Megan Brownell photojournalist
This past week gorilla volleyball hosted both Emporia State University and Washburn University then traveled to Missouri Southern State University. They beat Emporia 3-0, lost to Washburn 2-3, and beat Missouri Southern 3-1.
They first played against ESU on Friday September 30th, and opened strong. They took the first set 27-25, set two 25-22, and set three 25-18.
“Each game the team is getting more and more connected, and we just keep getting better throughout the season,” said junior right-side Janae Thurston.
With the win, a few girls were able to get great stats overall. Sophomore outside hitter Jayden Sanford finished with 14 digs, sophomore setter Jayden Jackson had four digs, one block, and 14 assists, and graduate student setter Brianna Richard had three digs and 15 assists.
“A highlight from the ESU game would definitely have to be young Jayden coming into the game and setting,” Thurston said.
After the win, they then hosted WU on Oct. 1. This was a hard-fought game, as WU is ranked 8th in the country in division two. Pitt State showed toughness taking set one 25-15. WU answered quickly, taking the next 18-25. Pitt took set three though, with a closer score of 25-21. Pitt couldn’t hold on to take the upset win, losing set four 17-25, and set five 12-15.
“Of course, after the game we felt like we could have and should have upset WU…” Thurston said. “Even though this is only my second year playing at Pitt, I know they normally sweep us or beat us in general, so to beat them by 10 in the first set felt really good and I feel that when we play in Topeka later this year, I am sure the outcome will be in our favor.”
From the game a few players got great stats. Thurston had 12 kills, 12 digs, one block and three assists, graduate student outside hitter Meg Auten finished with 13 kills, 14 digs, and one block, sophomore right side hitter Seville Gates had 10 kills, two digs, and one block, sophomore middle hitter Phoenix Bailey had 10 kills, three digs, and three blocks, graduate student libero Marissa Bates with 15 digs, and Richard with one kill, nine digs, one block, and 50 assists.
The team then traveled to Joplin on Oct. 4. to take on Missouri Southern. They won set one 25-20, then lost set two 16-25. They then rallied and won set three 25-13 and set four 25-22.
Pitt next will take Hays State University on Oct. 8 at 6 p.m.
“I am looking forward to taking two more home wins against good teams this coming weekend,” Thurston said.
This marks about the halfway point of their season, with only four weeks of conference play left until the MIAA conference tournament.
“I am overall looking forward to the second half of the season and seeing what we can do from here on out,” Thurston said. “I am really thinking it will turn out very well for Pitt volleyball and hopefully end in making the conference tournament.”