Megan Brownell photojournalist
Gorilla Volleyball opened up home conference play this on Friday Sept. 16 against University of Central Missouri (UCM), and on Saturday against Missouri Western State University (MWSU). They lost to UCM 1-3, and beat MWSU 3-0.
“Playing against a ranked team leaves room for little to no errors, it makes it compete every point,” said graduate student libero Marissa Bates. “We have to get better at making fewer errors, especially in close games and keeping a lead when we have it.”
They fought the entire game, with back and forth rallies before losing the first two sets 21-25 and 22-25. During the third set, they held on to their lead, winning 25-18. In the the fourth set, they couldn’t hold on to their lead, losing 22-25 losing the match.
“I also believe that both games went fairly well for this being the second week playing conference games,” Bates said. “We matched really well against both teams, but we just fell short against UCM.”
Graduate student outsider hitter Meg Auten finished with 14 kills, 13 digs, and two blocks, graduate student outside hitter Alexia Miller had 17 kills, two digs, one block and assist, Bates had 22 digs with 3 assists, and graduate student setter Brianna Richards had one kill, nine digs, two blocks, and tying a career high 55 assists.
“Personally I think I played well..” Bates said. “ especially on defense, reading the block and being able to get some difficult swings. I struggled on serve receive a little Friday, but I was able to bounce back Saturday.”
After a loss on Friday, the Gorillas bounced back to beat MWSU on Friday.
They won set one, 25-21, set two 27-25, and set three 25-20 for a shutout win.
“I think we did a great job rallying back Saturday because we brought a ton of energy on the court and bench, we did what we needed to do to win,” Bates said.
Sophomore right side hitter Jayden Sanford had two kills, 10 digs and one assist, Auten had 12 kills, eight digs, and one assist, sophomore middle hitter Kate Bandre had 10 kills, one dig with one assist, Bates had 18 digs with one assist, and Richard had 13 digs and 35 assists.
“I would say a big highlight from MWSU was during the third set when we took the lead and were able to pull out the win.” Bates said.
For their next games, they took on Northwest Missouri State in Maryville on Wednesday, Sept. 21. They next play Missouri Southern on Friday Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at home, as well as University of Central Oklahoma on Monday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.
“I think our previous matches allowed us to see what we need to work on and they did a great job of preparing us for these matches against MSSU and UCO.” Bates said.