PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg State volleyball team kept it close, but couldn’t win a set in the 3-0 loss (25-23, 25-20 and 26-24) to Central Oklahoma on Tuesday inside John Lance Arena.
Following a pair of losses to begin the match, the Bronchos overcame a 24-21 deficit by scoring six consecutive to win the set 26-24 and complete the sweep.
“It’s hard when you see your team battle and you see your team do well, but come up short,” PSU head coach Jen Gomez said. “We controlled the tempo of the game and it was statistically one of the best games we’ve played. It wasn’t a matter of UCO being better than us, we just needed to play ball and not worry who’s on the other side of the net. I think we did a much better job of controlling the tempo and I’m pleased with that. I think if we would have played this well throughout the season, our record would be a lot different.”
With the score tied at 6-all in the opening set, the Bronchos took control with an 11-2 run to take the lead at 17-8.
A kill by Mia Bledsoe ended the Gorillas’ dry spell and sparked a 10-2 run to narrow the deficit to 19-18.
Bledsoe tallied three kills in the run, which also included a pair of kills by Noelle Dooley.
PSU went on to tie the set at 23-23, but UCO scored back-to-back points on a pair of Gorilla miscues to win the set.
The Bronchos carried the momentum over into the second set and jumped out to a 6-3 lead, before a kill by Emily Regier and a pair of aces from Lauren Dunn tied the set at 6-apiece.
Neither team was able to pull away, until Central Oklahoma opened it up to 21-16 on the strength of a 7-2 run.
Bledsoe got the Gorillas back on the scoreboard with a kill after a timeout, but the Bronchos sealed the win by outscoring PSU 4-2 down the stretch.
The Gorillas hit the ground running with their back against the wall in the third set, establishing a 6-1 lead on two kills by Bledsoe and kills from Lauren Regier, Lauren Maisberger and Noelle Dooley.
Central Oklahoma was playing from behind for a majority of the set and pulled to within 21-19, but a pair of kills by Bledsoe and Taylor Unke gave the Gorillas a 24-20 lead.
UCO responded well under the pressure, scoring five consecutive points to earn the win.
Bledsoe led the way on offense with 12 kills, while Camryn Blanton tallied 29 assists and 14 digs.
Paige Corcoran and Maisberger led the team in digs with 18 apiece.
The Gorillas will host Southwest Baptist at 6 p.m. on Friday and Missouri Southern at 6 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.