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Volleyball dominates conference opener

Brianna Richards, junior setter, sets the ball backwards during Volleyball’s game on Sept. 17. Megan Brownell

This past weekend, Gorilla volleyball opened conference play in a very dominant fashion, sweeping the Bronchos 3-0 on Friday. 

They got off on a good start, getting ahead of the Bronchos early. The bronchos would not back down, and they came back to tie the first set at 22. After some nail biting back and forth points, the gorillas took the set 27-25. 

“I kept thinking, I hope we can pull this off… my team doesn’t get rattled and hangs on to find a way to win,” said head coach Jen Gomez. 

All three set wins were close ones, with the gorillas taking set two 25-23, and set three 27-25. Even after a tough start to the third set being down halfway through, they battled through to win it in 27 points. 

The Gorillas were very proud of this win, as University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos were 7-1 coming into the match and were a very solid team. 

The team had a great day both offensively and defensively. On the offensive side, junior setter Brianna Richard had a great day with 42 assists, 10 digs, and 2 kills. 

Because of Richard’s great performance, all hitters had great days, with junior outside hitter Meg Auten getting the highest of 14 kills and 10 digs. 

Both middle hitters got lots of reps in, with senior middle hitter Hope White getting nine kills with three blocks, and freshman Kate Bandre getting eight kills, two digs, and three blocks. Other hitters got great stats with senior right side hitter Claire Sandvig got four kills, two digs, two blocks, and one assist. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Hannah Martin did well too with 12 kills, eight digs, two blocks, and one assist. 

As well as great stats offensively, the team did a great job with keeping the Bronchos on their toes with great defense. 

“We were able to make plays when it counted and defensively were able to keep the pressure on them,” said Gomez. 

The defense was great, with junior defensive specialist Marissa Bates getting 14 digs and the sophomore defensive specialist getting five.  

Coach Gomez and the team were very happy to sweep such a great team in the home conference opener, but they also had a great day in their first away conference game, beating Missouri Southern State University Lions 3-1. 

They started off on a rocky start losing the first set, but the gorillas weren’t about to lose another set. They went on to win the next three sets, winning the game. 

“Saturday, watching two of my players get game high number of kills was a great highlight, as well as seeing my team support each other,” said Gomez. 

Both Auten and White were able to get those game high kills, with both racking in 16. Auten also had a great game high dig number of 17.

After a perfect weekend, the gorillas are eager to continue conference play and will continue that great offense and defense they have displayed already during their next match, which will be Friday September 24th, at Missouri Western with a start time of 5 p.m.

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