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Janae Thurston, junior right side hitter, jumps to hit the ball over the net towards Northwest on Oct. 22. Megan Brownell

Volleyball drops senior night to no.13 Northwest Missouri  

Janae Thurston, junior right side hitter, jumps to hit the ball over the net towards Northwest on Oct. 22. Megan Brownell

Megan Brownell photojournalist  

On Oct.22, Gorilla Volleyball hosted the Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats in a senior night matchup. They lost 0-3. Before the match, they honored four graduate students, setter Brianna Richard, libero Marissa Bates, outside hitter Alexia Miller, and outside hitter Meg Auten.  

“Despite the loss, the game was just an up and down battle,” said freshman and defensive specialist Josie McCroskey. “The first two sets were point after points traded, both teams were getting balls up left and right making it hard for the hitters to find open spots on the court.” 

Set one was finished with a score of 19-25 NWMSU. The game was back and forth, both teams trading points until Northwest pulled away at the end. Set two was followed suit, with a final score of 16-25. Pitt had a small lead about halfway, until Northwest got their momentum back winning the set. Set three ended with Northwest winning to a final score of 12-25.  

“Despite our loss, I feel as I did very well in this game, I came in and did my job and helped score some points behind the serving line,” McCroskey said. “I think I also played defense well and still have plenty of room to grow for these upcoming games and years ahead.”  

Although Gorilla Volleyball lost, the team was able to put up some stats. Junior right side hitter Janae Thurston finished with 10 kills, 13 digs, and two assists, Auten finished with 10 kills and seven digs, Bates with 23 digs, and one assist, Richard had one kill, 10 digs, one block, and 30 assists, and lastly McCroskey with nine digs.  

“I always ask myself what could I have done differently…” said head coach Jen Gomez. “I subbed people in, but we just couldn’t get anything going, and truly it’s up to the players if they decide they are going to step up, and when I sub them in they just have to make the situation better when they get on the floor.”  

Despite this being their last home game, there is still two more weeks of conference play before the MIAA conference tournament. The top eight teams in the MIAA continue on, and currently PSU sits in 6th.  

“I feel like we can make the conference tournament, we really haven’t peaked yet and just need to play better volleyball right now.” Gomez said.  

Since it was senior night, three of four of the seniors honored have been with PSU volleyball for five years, and one player for one year as a graduate transfer.  

“The impacts the seniors will leave on this team is their love for this game.” McCroskey said. “They come in everyday to the gym and bring their best volleyball and that’s why our team is the way it is, these seniors have turned this program around by a lot and it shows to this day. They all see the court a very good amount of time and it impacts our team in showing how things need to be in the future.”  

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