Junior setter Jaydn Jackson sets the ball up preparing for a hit from redshirt junior middle hitter Kate Bandre. Megan Brownell
Curtis Meyer reporter
It has been a tough season for the Gorillas, going just 10-19 as they looked to gain more experience with a younger roster. It was certainly a rollercoaster, going through the high of beating Nebraska Kearney and then the subsequent week when they could not win a game. The Gorillas ended it well, taking one 3-0 against Northwest before narrowly falling 2-3 to Missouri Western.
“I think we just wanted to finish out the season strong, we don’t have anything to lose so why don’t we just go out there and have fun, play as a team, and I think that really did it,” said junior outside hitter Ivy Fink.
Pitt State began their week on Friday night, hosting the Northwest Bearcats. It was a back and forth first set, but the Gorillas pulled through to win it 27-25. It was all downhill from there, as Pitt State won 25-15 and 25-13 to get their first 3-0 win since Oct. 17.
Fink led Pitt State with 17 kills, adding 11 digs. Senior outside hitter Janae Thurston had another 13 kills, while junior setter Jadyn Jackson contributed with 35 assists and 15 digs. It was a dominant effort for the Gorillas, showing a glimpse of what next year could be.
“We had total contribution, Josie had 21 digs, no errors, 3 aces. Then Janae hit .242, Avery came up big with .250. Carly came up big, with those blocks she had. Kate did not hit great, but her defense, it is what shut down their middles, so it was just great, and Jackson did a great job of distributing the ball to everyone,” said head coach Jen Gomez.
Following the win, the Gorillas turned quickly to face the Missouri Western Griffons, in what was a close matchup despite the eventual loss. Pitt State won the first set handily, 25-16, but could not pull away, going 13-25, 25-23, 19-25, and 9-15 in five sets.
Thurston led the way for the Gorillas with 17 kills, while junior outside hitter Jayden Sanford and freshmen outside hitter Avery DeLong had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. The Gorillas could not capitalize on the early 2-1 lead, thanks to more errors.
Pitt State finished the season 10-19, while only going 5-15 in MIAA conference play. While the season may be over, many of the players currently on the team will be returning, as the Gorillas will look to build off of their experience next season.
“This is what we came in and we were like, this is our year, and obviously we’ve had rough go about, but we’re ending the season on a good note and that’s good for our seniors and that makes me proud,” said sophomore libero Josie McCroskey.
It will be a year before Pitt State will see some action again, so the team will have plenty of time to grow and figure out how to improve in time for next season.