Volleyball hosts scrimmage

| Michael Bauer sports editor |

The Pittsburg State volleyball team held its annual scrimmage/Autograph Day at John Lance Arena on Saturday, Aug. 23.
The scrimmage consisted of three matches with the Gorillas divided into Red and Blue sides. The blue team won the first two matches while the red took the final match.
After the scrimmage, the volleyball players signed posters for their fans.

Setter Hayley Hansford tips the ball over the net at Saturdays scrimmage at John Lance Arena on the 23rd.Hansford is returning to he team as a Junior in Biology.

Setter Hayley Hansford tips the ball over the net at Saturdays scrimmage at John Lance Arena on the 23rd.Hansford is returning to he team as a Junior in Biology.

“We still have a little ways to go,” said Jenny Mueller, head coach. “But I saw some really good things from different players. In the heat, it makes it a tougher game but we’ve been practicing in the heat every day and we’re hoping to make that a home court advantage for us.”
Mueller pointed out that both teams looked strong as the two sides kept it close throughout.
“They’re getting setter-hitter connections so we’re improving,” Mueller said. “Defense is making some strong moves on the court, too.”
Afterward, Mueller couldn’t pick out one player who stood out.
“It’s hard to pick out one person since volleyball is a six-person sport,” she said. “I’d say Madison Mossier had a couple of strong kills and Paula Okrutna had some kills and those only happen when your setting is very strong.”
Mueller added Hayley Hansford had some good plays.
“Defensively, we had some good plays by Aimee Wood and Ashlen Schwartz,” Mueller said. “We had some good competition on both sides so it was really competitive.”
During the off-season, changes have taken place within the volleyball team; among those being Mueller taking over after the retirement of long-time head coach Ibraheem Suberu. Other changes include communication among the players.
“We’ve really improved our communication and court awareness,” Mosier, sophomore, said. “We have a lot of leaders on this team. The coaches are really big on communication. We’re always talking, because if we don’t, there’s punishment. We’re communicating more.”
In previous years the volleyball scrimmage took place at Pittsburg High School’s gymnasium. This year, the event was moved back to campus.
“I loved having it here,” Mueller said. “It was nice to have it at the high school and be out in the community, but having it here at the Weede with all of the renovations that have been done, we’re just more than thankful for the donations and funding from the Whetzel’s and the many who have given their time and money to make this arena look nice. It was nice to have the community see us on our home court.”
Pittsburg State is tabbed at seventh in the preseason MIAA conference polls. Defending champions Central Missouri is No. 1 with Washburn and Nebraska-Kearney following at second and third, respectively.
“The conference is always going to be good,” Mueller said. “Nebraska-Kearney and Central Missouri are always going to bring in good talent. They’ve got a strong history there. There’s no easy win and that’s what I love about our conference: it’s so competitive.
“Every day you have to come out and compete and bring your A-game. I’m anxious to see how we’ll do against the other teams in the MIAA.”
UCM, Nebraska-Kearney and Washburn are also ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) preseason poll.
Central Oklahoma, Emporia State and Missouri Western are ahead of the Gorillas while Northwest Missouri State and Lindenwood are behind. Fort Hays State, Missouri Southern and Southwest Baptist are at the bottom of the polls.

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