Finishing record, 16-16
Season ends in first round of playoffs
Dakota Smith | reporter
The Pitt State volleyball team saw its season come to a close with a loss in the first round of the MIAA playoffs to the Central Missouri Jennies.
Playing in Warrensburg, Mo., the Gorillas tried to get revenge on Central Missouri for beating them in four sets earlier this season.
But the Jennies proved why they were the No. 1-seeded team in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) tournament, by beating PSU in three straight sets by scores of 25-17, 28-26 and 25-10.
Senior Abbie Smith led the Gorillas in kills with just six. Hansford led Pitt State in assists with 20. Senior Kirsten Erickson led the Gorillas in digs with 10. Central Missouri had 31 more kills than Pitt State and outhit the Gorillas .303 to .083.
PSU kept things close in the first set, coming within three of the Jennies. But it didn’t last. Central Missouri went on a 6-1 run and took a 25-17 win.
Both sides traded punches in the second set. PSU never disappeared by any deficit over two. That is, until the Jennies went on another late run, to take a 15-11 lead before the Gorillas responded with a 4-0 run of their own. PSU took the first lead of the match at 17-16 and a Jennie error saw Pitt State take a 2—point advantage.
After Central Missouri took a 3-point run to take a 22-20 advantage, the Gorillas fought back and tied the set. But the Jennies scored the final two points to win 28-26.
In the third set, Central Missouri did not trail at all and cruised to a 25-10 victory to finish off the Gorillas.
Central Missouri will go on to face fourth-seeded Central Oklahoma in the semi-finals on Friday. Nebraska-Kearney and Washburn won their opening round games on Tuesday and advance to the semi-final round.
With the loss, the Gorillas ended their season with a 16-16 overall record and a 6-10 league record.
Before the Gorillas made the playoffs, they had to get a win against archrival Missouri Southern on Saturday, Nov. 16.
“Our serving must be dominant and consistent,” said head coach Ibraheem Suberu. The Gorillas did just that, beating the Lions in straight sets by score of 25-13, 25-13, 25-17.
It was senior night for the Gorillas and Suberu was pleased with the home crowd atmosphere at John Lance Arena.
“The environment was electric.” said Suberu.
Freshman Madison Mosier led the Gorillas in kills with 10. Smith had eight kills, and junior Paula Okrutna and sophomore Haylee Gregory added seven kills apiece. Sophomore Hayley Hansford led the Gorillas in assists with 34 and freshman Ashlen Schwartz led Pitt State in digs with 10. The Gorillas outhit the Lions .322 to .010.
Not only did Pittsburg State need to beat the Lions to get into the MIAA tournament but they also needed some outside help to qualify.
The Gorillas made the tournament because Southwest Baptist and Lindenwood lost their last two games and Pitt State held the tiebreaker against both teams.