PITTSBURG — Back-to-back losses for the Pittsburg State Volleyball team over the weekend pushes the losing streak to seven, as the Gorillas were swept by Nebraska-Kearney on Friday and lost in four sets to Fort Hays State on Saturday inside John Lance Arena.
“We’re competing hard, but we just beat ourselves,” PSU head coach Jen Gomez said. “We take ourselves out of the match and then bring ourselves right back in it. But whenever it decides to click, we’re going to start winning.”
TIGERS TOP GORILLAS
The Gorillas rallied late to take the first set 27-25 against Fort Hays on Saturday, but the Tigers took the next three 25-19, 29-27 and 26-21 to earn the win.
“They are playing hard and I’m not going to take that away from them,” Gomez said. “They’re hustling and working hard. It’s just that things aren’t going our way sometimes, so I’m hoping and praying that we can get a little luck rolling our way soon.”
Pitt State overcame a nine-point deficit in the opening set to win 27-25.
The Tigers appeared to have the win in hand with a 20-11 lead, but a 7-1 run by Pitt State narrowed the deficit to 21-18.
The run was highlighted by a pair of kills from Taylor Unke and included a kill by Lauren Regier.
Pitt State went on to tie the set at 24-all, before taking the lead on a kill by Regier.
Fort Hays tied the score at 25-apiece on a PSU miscue, but back-to-back points by the Gorillas earned them the victory, as Carolina VanBuskirk came through with the set-winning kill from the back row.
After a 25-19 win for Fort Hays in the second set, the Tigers kept the momentum going in the third, winning 29-27.
Both teams matched each other stride for stride throughout the third set, before the Tigers took a 24-21 lead.
The Gorillas fought back with four consecutive points — two of which coming via kills by Regier — to take a 25-24 advantage, but came up short, as the Tigers rallied for three consecutive points to get the win.
Pittsburg State fell behind by six in the fourth set before rallying back to take a 22-21 lead on the strength of an 8-3 run, which included kills from Regier and Erika Ivkov.
Fort Hays held off the Gorillas by outscoring them 4-1 down the stretch to get the win.
LOPERS SWEEP GORILLAS
A tough start to the weekend for Pitt State saw Nebraska-Kearney earn a three-set sweep on Friday, as the Gorillas lost 25-22, 25-11 and 25-21.
“Kearney doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, but we do,” Gomez said. “We competed when we wanted to or felt like we could, but missed some serves at crucial times, which hurt us. We just have to continually find a way to win. It seems like we get our outside going and then our block falls apart, or we get our passing going and our serving is off. This is a young team and we’re inexperienced in a lot of ways, so we just need to stay with it.”
The Gorillas will hit the road to take on Washburn at 7 p.m. on Friday followed by Emporia at 7 p.m on Saturday.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.