Megan Brownell photojournalist
This past week, gorilla volleyball played two mid week matches against the Washburn University Ichabods and Emporia State University Hornets. They first traveled to Topeka, KS on Oct. 26, then to Emporia, KS on Oct. 27. They lost to no. 14 Washburn 0-3, then beat Emporia 3-1.
After that win, this helped PSU volleyball clinch a spot in the MIAA Conference championship in St.Joseph, MO Nov. 10-12. They are currently in 6th place with a two game lead, so in the case they lost the last two games they still qualify for the tournament.
“I am happy we made the tournament as every year, that’s an expectation we have for our program,”said head coach Jen Gomez. “I want us to go into the tournament playing solid and confident volleyball and our goal is to win that first match of the tournament.”
For their first game against the Ichabods, the first set got off to a rough start being down 9-20 at one point. They fought in a comeback attempt but still lost set one 18-25. They then went on to lose set two 18-25, and set three 15-25.
“Honestly, I did not think we played very well against Washburn,” Gomez said.
Despite the loss, some good stats were put up. Junior right side hitter Janae thurston finished with eight kills, 10 digs, and one block, graduate student outside hitter Meg Auten had nine kills, 10 digs, and one assist, graduate student libero Marissa Bates with 23 digs, graduate student setter Brianna Richard eight digs, one block, and 24 assists, and freshman defensive specialist Josie McCroskey had nine digs.
They then went on to play the Hornets, winning set one 25-15, set two 25-16, then lost set three from a Hornet comeback attempt 21-25. They bounced back to take the game in set four 25-20.
“It was really nice to see my team flip around against Emporia and play well and compete,” Gomez said.
Some players were also able to put up good stats this game. Richard finished with one kill, nine digs, and 53 assists, freshman outside hitter Jerica Jackson had a career high nine kills, one dig, and two blocks, Bates with 16 digs and one assist, sophomore middle hitter Phoenix Bailey had 12 kills and three blocks, Auten with 15 kills, 21 digs, and one block, and lastly Thurston had 13 kills, 15 digs, three blocks, and three assists.
“A highlight against Emporia would have to be that freshman Jerica Jackson really stepped up and played great, it was really fun watching her compete,” Gomez said.
Gorilla volleyball will finish the regular season with two more away conference matchups. They will travel to University of Nebraska Kearney on Thursday Nov. 3 at 6pm, then to Fort Hays State University on Nov. 4 at 6pm.
“We have to take care of business this week and finish strong, especially traveling to UNK and FHSU, playing on the road is hard,” Gomez said. “Our overall focus this week is to have fun and have no fear, we play to win.”