Volleyball ‘kills’ final opponents

First winning season since 2009

Tyler Smith | Sports Reporter

The Pitt State volleyball team ended the 2012 season on a high note, routing MIAA opponents Missouri Western and Missouri Southern. The win earned the team its

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first winning season since 2009, as it finished 17-13.
The Gorillas beat the Griffons in four sets, 25-17, 22-25, 27-25, 25-12. PSU took the first and fourth sets easily, but struggled in sets two and three. Missouri Western was able to take the second set, but they couldn’t keep up with the Gorillas in the third, despite 11 ties and four lead changes. After a 24-23 lead earned by a kill by senior Brooke Fay, Paula Okrutna added a kill of her own and the Griffons followed with an error to give PSU the win.
It wasn’t just another game, though. For Pitt State, it was the annual “Senior Night” for seniors Fay, Leah Flynn, Becca Pearson and Nicole Rockhold. The athletes were honored before the game as a way to give back for their commitment to Pitt State Athletics over the past four years.
Fay and Flynn have been four-year starters who were vital to point scoring, with both averaging over two points per set their entire career. Pearson, who has started as a setter for three years, has averaged 5.65 assists and 2.01 digs per set since donning the Gorilla uniform.
Rockhold has been the go-to scorer for the 2012 season, playing and starting in every single match this season while also leading the team in digs per set. Rockhold also leads the team in service aces and she is third in kills per set.
Rockhold played well in her final home game, leading the team with 21 kills and 19 digs. Rockhold also hit a .341 clip while earning a block and two service aces. Pearson also came up big on senior night, with 35 assists and 11 digs. Freshman standout Crystal Whitten also earned a double-double, garnering 14 kills with 11 digs.
PSU swept Missouri Southern, 25-22, 25-15, 25-16. Whitten led the team with 13 kills, and Rockhold had 11 kills to go with a team-high 11 digs. Kirsten Erikson had three blocks while Fay had nine kills and a team-leading four blocks.
The Gorillas hit for .302 in the match, and added six team blocks and 34 digs. PSU was able to keep the Lions to a .111 hitting percentage and allowing them only four blocks and 23 digs.
Although the team won’t be advancing to the postseason tournament, the Gorillas have a lot to look forward to in 2013. They snapped a three-match losing streak in style, winning their final five matches, only allowing opposing teams to take four sets during that stretch.
As for next year, the Gorillas will have youth on their side. They will return three juniors, two sophomores and nine freshmen next season. For now, the season is over, but the hopes of a better 2013 have begun.

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