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Gorillas split pair of home games

Janae Thurston, setter and sophomore in nursing, spikes the ball against Emporia State University on Nov. 5. Dominic Santiago

The Pitt State Gorilla volleyball team had a pair of inner conference games last week that resulted in one victory and one tough loss. 

First up for the Gorillas were the Ichabods of Washburn University. The Ichabods are one of the top teams in the country and proved that on the court last Friday. The two teams met previously in the season, where Washburn won three sets to zero. The Gorillas weren’t going to let that happen again. 

Pitt State came out ready to play and give Washburn a run for their money. The first set was full of success for the Gorillas. Pitt State got a lead as big as 10, but the Ichabods didn’t give up. After a run from Washburn, the Gorillas finished the set with a victory of 25-22. 

The next sets showed why Washburn is one of the top teams in the nation. The Ichabods completely turned the tables even with the Gorillas giving their best effort. Sets two, three, and four all went to the Ichabods by scores of 25-12, 25-14, and 25-10. 

The Gorillas were led by Janae Thurston with 14 kills, Brianna Richard with 34 assists, and Addison Weybrew with 10 digs. 

Next up for the Gorillas were the Hornets of Emporia State. These two teams met up earlier this season as well, with the Gorillas winning the match three sets to one and the outcome was the same this time around. 

It was strictly business for Pitt State who is still fighting for spot in the MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) postseason tournament. 

The first set was dominance. The Gorillas never trailed and won by a score of 25-12 and that was just the start. 

Even though the first set was all Gorillas, the Hornets did not back down. After a back and forth second set, the Gorillas pulled out another victory by a score of 25-20. 

The third set started off with a bang. Pitt State put up the first seven points of the set and got a lead as big as 13. When the Gorillas play to their fullest potential and put everything together, they feel they can beat anybody. Pitt State ended up winning the third set 25-16 and won the match three sets to none. 

Even with a winning record at 14-12, there is still things to work on before a possible postseason berth. 

“We can still get better at blocking and tracking our hitters sooner,” said head coach Jen Gomez. 

The postseason is closely approaching, and the Gorillas still have time to make some noise. The Gorillas are sitting in sixth place in the MIAA. The MIAA postseason tournament takes the top eight teams to battle it out for one outright champion. 

The Gorillas feel their close-knit group is their biggest advantage compared to other teams. 

“I love that my team has players that step up when it’s their turn,” Gomez said. “They support each other and work for each other.”

There are two more regular season games for the Gorillas, and they will both take place at John Lance Arena. Nov. 12 the Gorillas will take on the Tigers of Fort Hays State, followed by a matchup with the Lopers of the University of Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 13. These games are huge in terms of final standings in the conference, and the Gorillas still must win to clinch their spot in the postseason. 

“These two games will really set the tone and give us momentum going into the postseason,” said senior outside hitter Kayla Neigenfind. 

Students can get their free student tickets at the ticket office in the Weede and are strongly encouraged to attend the last two home games, as the team will look to clinch a spot in the MIAA tournament. 

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