lions on the second annual Pake the Weede night on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

“We woke up one day in practice and we saw the switch was off and we went back to the drawing board,” Suberu said. “The result of that in the last practice has shown tonight and we hope we can continue to re-create what we saw tonight.”

Next up for the Gorillas is a double-header this weekend against two MIAA opponents, Washburn and Emporia State University.

“Washburn is a very good team, so we need to go to practice tomorrow, figure out our little kinks we made in this match and how we’re going to make it better for this weekend,” Fay said. “Then we play Emporia on Saturday, which is another great team so practice will be huge tomorrow.”

Pitt State plays Washburn in Topeka on Friday, Sept. 21, and then at Emporia State on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Leave A Comment